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Shipping from China to South Korea

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Today, shipping is one of the primary sectors of the economy. This industry has become an integral part of commercial, agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing activities. Without the idea of ​​domestic and international transportation networks, many economic activities would not be possible. In today’s world, transportation is done in different ways, including sea, land, rail, air, or a combination of two or more different methods).

Transportation law includes domestic laws and regulations and international conventions and contracts that govern each of the various transportation modes. This article discusses all information about shipping from China to South Korea, giving you comprehensive information.

Shipping from China to South Korea

When you, as a businessman or businesswoman, want to transport packages from China to South Korea, it is important to know different shipping ways. Generally, there are two ways for shipping from China to South Korea that are as below:

  • Sea freight
  • Air freight
  • Rail freight

Sea freight is one of the most preferred methods by all merchants, and the main reason is that there are no restricted items by sea, and the price is very reasonable.

Airfreight is the best way for those people who want to take packages within a week. Therefore, it is better to be familiar with each way’s regulations to choose the best one!

What goods are imported to South Korea?

Imports of goods play an essential role in the country’s economic growth. In 2013, the import revenue to South Korea was 516.6 billion. Import commodities to South Korea are:

  • Machinery
  • Electronics and electronic equipment
  • Oil
  • Steel
  • Optical instruments
  • Transport equipment
  • Organic chemicals
  • Plastics

Top Import Origins for importing from China to South Korea are:

Sea freight from China to South Korea

With the continuous development and globalization of the economies in different countries, Sea freight gradually became an international industry, and many challenges arose in this massive industry. One by one, the shipping companies faced these challenges and removed them. One of the advantages of Sea freight is the use of containers.

Now, it can be claimed that most of the shipping is done through open waters and seas. Another advantage of this is the fixed fare rate because large shipping companies determine the transport rates.

Moreover, everyone can pay the fee, and it is very crucial for merchants. In Sea freight, a high volume of goods are sent, and of course, one of the advantages of this trade is that sometimes cargo of several thousand tons can be easily moved by ship from one country to another.

On the other hand, the reliability and safety of Sea freight are high. The reason is that shipping companies are required to comply with international standards and laws. All people, both buyers and sellers, and the shipping company must abide by these rules!

Ocean Freight Options: FCL and LCL Shipping to South Korea

Ocean freight to South Korea primarily follows two routes – Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL).

FCL is a preferred choice for those with substantial shipment volumes, between 11 to 25 Euro pallets. This method offers the entire container for your use and is particularly beneficial when shipping large quantities of products. It also promotes safety as it minimizes damage risks due to less handling. The usage of Standard or American pallets can be decided based on your needs. With shorter transit times and less handling, FCL provides a secure and speedy shipping solution.

On the other hand, LCL offers the benefit of shared space, making it cost-effective for smaller shipments. Unlike FCL, you only pay for the space and weight your cargo occupies, negating the need to book the whole container. This method eliminates the need for self-loading and unloading of the container. However, LCL comes with certain drawbacks, including the unsuitability for fragile, delicate, or perishable products due to increased handling and movement. Also, the transit times are longer, as the consolidation and deconsolidation of freight add to the shipment process time.

The conditions of sea freight from China to South Korea!

The conditions of sea freight are as follows:

  • Goods are more than 200 kg
  • Goods are cumbersome
  • Goods are super large
  • Goods are in bad shape

If your situation meets these conditions, it is the best way for you!

Seaports for shipping from China to South Korea

There are many significant seaports in China. Some of these ports are considered necessary at the international level, and they are the main sea gate to connect to different countries. Seaports for shipping from China to South Korea are:

Shanghai Dalian  Qingdao Guangzhou
Shenzhen Tianjin Ningbo  Xiamen

All packages arrive at these seaport in South Korea:

Major Ports on the east coast Incheon Pyeongtaek Mokpo
Major Port on the South coast Gwangyang Busan Ulsan
Major Ports om the west coast Donghae / Samcheok

How long to take shipping from China to South Korea?

