HART Worldwide will assist you with sea shipping from China to anywhere in the world, as well as shipping from anywhere in the world to Chinese seaports.

We will send a truck to pick up your cargo if you tell us where it is, for example, your supplier’s address. Then complete the customs work in China.

Arrange sea shipping depending on your requirements, such as the quickest, fastest, or a combination of sea freight from China.

We will carry out the customs procedures at the destination seaports and deliver your cargo directly to your assigned address.

Throughout the entire international sea shipping operation, you will be tension-free.

You can certainly handle customs and pick up on your own, leaving only the sea shipping to us.

HART has years of knowledge of transportation by sea. We have a dedicated business team that is constantly monitoring the developments in the sea line market. So please give us your request and we will provide you with useful business insights.

We also have a customs activities section that studies and monitors sea shipping customs policies. One of our operating standards is customs enforcement, so your shipment from China will still be risk-free.

HART has signed shipping rates agreements with major sea lines such as COSCO, Maersk, PIL, Yang Ming,  MSC, CMA-CGM, APL,  OOCL, Evergreen, and others. This means that we have enough space and can offer a reasonable shipping rate.

HART has two major benefits: standardization and systematization. All of your sea shipping orders are operated, monitored, and tracked online by our in-house established logistics system. Since the process is not dependent on anyone, you will always have a pleasant experience. Your shipping from China costs could be lowered by our experts’ guidance.

Regardless of how difficult your sea shipping is, you will find the best options here. Just go up to the door and knock.

Our Other Services Besides Sea Shipping


Air Freight

We will assist you in air freight from China, as well as clearing customs and delivering the goods to a particular location. Alternatively, we do the opposite.


Rail Freight

We can ship from China your products by rail to those countries that can be reached by train, as well as finish customs formalities and make local deliveries.


Door to Door Shipping

We offer a door to door shipping from China for your shipments; goods will be picked up at a Chinese address and sent to your delivery destination by air, sea, or rail.


Express Services

International expresses such as UPS, FedEx, TNT, and other dedicated special routes will ship your products from China. Avail of our express shipping from China.


Customs Clearance

Our dedicated team researches each country’s customs policies and maintains close connections with various brokers. This ensures that the customs process runs smoothly.



If you require short- or long-term warehouse facilities in China and perhaps other regions, our extensive network can provide you with a variety of choices.


Pickup & Delivery

One of our benefits is our door-to-door operation. So just email us the Chinese addresses and the final destination, and we’ll pick it up and distribute it locally.



We assist e-commerce consumers with Amazon FBA delivery from China. For starters,  Shipping to Jumia is one of the e-commerce network’s facilities.


Consolidated Shipping

We will help you combine orders from various vendors and ship them to you all at once. You will save money on freight and reduce the chance of loss this way.

Why Choose Hart for Your International Sea Shipping?


We’ve targeted industries and in-depth knowledge of the sea shipping markets To lessen the shipping cost from China without compromising service, maintain standardization and systematization. Skill is based on focus.

Cheap Shipping Rate

Large shipping firms have concluded long-term deals with HART. To ensure the cheapest shipping cost from china, we are constantly refining our working practices and performance. Contact us to get a free quote.


Standardized logistical strategies, operation processes, and freight management mean that we can adapt efficiently to your needs while maintaining consistent aspects of quality delivery. Tell us your requirements.


The customized support framework was created by a committed in-house software development team to ensure 100% paperless service, monitoring, and tracking. Procedures are not dependent on a single person.

Full Self-control

The whole sea shipping process is self-contained. Every checkpoint has a dedicated person who uses the in-house tech system to keep track of everything. You are in charge of everything.

Custom Clearance Service

To ensure customs operate, certain regions have their own customs clearance unit, as well as collaboration with local experienced customs officers. Every day, the administrative unit examines the various customs regulations.

Wide Coverage

Over than 20 Chinese cities have offices or factories. Warehouses can be found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, and African countries such as Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, and others.

Highly Trained Team

We value workforce preparation so much that we offer systematized training to all of our workers on a regular basis. Timely summary and replay to ensure that they continue to provide you with outstanding service.


