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The different methods of transportation between China and Vietnam?

In this guide, we will explore the different shipping methods available between the two countries: air freight, road freight and ocean freight. We'll compare the three different options, and provide multiple tips for preparing your shipment.

Sea freight from China to Vietnam

Ocean cargo between China and Vietnam

Sea freight is the most common method of shipping goods. Indeed, this type of transportation is the cheapest method.

Also, China is the first trade partner of Vietnam. Indeed, nearly 35% of Vietnam's imports came from China in 2019, and more than 18% of Vietnam's exports were shipped to China. Moreover, most of these goods were shipped by sea freight.

For more details about sea freight, please visit our page dedicated to this topic: sea freight services. 

*We can also mention other smaller Chinese ports that can also receive cargo ships: Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Qingdao, Xiamen, Tianjin, Tangshan, Taicang...

How much time does it take to ship freight from China to Vietnam

The average sea freight shipping time from China to Vietnam depends on a number of factors such as the specific ports of departure and arrival, the shipping route taken, and the mode of transportation used. Generally, however, the average sea freight shipping time from China to Vietnam can range from 4 to 5 days.


Da Nang

Port Cam Pha

Ba Ngoi

Shanghaï 4 4 4 3
Ningbo 4 5 4 4
Tianjin 5 5 4 4
Qinqdao 6 6 5 5
Canton 5 5 4 4
Hong Kong 6 6 5 5


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

There is different kind of containers, so you will find them below : 

  • 20'GP, 33 cm3 capacity, 20 feet container for general purpose
  • 40'HC, 76 cm3 capacity, 40 feet high cube container
  • 40'GP, 67 cm3 capacity, 40 feet container for general purpose

When the goods are less than 14 CBM, the shipment will generally be done by LCL. When the goods are more than 15 CBM, then it will be better to take a whole container (FLC), even if it is only half full. This will be more advantageous in terms of price.

What you should be paid attention to when choosing LCL

In some cases, the clearance of goods is affected. This is particularly the case when product restrictions are in force in some countries, but not in others. This may be related to the politics of the countries, or to the terms of trade, or to the regulations against these countries in the importing and exporting country. It is necessary to be vigilant, because a good confronted with a particular regulation can affect the other goods, transported in the same convoy.

Here are the different points on which it is necessary to be vigilant:

  • Customs clearance: If certain documents are missing for a commodity in an LCL container, the goods carried in the same container will also be affected, if the container is detained by Customs authorities. This will disrupt the customs clearance process for the entire container.
  • Complete documents: The consignor should make sure that the packaging, the port of destination, weight, quantity, the name of the goods, size, specifications etc should be correct with the situation and on the documents.
  • Consistency of goods: The correct data must be communicated at the outset, because if the weight is wrong and the goods are overloaded, there will be repercussions on the container, such as damage to the cargo or accidents.
  • Temporary changes: Actual cargo conditions are monitored in real time by operators and shippers, as changes can be made between loading and vessel departure. Therefore, shippers will need to contact each stakeholder to ensure that the process is working properly.

Professional LCL companies have the role of controlling the characteristics of the cargo before it is packed. They are also required to determine if adjustments are necessary and to anticipate what may be affected by various factors after the cargo arrives in port. In the event of potential difficulties, the parties must be consulted to resolve the issues.

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How much does sea freight between China and Vietnam cost?

The cost of sea freight between China and Vietnam can vary depending on several factors such as the volume of goods, the type of cargo, the shipping route, the carrier, and the season. However, I can provide you with some general information and estimates based on industry standards.

For instance, the cost of sea freight from China to Vietnam can range from $300 to $1,200 for a 20-foot container (FCL) and $500 to $1,600 for a 40-foot container (FCL).

DocShipper info: Are you looking for a reliable and cost-effective shipping solution for your cargo shipments? DocShipper is here to help! Our sea freight service offers a full range of shipping solutions to suit your needs and budget. Contact us today to find out how we can help you ship your goods safely and at competitive rates.

Air freight from China to Vietnam

Why do we choose air transport?

Air transport offers many advantages that sea transport lacks, including reliability, simplicity and low cost of packaging, but above all speed. These are advantages that no other type of freight can compete with (The transit time is generally a few days).

International air freight uses the volumetric ratio, which is a ratio of 6,000 cubic centimeters to 1 kilogram, with the actual load expressed in kilograms. Although air freight is most often more expensive, international air transport offers advantages for shipments that no other type of transportation can compete with.