When you want to use this transportation method, it is crucial to know how long it takes to reach the destination. Shipping time from China to South Korea takes 10 to 31 da

What is transit time for shipping from China to South Korea?

Transit means the transfer of non-customs goods from one customs to another, albeit under customs supervision. Transit is a cost-effective choice for countries that are incapable of producing some goods. In a simpler sense, transit refers to the delivery of goods or other items that have been sent by the seller, but they have not yet reached the buyer, and they are on their way.

Since transit is an international activity, each country must comply with international law to transit with other countries. The transit of goods is very competitive between different countries.

Each country is trying to establish the transit price of goods in a competitive way to win and succeed in international markets. If a country can make fair use of its competitive advantages and transit capabilities, it can profit in its economic cycle.

Countries seek to transit to regions and countries where the costs of transit and goods transportation are cheaper.

One of the essential things that countries should consider in international transportation affordable transportation fees is that the land where transportation becomes more expensive loses its competitive advantage in the transit scene. The transit times from China to South Korea are:

 Incheon Pyeongtaek Mokpo Gwangyang Busan Ulsan Donghae / Samcheok
Shanghai 7 8 5 7 7 8 5
Shenzhen 7 5 7 5 8 6 7
Dalian 8 8 5 6 7 8 5
Qingdao 5 6 5 8 7 6 5
Ningbo 5 7 8 8 7 6 6
Guangzhou 7 8 6 5 6 8 7
Xiamen 6 8 7 5 8 8 7

Air freight for shipping from China to South Korea

In the international definitions (Warsaw Convention), air freight refers to the transportation of people, goods, or anything from one place to another by air. Both parties are aware of both the origin and the destination, and this transfer is done with full consent. The most crucial advantage of airfreight is its speed, which is much faster than sea freight.

This method is recommended if the damage due to the late delivery of goods is greater than the savings of sea freight; timely delivery of goods is also guaranteed by the air freight method. The safety of air freight of goods and shipments is also relatively high, and less damage is done to the goods.

This method’s most significant disadvantage is its high cost, which usually prevents buyers or sellers of small products from using this method. Also, every kind of goods can’t be transported by plane. Airfreight is generally used for relatively small and valuable goods and shipments, but land and sea freight is recommended for bulky and heavy goods.

Conditions for air freight

This method is the best way, if:

  • The goods are less than 200 kg
  • The goods are not very heavy
  • You are in a hurry

Airports for shipping from China to South Korea

After China was recognized as the main country worldwide to provide goods for all businesses, and many prominent companies came to this country to have some plants in China, significant changes happen in airport infrastructures.

Now, airports in China are well equipped, and they offer different services to customers. Every year, millions of tonnes are transferred to these airports, and the Chinese government plans to extend these airports for better services. The main airports from China to South Korea are:

  • Dalian
  • Shanghai
  • Hong Kong
  • Qingdao
  • Jinan
  • Yantai

All packages arrive at Seoul Incheon International Airport.

Seoul Incheon International Airport

Incheon Airport was recognized in 2011 as the third largest airport globally with a 179 square meter watchtower. It also became the best airport in the world in 2005. This airport received six-star as the top airport in transit. The same international organization also recognizes it as the cleanest airport in the world. In 2015, the airport received passengers from 49 countries, and it was ranked 8th in the world in terms of passenger traffic.

Seoul Incheon Airport Terminals

Incheon Airport currently has one main terminal with 44 reception desks. These booths have an online system, and passengers can use other airlines such as China Stern, Crane Aero, Ashiana Air Lines, and the leading companies based in Incheon Airport. Terminals 1 and 2 were established in 2017. In addition to the admission counter, the airport also has 120 passport control counters. Fifty counties are also in charge of customs affairs.

Shanghai Airport, one prominent airport in China

Shanghai has two international airports:

  • Pudong International Airport
  • Hongqiao International Airport.

