While ocean freight is often a cheaper choice compared to air freight, it can take much longer to receive your goods. Below are the steps your goods goes through for ocean freight:

  1. Loading

    Your goods arrive at the origin port's container freight station (CFS). Depending on whether your goods are a full container load (FCL) or less than a container load (LCL), it can stay here for 3 to 7 days.

    If your goods are LCL, it can take more time because goods from multiple places need to be consolidated to fill the container before loading onto the ship. If your goods are a FCL, then they will be loaded onto the ship faster.

    In Asia, crackdowns at ports can delay departures.

  2. Transit

    Cargo ships travel approximately 27 miles per hour. For context, it takes a cargo ship about 14 days to go from China to the Port of Los Angeles.

    Ports can be backed up, especially leading up to holidays, which can cause delays.

  3. Unloading

    Once the ship reaches the destination port, your goods are unloaded and it takes approximately a week for your goods to be picked up and transported by truck to their final destination.

    Up to five days can be spent clearing the container though customs, before the goods are brought to a warehouse to be sorted. In the United States, random customs checks can add up to a week to this timeline.

  4. Last Mile Transit

    The last leg of transit to the final destination can take up to a week. Shipments can take longer if other goods in the container are not processed with the right paperwork.

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