Professionalism leads to greatness because we want our employees to have professional expertise and experience in their areas of responsibility. For your sea shipping solutions, always have full detail and the best guidance.


Qualifications and Honor for Sea Shipping


Business Form for International Freight Forwarders

All foreign freight forwarders in China must have this certificate for international freight forwarding industry, according to <Foreign Trade Laws of the People’s Republic of China> and < Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of International Cargo Transport Agency>, which were introduced and authorized by the Ministry of Commerce.


NVOCC Business Operation Qualification Registration Certificate

Often these foreign freight forwarders in China are not NVOCC because it needs authentication with China’s Ministry of Transportation, which has far more stringent specifications than a regular freight forwarder. NVOCC has benefits in booking and delivery, as well as the ability to issue your own bills of lading, allowing you to better manage your products.


ISO9001 2015 Quality Management System Certificate

It is decided to implement the international quality control program with a view to having outstanding customer service and prevent any errors or misunderstandings with consumers. We also work hard to ensure that all of our clients have the same high-quality service. Our correspondence and working practices are governed by this accredited program.


Certificate of Membership for WCA

The WCA is the world’s biggest and most strong network of independent cargo transporters, the World Cargo Transportation Alliance. As part of it, the most compassionate and comprehensive financial insurance scheme of the sector immediately covers HART and stimulates us to carry out activities with other WCA partners with total comfort and convenience.


Certificate of Membership for CIFA

China International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFA) is an international Chinese freight forwarding body led by the Ministry of Commerce and is a national social organization. CIFA’s purpose is to maximize the autonomy of companies and consolidate operations and establish a balanced business climate for competition. So don’t wait up and contact us for details.


Member Unit for SIFFA

The Shenzhen International Freight Forwarders Association (SIFFA) is a Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau professional body with a legal identity. SIFFA is tasked with guiding, protecting and coordinating stakeholders in the area of knowledge sharing, coordinating ties, enhancing mutual collaboration, and promoting the member interests of the international freight transport business.

Sea Freight Shipping – The Ultimate FAQ Guide


The primary transport tool for the global export and import industry is sea freight, also known as ocean freight.

Low rates, huge numbers, FCL or LCL alternatives, both of these benefits make sea shipping the preferred method of delivery for the majority of foreign trade.

This FAQ guideline will assist you to understand the ins and outs of sea freight shipping.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is Sea Freight Shipping?
  2. What Is The Container Shipping Process In International Sea Freight Shipping?
  3. How Long Does International Sea Freight Shipping Take?
  4. What Are The Documentations Involved In A Sea Freight Shipping?
  5. Who Issues The Sea Freight Documents?
  6. What Are The Most Often Used Incoterm In International Sea Freight Shipping?
  7. What Are Types Of International Sea Freight Shipping Available?
  8. Why Choose International Sea Freight Shipping Over Other Shipping Methods?
  9. What Are The Differences Between LCL and FCL Shipping?
  10. Why Is Over Sea Shipping Cheap?
  11. How Over Sea Shipping Cost Is Calculated?
  12. What Are The Factors That Determine The Sea Freight Shipping Costs?
  13. What Are The Common Ocean And Sea Shipping Costs You Need To Pay?
  14. Are There Surcharges In Sea Shipping Rates Like There Are In Air Freight?
  15. Who Pays The Customs Charge In Sea Shipping?
  16. Who Is Liable For Customs Clearance In Sea Shipping?
  17. What Are The Shipping Container Types Used In Sea Freight Shipping?
  18. How Many Pallets Fit In A Shipping Container In Sea Freight Shipping?
  19. Is There A Weight Limit On Sea Shipping?
  20. Why Is There A Difference In-Transit Time Between FCL And LCL Cargo To The Same Destination?
  21. Is Sea Freight Insured?
  22. Are There Restrictions On Imports Over Sea Shipping?
  23. Who Are The Most Renowned Sea Freight Carriers?
  24. Can I Track My Cargo In Sea Freight Shipping?

1. What Is Sea Freight Shipping?

The method of transporting goods and commodities in a container over the sea or ocean is known as sea freight shipping.

That is the global transportation of cargo using water as the main medium of transportation.

This method of transport is a cost-effective way to export goods to various regions of the world.

It is also very simple and dependable.