Shanghai Pudong Airport is mainly for international flights, and domestic flights are operated at other airports. Shanghai Pudong Airport is located in the new Pudong District, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Shanghai, and about 40 kilometers from other Shanghai airports. Shanghai Pudong Airport is a vast and modern airport with two main terminals for inbound and outbound flights. The third terminal was opened in 2015. This airport is the central hub of China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines and one of the main hubs of Air China. Shanghai Pudong Airport handles 60 million passengers worldwide annually.

Shanghai Pudong Airport Facilities

  • Internet access: Free Wi-Fi is available on-site, but you must have a Chinese SIM card to receive the code. If you do not have a Chinese SIM card, you can use the airport devices and print the Internet access code.
  • Airport information: There is an information section in different parts of Shanghai Pudong Airport, and it is ready to provide services to passengers.
  • Currency exchange: You can also go to special counters in different airport parts to exchange currency and exchange money.
  • Shopping: Duty-Free stores are located between Gates 15 and 20 in the international flight section. In this store, all kinds of products are offered to passengers without including tax costs.

Airlines for shipping from China to South Korea!

After air cargo was recognized as one of the most significant ways for goods transportation, many airlines tried to work in this field to offer customers’ needs. Many airlines in the world offer different services to customers. Some significant airlines for shipping from China to South Korea are:

  • Air Incheon
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Korean Ai
  • China Cargo Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines

If you need more information about these airlines, you can go to the official website them. Different tabs are on the website, and they provide some specific information for passengers. With this information, you can increase your knowledge about various services of these airlines.

How to calculate the weight and volume of goods in Airfreight

One of the most important issues that sometimes confuse international shipping is how to calculate the weight of the bill of lading. The important point is that in air freight, two Gross Weight and Volume weight units are measured and calculated. The actual weight is the same weight that is determined after weighing the goods on the airport customs scale, and the volumetric weight is calculated according to the external dimensions of the package after packing according to the following formula:

  • Volumetric weight formula in air freight: Volumetric weight = product of length, width and height divided by 6000

Note that the largest length, largest width, and largest height of the package are measured in centimeters, and the numbers are divided by 6000. The number obtained is the volumetric weight of the product. For example, the volume weight of a package with dimensions of length, width, and height of 100 cm is equal to 167 kg, or in other words, cubic meters = 167 kg.

When calculating the freight cost, we calculate the actual weight of all packages (total weight of scales) and the volume weight of all packages; whichever is greater is used as the weight of the bill of lading in Chargeable Weight. It should be noted that the actual weight of all packages is compared to the volume weight of all packages.

Another important point about the cost of airfare is that the unit rate of airfare also decreases in proportion to the weight of the shipment. In most cases, airline rates vary based on weights below 45 kg, 45 to 100 kg, 100 to 250 kg, 250 to 500 kg, and as the weight of the cargo increases, the “unit” rate of freight decreases!

How long for shipping from China to South Korea by air?

Airplanes are the fastest way for transportation of goods between China and South Korea. Averagely, it takes between 3 to 7 business days to take the packages.

Some significant issue is that these times are for normal situations. Sometimes unexpected events happen, and they make this process a bit longer!

Rail freight from China to South Korea

Rail freight is for transporting cargo through rail networks and stations. The use of rail transport is an effective way to transport goods. This type of transportation is usually faster than land transport. A train can also carry much more cargo than a truck. It creates a significant advantage a larger scale of goods are transported in low prices.

Besides, there is less manpower and energy to transport the same amount of cargo. Various wagons are assembled behind a locomotive that go directly or partially to the final destination. Rail transport, both domestic and international, is transported by transport corridors that are specific to freight, and they do not transport passengers.

