How does my product come to the EU?

There are several thousand kilometers between China and Europe. It is obvious that transportation plays an important role regarding the costs and the delivery times.

You should consider how soon you need your product and how much you can spend on transportation to decide whether your product should be delivered by ship, train, plane or truck.

Sea freight

Sea freight is the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly, but also the slowest transport option. A large part of the goods from China comes to the EU this way. Depending on the production site, the goods are shipped from Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Guangzhou or Qingdao. The journey from one of these ports to Hamburg, Rotterdam or other European ports takes five to eight weeks. For the transport of your goods to the port in China and from the European port to your place of residence, you should allow another two weeks. The bottom line is that transportation by sea freight takes about 8-10 weeks.

Air freight

By air, this time is reduced to two to three weeks. However, air freight is more expensive, has a poor carbon footprint and is not an option for some goods because they are too heavy or bulky. Even light products can be expensive, as the shipping price is calculated by volume weight. Flights usually depart from Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen or another international Chinese airport.


It takes longer to deliver goods by rail than by air freight, but shorter than sea freight. Rail transport is also in the middle in terms of price. However, you should keep in mind that your product will be checked along with other goods at numerous borders. If only one wagon seems suspicious, the whole train stops. Longer delays are therefore not uncommon. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the northern route is no longer passable.


If your freight volume pretty much fits in a semi-truck, this form of transport may be an option. In terms of price, truck transport is roughly comparable with rail freight. From Shanghai to Europe, a truck takes about three weeks, depending on conditions. However, trucks can only drive in the summer months; in winter, the route is sometimes impassable. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the northern route is no longer passable.