You are aware that water occupies the majority of the earth’s landmass and that there is at least one significant water mass on each of the world’s continents.

As a result, sea freight is a convenient way of shipping goods across foreign borders.

Sea Freight Shipping From China
Sea Freight Shipping From China

2. What Is The Container Shipping Process In International Sea Freight Shipping?

The sea freight mechanism is fraught with difficulties.

Sourcing materials, transporting them to the distribution terminal, and clearing customs are all aspects of international logistics.

This can be time-consuming for a newcomer in the business.

Follow the steps to have convenient shipping through sea freight.

  • First, find and source the items you would like to ship.

You need to find a freight forwarder with the most dependable services and prices after you’ve sourced supplies and settled on the terms of sale.

The forwarder would then assist you in arranging your goods for shipment to anywhere in the globe.

  • Second, when the supplies arrive at the freight forwarder’s warehouse, they go through a series of steps to prepare them for delivery.

They unload your products from the truck, make an inspection and package them compactly.

For this, the office of the customs would ask you for

  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial invoice and
  • Packing list as well as some other paperwork

Both of these records will be processed by the freight forwarder.

Customs agents will check and assess the items you are sending.

This is, for the intention of estimating incurred taxes and duties.

After that, you’ll have to pay the bill that was provided.

Customs Clearance In Origin Port
Customs Clearance In Origin Port

Thus, at this stage, your container is placed onto a shipping vessel and delivered to the port of destination.

Keep in mind that when you contract a freight forwarder, they are in charge of finding a reputable carrier.

And, if you’re shipping with HART Worldwide, as your freight forwarder, will pick the appropriate carrier for you through its extensive network of connections.

HART will ship your products to the most suitable location at the most reasonable cost.

  • Next, customs clearance at the destination port.

You must now have the required paperwork for the shipments to be authorized for acceptance into the destination.

Customs officials must check the shipments to ensure that they are not restricted in the region.

It should be noted that you would still be required to pay customs service to the appropriate customs authority.

  • Lastly, transfer the goods from port to the warehouses.

From here the goods will be delivered to your desired location.

Voila, your shipment has arrived.

3. How Long Does International Sea Freight Shipping Take?

It completely depends upon the distance between the origin port and destination port of the shipment.

International sea freight shipping exports take considerably longer, even up to eight weeks.

4. What Are The Documentations Involved In A Sea Freight Shipping?

Sea freight shipping contains a large number of forms that must be filled out correctly.

Furthermore, you must send them to the appropriate authority before the shipment of merchandise can begin.

When filing each of these papers, you must exercise extreme caution.

Bill of Lading

The most important of all foreign shipping records is the bill of lading.

It is a kind of written approval given to the consignee by the shipping firm.

This paper certifies that commodities in the form of freight have been obtained on board for shipment to a specified destination.

A BOL is often approved by the Carrier Company’s shipping department or, in some cases, the director of the ship.

It is important to note that the word “bill” applies to the schedule and expenses of supplies, while “lading” refers to the loading of cargo onto a ship.

Thus, a ‘bill of lading’ denotes the delivery of cargo at a predetermined rate to a predetermined recipient.

Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading

Specifications for a Bill of Lading

  • The identity of the selling agent,
  • The identity of the importer,
  • The identity of the shipowner,
  • The title of the destination terminal,
  • Freight value,
  • Shipment markings, and
  • The number of goods to be transported.

Commercial Invoice

As you buy the products for importation, the supplier will send you a commercial invoice.

It’s to demonstrate that you bought a specific form and quantity of merchandise from him.

This contract outlines both the vendor’s and purchaser’s deal, as well as the terms of the sale and purchasing of merchandise.

The paper specifies the type of goods purchased, the port of origin, the overall value of the goods, and the port of arrival.

This also contains the details of the persons involved in the shipment of the sourced materials, the purchaser, and the supplier.

A commercial invoice is only produced after a sale of products has occurred.

That is a sales contract between you and the seller of products.

Commercial Invoice
Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is required to clear customs at both the entry and exit ports.

This is because the information in the paper is used to measure the actual customs value of the items you are shipping.

Verify that the contract shows that all tariffs on the items have been charged, as well as the names of the shipper, purchaser, and distributor company.