Variables that determine the cost of rail transport

The calculation of the price of international transport by rail depends on several factors that they are as the following:

  • Dimensions of shipping: It includes the size and weight of the goods shipped.
  • Distance: Rail transport is the cheapest when transporting over long distances.
  • Delivery type: Delivery destination is located near the railway station or not!
  • Nature of goods: What kind of goods are transported? Fragile, toxic, flammable, and others.
  • Insurance: Depending on the nature of the goods transferred, there may be additional insurance requirements.
  • Customs clearance: When the consignment crosses the border, customs clearance and import costs may apply.

The advantages of Rail Transport

  • In this way, huge loads can be transported
  • It is eco-friendly due to less energy use
  • It is the cheapest method of transportation among all methods
  • It has the highest level of security when transporting goods

Express courier companies from China to South Korea

By the easy access to the Internet, many people could order their products from one country. This fact arose the need for international companies to transport packages or goods from country to another country. These days, the role of the international companies is very significant that nobody could imagine this world without them.

If we want to point to some prominent and international companies for delivering goods, they are FedEx, DHL and TNT. Most of these companies have agents in more than forty countries, and this number indicates people’s need to transportation companies.

International Company or Local Company for shipping from China to South Korea?

One important issue for transporting goods around the world is that people are usually confused about International companies and local companies. It is better to know that both have some advantages and disadvantages. International companies are well known, and people can trust them easily. Because their brilliant experience in working leaves no room for doubt. However, it is a good idea to know about local companies. When the company has an official website, and it concludes a legal contract with you, the company can be trusted.

Local companies are usually cheaper than international companies. They know the Chinese language very well, and it is one crucial advantage of these companies that make many suppliers prefer the local ones. They know the rules of each region very well. We advise you if you want to shipping goods from China to South Korea, it is better to have complete information about each of these companies.

One vital factors which will help you to choose the best one is to go to the official website of each company and read the customer satisfaction! Statistics indicate that this section is the most reliable part to choose a company.

Customs Clearance from China to South Korea

Basically, one of the most necessary processes in customs that is done by the owner of a product or its legal representatives is called clearance of goods. The term customs, which is used for importing and exporting a good during customs. The stages of customs clearance are expressed in below:

  • Entering information from the system
  • Printing the declaration
  • Assessing the goods
  • Obtaining the necessary permits
  • Examining the goods by the Service expert
  • Paying the cost
  • Going to the Warehousing
  • Exit of goods

Essential documents for customs clearance

Before going to the customs clearance company, some documents must be prepared. These documents are:

  • Bill of Landing
  • Letter of Credit
  • Licenses and Certificates ( if it is needed)
  • A commercial invoice

What is a commercial invoice for shipping from China to South Korea?

It is a document that contains information about the goods that the seller issues in the name of the buyer. The seller (exporter) often issues the business list in the name of the buyer, but sometimes the list may also be in the name of the business representative of the buyer or importer. Vendors or exporters have their own forms for issuing business inventories, but the tips are almost identical. In international trade, the trade list generally contains the following information:

  • Name and address of buyer and seller, date and number of buyer order (pre-invoice)
  • Full product specifications
  • If possible, the unit price of the goods and its final price according to the shipping conditions
  • Terms of payment of the price of goods, for example, payment based on documentary credit or for a 30-day visit in
  • Exchange for acceptance of documents
    Exact numbers and signs of packages or shipments
  • Weight (net and gross) of packages or quantity of shipments
  • The name of the ship if known

Sometimes it is necessary to include the following information in the trade list, which is usually used by the customs authorities of the importing country:

  • Country of origin of goods
  • Ports of loading and unloading or place of delivery of goods to the carrier
  • If possible, freight and insurance costs separately

In addition to the above information, the following points must be observed when issuing the Commercial invoice:

  • In pricing arrangements based on a letter of credit, according to the uniform rules, the commercial invoice must be prepared in the name of the credit applicant, and the specifications of the goods in the list must exactly match the specifications of the goods in the letter of credit. Also, the amount mentioned in the list should not exceed the amount of credit opened in favor of the seller, in which case the bank will refuse to accept it.
  • The price stated in the trade list must comply with the principles agreed in the sales contract. Therefore, the price of the goods can be determined, depending on the basis of the contract, based on the delivery of the goods on the FOB ship, the delivery of the goods next to the FAS ship, the delivery of the goods on the ship with payment of fare and CIF insurance, or other common bases in international sales contracts. In some INVOICE, the seller swears or certifies that the price on the invoice is correct.

