The different methods of transportation between China and Russia

To start off, remember that there are three available transportation options - sea, air, and rail. Additionally, we offer a comparison to assist you in selecting the most suitable option for your needs.


Sea freight from China to Russia

Overview - Trade relations between China and Russian

China and Russia have a long-standing trade relationship, with sea freight being a critical mode of transportation for the movement of goods between the two countries. Both countries have invested heavily in the development of their ports and shipping infrastructure to facilitate trade. China is one of Russia's largest trading partners, and the two countries have been working to strengthen their trade ties in recent years.

Sea freight is a crucial element of this trade relationship, as it allows for the transportation of large volumes of goods at a lower cost compared to air freight. The two countries have established several shipping routes between their ports, with the majority of cargo transported via container ships. Chinese ports, such as Shanghai and Ningbo, are major hubs for shipping goods to Russia, with Vladivostok and St. Petersburg being significant ports of entry for cargo coming from China.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused disruptions to global trade, the sea freight trade between China and Russia has remained strong. According to the latest data, the trade volume between the two countries increased by 4.9%  year-on-year in the first half of 2021, with sea freight being the primary mode of transportation.

The main shipping routes between China and Russia

There are several shipping routes between China and Russia, with varying transit times and ports of call. Here are some of the main shipping routes between China and Russia:

  • Shanghai - Vladivostok: This route connects the port of Shanghai, one of the busiest ports in China, to Vladivostok, a major Russian port on the Pacific coast. This route is commonly used for shipping goods such as electronics, textiles, and machinery.
  • Ningbo - St. Petersburg: This route connects the port of Ningbo, located in Zhejiang Province, to St. Petersburg, one of the largest ports in Russia. This route is popular for shipping goods such as chemicals, furniture, and consumer electronics
  • Qingdao - Vostochny: This route connects the port of Qingdao, located in Shandong Province, to Vostochny, a major Russian port on the Sea of Japan. This route is commonly used for shipping goods such as iron ore, coal, and oil.
  • Tianjin - Novorossiysk: This route connects the port of Tianjin, located in the north of China, to Novorossiysk, a major Russian port on the Black Sea. This route is popular for shipping goods such as grain, steel, and chemicals.


Transport time between China and Russian ports

Here is an estimated table of transport times between some of the main ports in China and Russia for sea freight:

China Port  Russia Port   Days 
Shanghai     Vladivostok 7-10 days
Ningbo St. Petersburg  27-32 days
Qingdao Vostochny 4-5 days
Tianjin Novorossiysk  34-40 days
Dalian Vladivostok 2-3 days
Xiamen St. Petersburg 28-35 days

What container can I choose for shipment between China and Russia?

Here are many ways of transportation that may be utilized depending on the size of your products:

  • ¬†The¬†20'GP¬†container, with a maximum capacity of¬†33m3
  • The¬†40' GP¬†container, with a maximum capacity of¬†67m3
  • The¬†40' HC¬†container, with a maximum capacity of¬†76m3

Let's do some further analysis by comparing the two modes of transportation.

DocShipper Tip: Do you have special requirements for your shipment? What if you have a lot of heavy machinery and bulky goods? We are always happy to help! Never be afraid to ask for help, contact us to find an appropriate method for any type of shipment.

Special transports between China and Russia

Reefer container

A reefer container is a specialized type of shipping container that is designed to transport goods that require temperature-controlled environments. The container is equipped with refrigeration and heating systems that maintain a constant temperature range, allowing for the safe transportation of perishable goods, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and pharmaceuticals. Reefer containers come in different sizes and can be used for both FCL and LCL shipments. They are often used for transporting goods over long distances by sea or land, as well as for air freight.


RoRo, short for "Roll-on/Roll-off," refers to a type of shipping vessel that is designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, and trailers, as well as non-wheeled cargo that can be rolled onto and off of the vessel using ramps. RoRo vessels are designed with large, open decks and can accommodate a wide range of vehicles of different sizes and shapes. This type of transportation is often used for moving large volumes of cargo over long distances and is considered a cost-effective and efficient way to transport goods.


The ship's hold is filled with bulk cargo, which differs from other types of cargo due to its distinction between liquid and solid mass. This type of cargo is particularly significant, especially for nations with abundant natural resources that produce large quantities of it.

Out Of Gauge (OOG)

Special handling is required for Out-of-gauge freight, which includes items that have a volume greater than the average during transit. In such cases, specific solutions must be provided to ensure their safe transportation.

How much does sea freight between China and Russia cost?