Sea Waybill

A Sea way bill serves as proof of a contract of carriage and delivery of the goods being shipped.

It can be mentioned that a Bill of Lading serves as proof of a contract of carriage and possession of the goods as well as a certificate of title granting possession.

Packing List

A packaging list specifies all of the products used in the package.

It’s a very detailed sea freight shipping guide.

This indicates that when writing it out, you must be very careful not to leave something out.

It defines the goods used in each box, as well as the form of the packaging used for each component.

It also displays the weight and dimensions of each item used in the shipment.

The overall weight of the shipment will be determined using this listing note.

It’s required to ensure that the right shipment is being delivered.

Customs officers will utilize this shipping list to inspect the shipment both before and after it arrives.

Realize that the details on the packaging list must match the details on the bill of lading and other shipments papers.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a paper that specifies the place of origin for the goods being transported.

This credential is mainly used to check the origin of products imported into the region.

It is always intended to attend to the trade and customs specifications.

It is being used as a tool for determining tariff care.

Recognize that most modern countries impose differing customs duty rates for goods purchased from distinct nations.

Some countries need importers to include this document for customs or trade authorities to verify the products.

Certificate of Insurance

When the products are insured, you will be given an insurance card.

This is to reassure you that you’ll be compensated if your shipments are missing or destroyed while in transit.

This credential would list all of the things covered, as well as the risk and the amount of coverage.

Which makes it possible to apply for reimbursement and expedites payment if the insured risk arises.

While going to fill out shipment forms, please make sure you do it correctly.

So the necessary information is given simply and concisely.

As most of these records contain identical details, any minor discrepancy will result in the shipment being frozen for an extended period.

Certificate of Insurance
Certificate of Insurance

So, to eliminate all of these challenges, allow your freight forwarder to fill up your papers.

On your behalf, we, HART Worldwide, ensure that all paperwork is duly filled out and submitted before the shipment.

5. Who Issues The Sea Freight Documents?

Both the freight forwarder and the retailer.

A bill of lading, for example, is provided by the freight forwarder, whereas a commercial invoice is provided by the vendor.

6. What Are The Most Often Used Incoterm In International Sea Freight Shipping?

EXW, FOB, CFR, and DDP are the most widely used Incoterms for foreign sea freight.

Simply put, FOB and EXW consider the buyer’s needs.

You should use your forwarder to organize (the majority of) the transportation.

In the case of CFR and DDP, the opposite is true.

The purchaser selects the forwarder, who then arranges (the majority of) the transportation.

EXW and FOB give you greater leverage over transportation, scheduling, and costing than CFR and DDP.

7. What Are Types Of International Sea Freight Shipping Available?

There are primarily 4 types of international sea freight shipping available.

  • Full container load (FCL) refers to a single container that is installed into a container and can range in length from 20 to 45 feet.
  • Less than container load (LCL) refers to multiple shipments that share a container and are separated at their destination.
  • Roll-on roll-off (RORO) is a method of transport in which trucks and other automobiles drive into a ship with their freight, are securely assembled for the voyage, and then literally drive off at their desired location.
  • Dry bulk transport is used for goods such as metallic materials or aggregates that can be dumped or spilled into a ship’s hold rather than being loaded in containers.

8. Why Choose International Sea Freight Shipping Over Other Shipping Methods?

Here are some reasons why should you choose sea freight over other shipping –

  • Price and Volume – A single container will accommodate 10,000 beverage bottles. Furthermore, ocean freight is less expensive. Any container weighing more than 500 kg is, as a rule, too heavy for air freight.
  • Fewer prohibitions – International legislation, state law, carrier association laws, and specific carrier regulations all play a role in identifying and limiting the commodities that are deemed unsafe for transportation. More goods are limited as air cargo and other shipping methods than as ocean freight.
  • CO2 Emissions – Sea freight carbon dioxide emissions are negligible in comparison to air freight or other shipping methods.

9.  What Are The Differences Between LCL and FCL Shipping?

They are 2 common shipping terms used in the international logistics industry.

FCL refers to full container load.

It means that a container will be used exclusively for one shipper or one customer’s products.

While LCL means Less than Container Load.