In some cases, according to the regulations of the importing country, the commercial invoice must be certified and signed by the Chamber of Commerce of the exporting country. The seller is also required to certify the signature of the Chamber of Commerce of the consulate of the importing country.

It should be noted that in international trade, in addition to the fact that the document must be sent to the buyer or his bank, it is also important for the customs of the importing country when customs clearance. If the customs recognizes the commercial invoice as valid, it will collect customs duties and taxes based on the information mentioned in it, including the price of the goods. The complete information contained in a Commercial Invoice is:

  • EXPORTER (Exporter name and address)
  • CONSIGNEE (Recipient Name)
  • INTERMEDIATE CONSIGNEE (Intermediary Recipient, Intermediary Buyer)
  • COMMERCIAL INVOICE NO (commercial invoice number)
  • CUSTOMER PURCHASE ORDER NO (Customer Purchase Order Number)
  • B / L, AWB NO (bill of lading number)
  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (Country of Origin)
  • EXPORTING CARRIER / ROUTE (export route, trajectory)
  • PACKAGES (packaging)
  • NET WEIGHT (net weight) GROSS WEIGHT (gross weight)
  • DESCRIPTION OF MERCHANDISE (Description of goods)
  • PACKAGE MARKS (closed marks)
  • MISC. CHARGES (miscellaneous payments)
  • CERTIFICATIONS (Certificates, Notices)

Tax from China to South Korea

These two countries have great trading with each other. China exports agricultural products to South Korea and South Korea exports automobiles to China. Then, in 2015, after 4-year negotiations, these two countries agreed on the Free Trade Agreement.

What is the Free Trade Agreement between China and South Korea

Free Trade Agreement is the distribution of goods among trading countries, based on artificial prices, which may be a real reflection of supply and demand. The free trade agreement is one of the key elements of free trade areas.

A free market is a free economy in which buyers and sellers trade with each other unconditionally in terms of price and quantity, and there is no obligation to buy or sell. The government frees individuals, and the producers produce at their own will, and the government does not intervene to determine the price and quantity of the product. Free trade has the following features:

  • Trade-in goods without tariffs and customs or other trade barriers
  • Free access to markets
  • Lack of misleading trade policies that benefit some individuals and companies.
  • Free access to market information
  • Free labor movement between and within countries
  • Free movement of capital in and out of the country

Most countries in the world are now members of the World Trade Organization, which imposes certain restrictions but has not removed all tariffs and trade barriers. Most countries are also members of free trade zones, which have lower tariffs among member countries. Most countries have banned foreign airlines from carrying goods and passengers within their own country.

Some consideration in shipping from China to South Korea

  • Animal products: They should be shipped under the inspection of QI. The shipper should provide a quarantine inspection report on collection at the country of origin.
  • Bovine products: for shipping these items, the receiver should have a Certificate of Non-BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)
  • Product from MFDS: They should have licensed importers, and recommendation from the related organization is needed.
  • Animal skins: They should be shipped under the inspection of QI.
    Artwork such as drawings, proofs, and layouts need documents.
    Biological Substance
  • Category B: it is based on the International Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.
  • For shipping circuits and circuit boards, communications, telecommunications equipment, computer components and parts, electronic equipment including MP3 players, printers & IT equipment, phones, modems and radios including radio equipment, parts RRA, and certification is required.
  • Certain items will require South Korea’s Law of Electrical Appliance Safety Management or Law of Electrical Communications Apparatus.
  • Consumable finished goods, including footwear, clothes, and bags, must be mentioned on the invoice.
  • For shipping drugs (prescription and non-prescription), health products and vitamins need analysis tables.
  • Foodstuffs must be shipped under the inspection of QI, and they need a Certificate of Origin.
  • Non-hazardous chemicals and liquids, oil products including bunker oil samples (for analysis), and substances containing sodium, and calcium cyclamate need analysis table.
  • Medical samples need a recommendation from a related organization.
  • Human blood samples, are only permitted if imported by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
  • Military equipment Acceptable only for military bases or military officers.