To determine the cost of your shipment, it's crucial to know the weight and volume of your items, as these factors form the basis of the tariff. According to the equivalence rule, the weight/volume ratio is 1 ton = 1 m3.

In conventional and groupage transportation, the basic freight is calculated based on the weight/volume ratio and the 1 ton = 1 m3 concept. The tariff is expressed in payment units (PU), which can be either the weight in tons or the volume in cubic meters, and is always in favor of the shipping company. Thus, the higher value is used to calculate the cost.

The pricing for a full container is influenced by the shipping company and the type of container used, but it's not clearly defined.

So, it's best to contact a freight forwarding company or shipping carrier like DocShipper to get a quote based on your specific shipping needs. We will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of the cost of sea freight for your particular shipment.


DocShipper Alert: Calculating the cost of shipping beyond sea freight can be complicated. At DocShipper, we simplify the process. Fill out our online form and our 24/7 experts and assistants will answer all your questions, or contact us directly for assistance and peace of mind.


Air freight between China and Russia

The different types of air freight

Air freight between China and Russia can be broadly categorized into conventional air freight and express air freight.

Conventional Air Freight: Conventional air freight involves the shipment of goods via commercial airlines or cargo carriers. It is typically used for shipping larger and heavier loads that are not time-sensitive. Conventional air freight can be further classified into the following categories:

  • Standard air freight: This service is used for shipping larger shipments that are not time-sensitive.
  • Charter air freight: This service involves the hiring of an entire aircraft to transport a shipment. It is typically used for oversized, heavy, or urgent loads.
  • Consolidated air freight: This service involves the consolidation of multiple smaller shipments into a single shipment to optimize transportation costs.

Express Air Freight: Express air freight involves the shipment of goods via express carriers such as DHL, FedEx, TNT, or UPS. It is typically used for time-sensitive shipments that require expedited delivery. Express air freight can be further classified into the following categories:

  • Same-day delivery: This service involves the pickup and delivery of a shipment on the same day.
  • Overnight delivery: This service involves the pickup and delivery of a shipment overnight.
  • Two-day delivery: This service involves the pickup and delivery of a shipment within two business days.
  • Economy delivery: This service involves the pickup and delivery of a shipment within a specified timeframe at a lower cost than other express services.

DocShipper Advice: If you need the products by a certain date, air freight is the way to go. Furthermore, unless under extreme circumstances, it is frequently a comparable, if not cheaper, choice to sea freight below 2 CBM. Fill out our online form, and we'll work together to find the best answer.

How much does it cost to ship merchandise from China to Russian via air?

The weight-to-volume ratio is multiplied by the cost per kilogram to determine the taxable weight. This is what will ultimately determine the price.

The theoretically necessary IATA fee may be lessened dependent on volume. Based on weight classifications, the degressive duty changes depending on the origin nation. The minimal rate is used when the shipment has a tiny volume and weight.

There is a distinction between the volumetric weight and the so-called gross weight, which is calculated when the products are weighed (measured when the dimensions are taken into account). To decide on a price, the more significant of the two values will be utilized.





Rail freight from China to Russia

Transport by train from China to Russia

Transport by train from China to Russia dates back to the late 19th century when the first section of the Trans-Siberian Railway was completed. The railway line, which spans over 9,000 km from Moscow to Vladivostok, was built to connect Russia's far eastern regions with the rest of the country and to boost trade between Russia and its Asian neighbors, including China.

In the early years of the railway, trains carried mostly goods and raw materials, such as coal, timber, and metals, from Russia to China. However, with the opening up of China's economy in the 1980s, the trade flow between the two countries increased significantly, leading to a surge in the demand for rail transport.

Today, transport by train from China to Russia is a vital component of the region's trade and logistics network. The two countries have developed several rail routes, such as the Trans-Mongolian Railway and the Eurasian Land Bridge, that connect China's major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, with Russia's main industrial centers, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

How long does it take to travel by train from China?

The travel time by train from China to Russia depends on the starting point, the destination, and the specific route taken. The journey can take anywhere from a few days to over two weeks, depending on various factors such as the distance, the train schedule, and any border crossing delays.

For example:

  • the journey from Beijing to Moscow on the Trans-Mongolian Railway takes about 6 days,
  • the journey from Shanghai to Moscow on the same route takes about 10 days
  • The journey from China's Xinjiang region to Moscow via Kazakhstan on the Eurasian Land Bridge route takes about 2 weeks.

DocShipper Advice: If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us, and we strongly encourage you to read our dedicated page Rail freight.