It means that a container will be shared by different customers.

That means different shipments from different customers will be consolidated and shipped in one container.

Well, don’t worry.

You don’t need to find someone to share the container with you.

The shipping agent or the forward agent will do this for you.

It seems very simple about the definition.

But what are the advantages of those 2 terms?

FCL May Be Cheaper Than LCL

You know it’s more like that when you buy the products from the suppliers.

The more quantity you buy, the cheaper price you will get.

The same thing for sea shipping, you know.

The more space you book, the cheaper price you will get.

So FCL will make you have a cheaper unit sea shipping cost than LCL.

And the other thing is that the freight forwarder prefers full container shipping.

It will be much easier for them to handle an FCL than LCL.

For LCL, they have to consolidate the different shipments from different customers into one container.

And also to arrange multiple documents for one container.

So that will make LCL more complicated.

FCL vs LCL Shipping
FCL vs LCL Shipping

FCL Maybe Gets Delivered More Quickly Than LCL

While LCL may be delayed for several reasons.

You know as we mentioned that for LCL, the freight forwarder, they have to consolidate different shipments into one container, process multiple documents, and to sort out the products in the destination port.

So it’s much more complicated for LCL.

And at each step of those handlings, it has potential for delay.

FCL May Be Safer Than LCL

For LCL, it’s more likely to be exposed at a higher risk of damage and loss.

It can be exposed when the freight forwarder consolidates the products in the loading port.

And also it will be exposed again when the freight forwarder sorting out the products in the destination port.

While even FCL has a lot of advantages, LCL will always help you keep your inventory low.

You know at the very beginning of the business, you cannot afford full containers of products.

So it will make sense for you to choose to ship by LCL.

So you will save a lot of sea shipping rates.

You don’t have to worry that you need to buy a lot of products to fully load one container.

So these will be all those differences between FCL and LCL shipping.

To have a better understanding, watch the video –

10. Why Is Over Sea Shipping Cheap?

Sea freight shipping costs are frequently much cheaper with larger and heavier shipments.

To avail of cheap international shipping by sea, you need to follow some hacks.

If the size of a shipment decreases, so do the sea shipping rates.

Because of the smooth surface of the sea, comparatively less tractive strength is needed for its service, resulting in lower sea shipping rates.

As a result, cheap international shipping by sea is more popular.

11. How Over Sea Shipping Cost Is Calculated?

For FCL sea freight shipping costs are fixed for 20 FT GP, 40 FT GP, and 40 FT HQ containers.

For LCL shipping sea freight shipping costs are calculated as per CBM or cubic meter of the container.

Both net weight and volumetric weight is calculated.

Whichever is higher, is picked for chargeable weight in LCL shipping.

For better understanding, watch the video –

So, be calculative to avail of cheap international shipping by sea.

12. What Are The Factors That Determine The Sea Freight Shipping Costs?

The factors that determine the sea freight shipping costs are stated as follows-

  • Package Dimensions
  • Package Weight
  • Shipment Speed
  • Target Destination
Factors Affect Sea Shipping Cost
Factors Affect Sea Shipping Cost
  • Customs Duty and Other Taxes
  • Delivery Surcharges
  • Shipping Insurance
  • Declared Value

These are the factors that affect the sea freight shipping costs most.

If you can maintain these factors, you can avail of cheap international shipping by sea.

13. What Are The Common Ocean And Sea Shipping Costs You Need To Pay?

Common ocean and sea shipping costs you need to pay –

  • Surcharges for customs security
  • Fees for routing
  • Brokerage of customs
  • Delivery and pick-up
  • Container Transfer Station (LCL only)
  • Insurance
  • Fees for terminal handling
  • Accessorial charges

Be aware while planning for your shipment to obtain cheap international shipping by sea.

14. Are There Surcharges In Sea Shipping Rates Like There Are In Air Freight?

Yes, indeed.

There are surcharges applied to sea shipping rates.

Energy surcharges, monitoring surcharges, and other charges that also accompany shipping from port to port are some examples of sea freight surcharges.

15. Who Pays The Customs Charge In Sea Shipping?

You, the importer.

The receiver of the shipment usually pays the customs charge or the freight forwarder on his behalf pays it in sea shipping.

