How to Ship From Hong Kong Today - Explained by a Hong Kong company

How to Ship From Hong Kong Today - Explained by a Hong Kong company

By Chris Crutchley on October 7, 2021
If you ship cargo in the Asia Pacific region you’ll very likely ship your freight from or through Hong Kong. It’s not just the best choice, it’s usually the easiest.

If you ship cargo in the Asia Pacific region you’ll very likely ship your freight from or through Hong Kong. It’s not just the best choice, it’s usually the easiest.

As one of the largest container ports in the world, in 2020 Hong Kong saw a TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers) throughput of about 17.97 million according to Statista. Considering the largest ships in the world can only pack about 24,000 TEUs, that adds up to a staggering number of carriers moving in and out every day. That’s good for you because it leaves you with a ton of options.

Read About CBIP’s Global 4PL Logistics Services

As a logistics business with a major office in Hong Kong, we consider shipping from this region something of a specialty of ours. Here’s everything you need to know when shipping from Hong Kong today.


As mentioned earlier, Hong Kong has been a major global port for over a century, therefore, almost every shipping option you can think of is available to you. That is, provided you know where to find the right operator for your business needs. 

Below are the most common  services businesses use for shipments out of Hong Kong:


If you’re on a seriously tight budget and only want to ship a small number of items or a one-off sample, you may want to ship through Hong Kong Post. This is a cheaper option through normal mail routes and can take two to five weeks to arrive. HK Post includes limited freight tracking so you can generally see where your goods are.


Most big courier services like DHL and FedEx operate out of Hong Kong and can take care of every step of the process in just a couple of days. However, they come with a big price tag and often have strict weight limits on what they can send.


Airfreight is the fastest of the options but also comes with a premium price. Schedules are usually very tight and shipments tend to range between two to ten days. If you choose to use air freight with no help, you will have to handle documentation and customs clearance on your own or with a freight forwarder.

Check out our article on how to clear Hong Kong customs.

Shipping by sea out of Hong Kong is optimal for larger bulk consignments. However, you need to be ready for long shipping times. While still difficult to accomplish without a freight forwarder, it’s easier for clearing customs quickly as a lot of systems are set up for it.


Fourth-party logistics companies can give you a similar service to express couriers with a much lower price tag. For businesses, these are increasingly popular options because they aren’t tied down by internal fleets. Instead, they link you with air or ocean freight providers depending on your needs.

If you’re not sure which provider is best or want courier-level service along with a say in creating your business’ logistics yourself, come check out our website. We’ll talk you through it.


Unless you are an experienced logistics professional, you may find it difficult to prepare relevant documentation for shipments. There are up to 100 documents you might need when shipping from Hong Kong. However, many of them are for regulated goods. At very least, you need to know how to fill out the following:

  • Shipping Quotes
  • Commercial Invoices
  • Certificates of Origin
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Shipper Letters of Instruction
  • Booking Confirmations
  • Bills of Lading/Air Waybills
  • Packing Lists
  • Letters of Credit

On top of these forms, you need to check with the carriers yourself that they meet all guidelines. If any unforeseen problem occurs, you may end up paying extra charges.

If filling out these documents seems like too much of a hassle, you’re not alone. That’s why many companies either work with courier services or hire freight forwarders and 4PL providers. We wrote an article on exactly what freight forwarders can do you can read here.


Once you’ve decided on how you’ll ship and completed your paperwork, you’re ready to weigh anchor and get your goods where they need to go. If it’s your first time, you’ll ideally do a test run to see if everything makes it through on an acceptable schedule.

Remember, shipping from China to, for example, the US can take anywhere from 1-35 days. Express Couriers frequently can take 1-4 days. Airfreight takes about 6-12 days and ocean freight can take anywhere from 13-35 days.

Additionally, these are some rough prices you can expect for each category if shipping from Hong Kong to the US:

  • Airfreight: $10-12 or more per kilogram (bulk rate)
  • Express: Roughly $12-15 per kilogram (bulk rate)
  • Sea container: Between $8,000 and $20,000 per container

It’s also important to remember that most companies will give you a discounted per-kilogram rate the more cargo you ship. A low rate per kilogram may be reserved for cargo loads approaching 300 or more kilograms. If you are only shipping ten kilograms or less by air or sea you can end up paying in the ballpark of $100 per kilo.

Prices are constantly changing too. There are lots of moving pieces in logistics and one slight holdup in one area can drastically increase the prices in others. A company could quote you two completely different prices on any given week. It’s always best to ask around if you want to get a handle on the general range.


Today, you don’t need to be torn between a hefty premium for an express courier and spending hundreds of man-hours doing everything yourself. 

We made our 4PL business to help you take advantage of more cost-effective options for shipping that suit your business requirements without you doing all the legwork. At CBIP Logistics, we get you closer to the price these services actually cost without the giant markup couriers usually give you.

That’s the beauty of fourth-party logistics.

If your business needs a cost and time-effective shipping plan from Hong Kong, sign up for a free call with one of our experts and we’ll tell you exactly what we can help you do.

About Author

Chris Crutchley

Chris Crutchley is CBIP’s director of operations and finance. He has over a decade of corporate finance and operational expertise throughout the Asia Pacific.

In logistics, Chris strives to continuously innovate and challenge the industry’s norms in order to offer clients world-class service that emphasizes clear communication.


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