Door to door shipping service from China to South Korea

Door to door is one unique service which is offered by different transportation company. All you should do in this way is to go to the company, conclude a contract, and pay the fee. Based on the ways you choose for transportation, the time of delivery will be clear.

If you want to check the process, you can go to the company’s official website and the shipping track and enter the specific number given to you by the company. In this way, the freight forwarder takes the goods from the warehouse in China and delivers them within the preferred destination’s specific times.

The transportation companies offer some other services that they are port to port, port door, or port to the door! In each way, as it is evident from the name, the freight forwarder takes the packages from the port or the door in China and deliver them to the port or door in the selected country. For more information, you can go to contact professional companies.

Concluding Remarks

In this article, we tried to give you all the necessary information for shipping from China to South Korea. If you want to choose some companies, you can go to the Alibaba website. There are many companies in that website that offer different services. But pay attention, you must have a legal contract with the company you choose!


Dear customers

If you need an impressive rate and competitive offer for Door to Door Rail and Trucking service from China to South Korea, please contact our Sale Team.


Certain items require specific documents for shipping: Animal products need a quarantine inspection report, bovine products require a Non-BSE certificate, MFDS products need licensed importers and organization recommendation, and electronic goods may require special certifications. Certain consumables, medical samples, and military equipment have their own specific requirements.

A Free Trade Agreement between China and South Korea allows trade without tariffs or other barriers, provides open access to each other’s markets and information, ensures fair trade policies, and facilitates free movement of labor and capital. However, some tariffs and trade barriers might still exist under World Trade Organization guidelines.

In addition to door-to-door service, transportation companies offer options like port-to-port, door-to-port, and port-to-door. These options involve the freight forwarder picking up and delivering goods either from/to a port or a specific address, based on the service chosen, providing versatility based on the customer’s shipping needs.

A commercial invoice is a crucial document in international trade, providing a record of the transaction between the exporter and importer. When shipping from China to South Korea, the invoice typically includes details like a description of the goods, their value, the involved parties, and delivery details. It is often used by customs authorities to assess duties and taxes.

The customs clearance process includes: entering information into the system, printing the declaration, assessing and examining the goods, obtaining necessary permits, paying costs, warehousing, and finally the exit of goods.

Evaluate companies based on their reputation, cost, local knowledge, and customer reviews. International companies are often more reputable, while local ones may offer lower prices and better understanding of regional rules and language. Always check customer reviews for insights on service quality.

Rail freight offers several benefits: it’s usually faster than land transport, can carry larger quantities of goods, often costs less, requires less manpower and energy, and has specific transport corridors for cargo, thus, not interfering with passenger transport.

Transit times can vary based on the method of shipment (air, sea, or land) and other factors like customs clearance. Typically, sea freight might take about 2-4 days, while air freight can take a few hours to a day.

Sea freight offers many advantages including the ability to transport high volumes of goods, including very heavy cargo, fixed fare rates determined by large shipping companies, high reliability and safety due to compliance with international standards, and widespread use of containers for efficient and secure transport.

Door-to-door service is a comprehensive shipping option offered by various transportation companies. This service involves the freight forwarder picking up the goods from a warehouse in China and delivering them directly to a specified destination in South Korea. The delivery timeline is determined by the chosen method of transportation. Shipment progress can be tracked using a specific number provided by the company on their official website.

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