16. Who Is Liable For Customs Clearance In Sea Shipping?

You, the consignee are liable for the customs clearance in sea shipping.

But, usually the freight forwarders on your behalf do this and charges you the additional cost.

17. What Are The Shipping Container Types Used In Sea Freight Shipping?

There are mainly three types of containers used in sea freight shipping.

  • The 20’GP is built to hold more weight than bulky cargo.

Minerals, chemicals, machines, and so on are all examples of bulky goods

  • The 40’GP is intended to transport voluminous freight rather than compact cargo.

For example, appliances, tires, toys, and so on are all voluminous commodities

  • As long as the load is not hanging over the sides, the base of the 40-foot-high cube container will accommodate up to 25 Euro pallet stacks.
Sea Freight Container Dimensions
Sea Freight Container Dimensions

18. How Many Pallets Fit In A Shipping Container In Sea Freight Shipping?

Well, approximately 9 to 11 pallet fills in a 20 FT GP container.

And nearly 21 to 25 pallet positions in a 40 FT GP container, relying on pallet capacity.

19. Is There A Weight Limit On Sea Shipping?

Well yes.

Based on how you sail, there are various weight thresholds.

Ocean freight, in particular, usually has little weight limits than inland freight.

This is because trucks cannot bear too much weight.

Additionally, state and federal rules restrict how much a vehicle can carry in most countries.

20. Why Is There A Difference In-Transit Time Between FCL And LCL Cargo To The Same Destination?

In the case of FCL, the container is holding freight for a single shipper and a single consignee.

Once packed at the Port of Load, it is not reconfigured and is shipped as is to the Port of Discharge.

In the case of LCL freight, the freight forwarder or groupage agent will load cargo from several shippers and consignees into the same container bound for different destinations.

That’s why LCL shipping takes more time than FCL shipping to the same destination.

21. Is Sea Freight Insured?

Yes, to a certain degree.

Certain sea freight carriers’ contractual obligations restrict their responsibility for cargo risks.

The restriction differs from carrier to carrier, but it is typically very low.

In this respect, it is generally recommended that the importer determines precisely what the restriction with their carrier is before shipment.

Obtaining extra insurance for their shipping is often needed to ensure the complete safety of the products whilst in transit.

22. Are There Restrictions On Imports Over Sea Shipping?

There are.

Every mode of shipping is subject to restrictions.

Potentially dangerous commodities are often limited in sea freight.

This ensures you’ll need to get a hazardous goods declaration form on hand to show that what you’re delivering is potentially unsafe.

You’ll still need to take extraordinary precautions to facilitate the safe shipping of those items.

Sea Freight Restricted Items
Sea Freight Restricted Items

Some notable generally restricted products in sea shipping are –

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,
  • Dry Ice,
  • Perfumes having alcohol,
  • Poisons,
  • Aerosols,
  • Nail Polish,
  • Air Bags,
  • Cigarettes,
  • Alcoholic Beverages,
  • Marijuana
  • Ammunition,
  • Gasoline,
  • Explosives,

23. Who Are The Most Renowned Sea Freight Carriers?

The most renowned sea freight carriers are as follows –



MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company

MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company
MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company

COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company

COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company
COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company



Evergreen Line

Evergreen Line
Evergreen Line

24. Can I Track My Cargo In Sea Freight Shipping?

Yes, mostly.

To trace a shipment, you must first determine the shipping line is carrying your freight, as well as the container size, booking number, or paper number.

Many of the details can be found mostly on the Bill of Lading.

The reservation number and bill of lading number are usually listed on the top right, and the container number is usually stated underneath the category “Marks & Nos.”

Cargo Tracking Framework of MAERSK
Cargo Tracking Framework of MAERSK


Comprehending international logistics can be difficult if this is the first time using sea freight.

This is why we have created this FAQ guide for you.

HART wishes to assist you in avoiding complications, overcharges, fraud, and misunderstandings associated with sea freight transport.

We wish to keep this step as clear as possible for you to grasp.

But, once again, you will not have to think about sea freight because HART is around to assist.

Simply tell us what you’re bringing, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going.

We will design a freight forwarding solution to meet your unique requirements.

Scroll to Top