Door-to-door service between China and Russian

Our daily door-to-door service is highly regarded by our clients and is offered to them. In actuality, we manage the whole process. Everything from the packaging to the loading, palletizing, customs procedures, import/export fees, and delivery (unpacking and unloading if necessary also). We go door-to-door once a week in dozens of countries.

Our partners, whether in China or elsewhere, are well-established companies with whom we have worked for many years. This is a chance to save money and time.

At DocShipper, we are experts in providing door-to-door delivery services that cater to all of your logistics requirements. Our comprehensive services encompass a range of tasks such as packaging, storage, loading and unloading, customs clearance, international freight, trucking, and more. Allow us to take care of all your logistics needs with our reliable and efficient services.


Customs clearance for goods imported

This section explains the customs clearance process that must be followed when importing Chinese goods into Russia.

Customs clearance is the process of verifying and approving imported goods by the customs authorities of a country. When importing goods from China and Russia, the customs clearance process may vary depending on the specific requirements and regulations of the importing country .

The payment of duties and taxes, is the essence of the customs procedure, thus it is an important concept to comprehend. As a result, we'll walk you through the procedure step by step.

How to calculate customs duties and taxes?

You must be informed of the rate of customs fees as well as the various taxes that may be levied on the goods you intend to import to prevent unpleasant surprises.

Determine the products' "HS code" or tariff species

The three pillars that will lead to the amount to be paid for customs clearance are the origin, customs value, and lastly the HS code.

Over 95 percent of global trade is covered by the Harmonized System (HS Code), which is adopted by 207 nations. For the nations that adopt it, the system gives a single, systematic classification. Each item has its own unique code.

An HS code is made up of the following components

hs code pineapple

Does DocShipper charge customs duties?

DocShipper does not make a profit on customs taxes. Because we act as a middleman and pay customs directly. DocShipper does not collect taxes; instead, the government collects them. We provide you with all official documents to ensure complete clarity.

Customs procedures and contact


Required documents

Bill of Lading

The carrier or their representative issues a document called the bill of lading, which verifies the receipt of particular goods and permits their transportation to a designated destination for delivery to the recipient specified in the document. The bill of lading serves as proof of the transportation contract and as a receipt for the goods. The document typically includes information such as the shipper's and consignee's details, the notification party, the location where the goods were received, the loading and discharge ports, the delivery location, the total weight and size of the shipment, and the date and place of issuance. It is signed by the carrier as proof of acceptance.

Packing List

When creating a packing list, it's important to include essential details such as the issuer, invoice number, quantity and type of packages, and description of the goods. This information must align with the bill of lading. In addition to including these details, export businesses must also provide a packing list and weight list when submitting export customs declarations. Furthermore, the letter of credit may serve as a document for foreign exchange settlement. The Packing List, Weight List, and Measurement List are supplementary commercial invoices that provide a comprehensive breakdown of the packaging, specifications, colors, and weights of the goods. These documents are crucial in enabling buyers to verify the variety, color, size, and specification of the goods they receive and ensure that they are compliant with customs requirements.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a document that is requested by the importer and issued by the exporter, notary agency, or government. It is used to verify the place of manufacture or origin of the goods. The certificate typically includes information such as the name and address of the importer and exporter, the transportation method and route, the commodity mark and number, and details about the commodity such as its name, quantity, and weight. It is important to note that the certificate number column cannot be left blank, as this will render the certificate invalid.

Documents of conformity (CE standard)

The Declaration of Conformity (DOC) is a formal statement provided by the responsible party, indicating compliance with the CE Directive and corresponding harmonized standards. The DOC is based on a conformity assessment, which may include a test report or certificate of conformity for the product. For electrical and electronic products, the manufacturer can issue the DOC for both directives, provided they have passed the LVD/EMC test and complied with the technical data requirements outlined in the directives.

Please contact our DocShipper professionals if you want to import products from any of the above lists! They will walk you through the whole procedure.

Restricted and prohibited products

If you want to be a successful importer, please check the following information because you don't want to waste your time and energy, even money on products that are restricted and prohibited in Russia.

Cooperation relationship between China and Russia

China and Russia have established a strong cooperation relationship over the years. The two countries have formed a strategic partnership based on mutual interests and have collaborated in various areas such as trade, energy, infrastructure, and defense. China is Russia's largest trading partner, and Russia is China's largest supplier of crude oil. The two countries have also collaborated on major infrastructure projects, such as the construction of gas pipelines and high-speed rail lines. In addition, China and Russia have conducted joint military exercises and have worked closely on international issues such as counterterrorism and climate change. The cooperation between China and Russia is expected to continue to strengthen in the future, as the two countries continue to expand their economic and political ties.

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