Maritime transport to the USA / Export to the USA

Update date:
21 May 2024
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Date of publication:
18 Nov 2023
Reading time: 7 minutes

Table of contents:

A dynamic development of Polish exports to the United States can currently be observed. The huge and exceptionally buoyant American market is becoming increasingly attractive to Polish entrepreneurs. The production costs of many goods in the United States significantly exceed local European costs, let alone Polish costs, which remain at a relatively low level compared to other European Union countries. Polish companies, thanks to their high production standards, create products of excellent quality, capable of finding numerous buyers on the American market. 

How long does it take to transport from Poland to the USA by sea? 

The transport time to the USA will depend on the service we choose and which coast we want to transport the cargo to. 

Gdansk → NEW York ( East Coast) 

Shortest freight 15 days / however, there are services that have been flowing for 25 or even 40 days. It is always worth checking the TT (transit time ), with the company where we book the transport. 

Gdansk → Los Angeles ( west coast) 

Shortest freight 36 days / however, there are services that have sailed for about 70 days. 

It is always worth checking the TT (transit time ) with the company where you are booking your transport. 

The figures given are for the time of the freight itself, often the goods by the time they leave the port a few days earlier already have to be loaded into the container. Also, the time for customs clearance on the US side, and the time needed for road transport to the final destination, are additional days. This is worth paying attention to. 

Costs and fees associated with shipping / exporting to the USA 

Deciding on exports to the USA, we need to be mindful of the various costs involved. Not only the transport costs marinebut also customs duties, taxes, logistics costs, port charges and much more. All of these affect the final cost of export, which must be factored into our budget.

In the case of maritime transport, costs can vary depending on a number of factors. For example, the cost of transporting a container from Poland to the USA can vary depending on the destination port, the size of the container, the duration of the transport, as well as the type of goods that are being transported. In addition, we must also take into account the costs associated with insuring the goods, which are necessary in case of any unforeseen situations.

How is sea transport to the USA carried out? 

LCL - groupage shipments of less than one container are delivered to so-called CFS, i.e. warehouses where the cargo is consolidated and delivered to Gdansk in one transport. The location of specific CFSs depends on the company you decide on. Usually they are located in several major cities in Poland. In this case, if we have to send a cargo of 2 m3, i.e. about 2 pallets to the USA, the goods will be delivered to the warehouse which is located closest to our warehouse. The goods will then be delivered to Gdansk where they will be loaded into a container and shipped to the USA. In the USA, the consignee will be able to collect the goods directly from the port or delivery can be arranged directly to the warehouse of the target customer. 

Full container FCL - In the case of full container transport, the company with which we carry out such transport provides an empty container for our warehouse, which we have to load, and then the loaded container is taken to the port of Gdansk or Gdynia, where it is shipped to the USA. 

Which containers are found in sea transport to the USA:

The most common containers found in maritime transport are the 40 HC / 40 DV and 20 DV containers. In most cases, these are the containers that are used.

40 HC --> 67.3 CBM capacity

20 DV --> 32.3 CBM capacity

40 DV --> 76.3 CBM capacity

However, it is always worth remembering that it is impossible to load a container with an accuracy of 1 CBM. Loading the goods creates spaces between the cartons, which will always take up some loading space. This is a standard situation, but it happens that Chinese shippers are real loading virtuosos and can load a cargo wasting a minimal amount of space.

Concept of LCL and FCL in maritime transport

In maritime transport we can ship cargo FCL or FULL CONTAINER LOAD or LCL - LESS CONTAINER LOAD. FCL refers to full container quantities i.e. a whole container of goods, while LCL refers to all smaller loads under one container.

For LCL loads, the quantity of goods is given by the number of CBMs. For example 14 CBMs of goods.

Consolidation of smaller loads:

In the case of smaller loads, goods from several or a dozen shippers are consolidated in a container. This makes it possible to ship small loads. Companies provide shipment services from as little as 1 CBM or approximately one pallet.

Insurance for sea transport to the USA

For transport goods it is always worth buying additional insurance cargo, which will help us recover money in the event of any damage. The cost of CARGO insurance is only a dime or so, and can save us tens of thousands of dollars. 

Rules and regulations for exports to the USA

The US market is one of the most attractive for exporters from around the world. However, exporting to the USA involves a number of rules and regulationswhich must be complied with. First and foremost, products exported to the US must meet all federal and state safety and quality requirements. This means that exporters must know and understand these regulations thoroughly to avoid potential problems and delays.

An important element of exports to the USA is also to understand the customs system. The US has a complex system of tariffs and fees that can be difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with it. Therefore, exporters should consult customs experts, to ensure that they understand all applicable fees and procedures. 

Finally, exporters need to be aware of any potential sanctions or restrictions that may affect their products. The US has a number of export restrictionswhich may apply to specific countries, companies or products. Therefore, before exporting to the US, exporters should carefully check whether any restrictions are imposed on their products.

If you have any questions, you can contact us for advice. 

The most popular seaports in the USA for exporters

When planning to export to the US, it is crucial to understand which seaports are the most popular and efficient for your business. Port of Los Angeles is the largest port in the US in terms of both cargo value and container volume. It is an ideal location for exporters from Asia, due to its proximity and excellent connections to major US cities. Port Long Beach, the second largest port in the country, is also a strategic point for international trade. Ports of New York and New Jersey are the largest on the east coast, handling a wide range of goods and offering excellent connections to European ports. Below is a checklist to help you decide which port is most suitable for your business:

  • Proximity to your production site
  • Proximity to your target market
  • Transport costs
  • Services offered by the port

How to plan efficient sea transport to the USA?

Planning for efficient shipping to the USA requires thinking about several key aspects. Choosing the right carrier is one of the most important elements that affects the safety and timeliness of delivery. Attention should also be paid to customs duties and regulations in force in the US, which can significantly affect the cost and timing of transportation. Below are some points to consider in your planning:

  • Understanding of customs regulations: The US has its own specific regulations for importing goods. Understanding and complying with these regulations is key to a smooth transportation process.
  • Choosing the right carrier: Choosing a company that has experience in shipping to the USA can make the whole process much easier.
  • Time planning: Sea transport is usually slower than air transport, so it is important to take this into account in planning to avoid delays.

How to avoid typical problems with shipping to the USA? 

Avoiding the problems associated with shipping to the US is crucial to the success of any exporting company. Compliance with customs regulations is one of the most important aspects to consider. Understanding and complying with US customs regulations can help you avoid unnecessary delays, penalties and other problems. It is advisable to use the services of an experienced customs agent who can help you fill in all the necessary documents and make sure everything is legal.

It is important to remember that any downtime in the USA is very costly and sometimes 1 or 2 days of some sort of downtime through our fault can cost us hundreds of dollars, for this reason it is worth pursuing transport with an experienced partner and making sure that all documentation is well filled out. 

Finally, cargo securing is essential to avoid damage during transport. This includes packing your goods appropriately, as well as securing them on board to avoid movement during the journey. It is worth consulting a logistics expert to find out how best to secure your cargo. Remember that adequate insurance can also provide additional protection in the event of unforeseen problems.

What goods does Poland export? 

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