What is volumetric weight ?

The price of air freight varies according to weight and volume. If the cargo to be transported is small in volume, but relatively heavy, then the price will be calculated according to the weight.

However, if the volume is high, but the weight is low, the price will be calculated according to the volume.

 Volumetric weight = (length cm * height cm* width cm) / 6000

The weight by volume and the weight gross are taken into account to determine the weight to be invoiced for a given commodity. The highest value will be chosen.

How much time does it take to ship air cargo from China to Vietnam?

The time it takes to ship air cargo from China to Vietnam can vary depending on several factors such as the origin and destination cities, the airline carrier, the type of cargo, and any customs or regulatory requirements.

Generally, air cargo shipments from China to Vietnam can take anywhere from 1 to 2 days. However, some factors like the size and weight of the cargo, the availability of flights, and any potential delays can extend the shipping time.

Door-to-door delivery between China and Vietnam

Tired of shipping procedures? Having to choose between the right mode of transport, then between the right FCL or LCL container option, by the right traditional or express airway option, taking care of these shipments yourself is sometimes complicated. At DocShipper, we offer a door-to-door service. We pick up your goods from your door, prepare the necessary documentation for transport, and then deliver your goods to the final destination. This also includes the customs procedure.

For all inquiries regarding door-to-door transportation, please feel free to contact our experts using our online form.

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Customs clearance between Vietnam and China

When a product is imported, exported or in transit, it must be declared to the customs authorities upon entering or leaving the country's customs territory. This is called customs clearance. Thus, the declarant or the owner of the goods will be able to recover his goods only after having fulfilled their obligations or accomplished the various formalities, whether it is in terms of control, taxation or formalities.

Also, each of the transports carrying goods, whether for import, export, or simply transit must be declared in customs, obtain a customs authorization and meet all the formalities.

Categories of tariffs

There is a tax levied by the state on articles and merchandise entering or leaving the customs territory. In all countries, customs duties are generally taxes whose tariff is set by the highest administrative unit of the state. For countries with developed foreign trade, customs duties are often the main source of revenue for the government and even the treasury.

What are Preferential tariffs?

How to calculate customs duties and taxes?

Having an overview of the overall costs of your shipment, which includes not only logistics services, but also customs clearance procedures and all related taxes and duties, is very important.

In order to check each of these duties, you just need to know the HS code (Harmonized System) of your product. Each member of the World Trade Organization uses the same codes, unique for each product.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System: HS code

Covering nearly 95% of world trade, the HS Code is used in 207 countries. Designed to uniquely and methodically classify products, this process was created to recognize the product simply by its code, and also to know the taxes and customs duties easily. Thus, each good is assigned a number, consisting of at least 6 digits. The HS code also allows to make statistics as well as comparison offers of the different relevant trade flows.

The composition of an HS Code is as follows

hs code pineapple

Does DocShipper charge Dutry when clearing customs?

We take care of the entire shipping process, including customs clearance of your goods. We help you collect the documents and make the process smooth.

Customs fees are given by the state where your goods are located. No agent has the right to charge customs duties.

Procedure and customs contact


Required documents


Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is issued by the agent or carrier. It certifies the receipt of specific goods, which allows the products to be transported to a certain destination and delivered to the consignee of the document. It is actually a proof of the contract of carriage, and also serves as a receipt for the goods. It contains the following information: consignee, shipper, place of receipt, notified party, port of loading and unloading, place of delivery, measure, gross weight, date and place of issue, and is signed for the carrier.

Packing List

A packing list provides information on the invoice number, issuer, type of package, description of goods. It must also match the declared bill of lading.
The letter of credit must be presented to the export companies as it is a document for the payment of foreign currency. It is one of the additional documents that are added to the list of measures and weights associated with the invoice. They list the totality of the packaging and their characteristics, as well as the different weights. These documents will be used by the buyer to control the nature and size of the shipment and the customs acceptance of the goods.


Certificate of Origin

This type of document can only be issued by a notary agency, the government, or the exporter to prove the origin of the goods. The certificate of origin contains details on: the number and brand of the goods; the name and address of the importer/exporter; the name of the goods; the mode of transport and route; the weight and the quantity, etc.

Restricted and prohibited products

Before importing products, be sure to check the list of prohibited or restricted products :

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