China Shipping Coronavirus Update [2021]


Written by the team at Guided Imports, the goal of this article is to keep our customers informed about the ongoing impact of coronavirus on shipments from China to the US, and how our team can help mitigate delays.


Table of Contents

Is China Shipping Shut Down?


No. Shipping is still operational for manufacturers importing products from China. At this time, all shipping modes are operational but the speed and cost have been impacted significantly, depending on the mode of transportation. 


Your best option is to work with a reputable China Freight Forwarder to minimize the impact on your business. 

Coronavirus and Shipments from China


As of August 2020, China still has not reopened its borders to international travelers. While certain groups of people are allowed into the country, they are still required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in designated hotels. Because of these restrictions, the number of commercial airlines flying into China is still significantly reduced. 

For a large portion of air shipments, commercial airlines rely on available space in the belly of their planes to subsidize the cost of travel. With significantly fewer planes entering and leaving China, the available space for air shipments is reduced. Demand is increasing, and due to the supply shortage, we are still witnessing volatile pricing for Air Freight from China

Fortunately, the pricing has already peaked, which had the cost per kilogram more than 500% higher than the pre-COVID-19 rates. While the cost to ship is stabilizing, we are still in a period of high cost and volatility.  

In regards to other shipping lanes, such as Sea Freight from China, the various international quarantine measures have impacted the cost and caused delays, however, as of today, it is not nearly as delayed and expensive as air freight. Shipping lines are routinely canceling voyages, which causes intensive shortages in capacity. Because of this, the ocean rates rise as more vessels get delayed. 

At this time, the international community has not placed restrictions on imports from China, so there are no delays with customs clearance. 

If you are Shipping from China to the USA, logistics capacity has been reduced, leading to higher prices and delays. Most terminals in the US are understaffed, causing congestion. These delays highly depend on location. States with strict quarantine orders could be a cause for slower importing and inland shipping due to the lack of workers when compared to other states willing to take more chances. 

The Impact of Coronavirus on Shipping to Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA warehouses are understaffed and overwhelmed, which is leading to significant delays when booking appointments to ship products to Amazon’s warehouses. 

For customer shipping to Amazon, we strongly recommend allotting more time than usual to account for delays from both shipping schedules and unloading appointments at Amazon warehouses. When encountering these delays, they are oftentimes unavoidable, with the only option being patience. 

We are informing all of our customers if your inventory is time sensitive, or you have concerns regarding running out of stock, your best course of action is to order significantly earlier than you normally would. By providing yourself with as much as 30-days of buffer room can help give you enough extra time for above-average delays.  

How to Avoid Coronavirus Impacting Your Shipping from China with Guided Imports

Communication and strength in your supply chain is key to avoiding significant impact caused by COVID related logistic issues. 

Work with a reputable China Freight Forwarder who can navigate the hurdles in both China and the US, and one that stays up to date with the changing political climate, and one who is knowledgable about the best way to ship from China, depending upon your unique product, load and timing requirements.

Here’s What Guided Imports is doing to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on shipments to the US

  • We are working closely with our customers and encouraging them to ship much earlier than they normally would, so they can be prepared, should they face any delays. 


  • Customers who traditionally ship via air are being guided through the process to ship by sea, without affecting their supply chain. For some, this is requiring some hand-holding as we work with them to ensure that their logistics process stays simple and seamless. For others, this means we are helping them to better identify when they should be placing reorders with the suppliers, and which shipping routes are optimal for their business. 


  • In certain situations, LCL shipments are not facing as many delays. Anytime a customer requests a quotation from us, we review all possible options. If we feel LCL might be a viable option, we discuss this possibility with the customer. The benefit of LCL at a time like this is that it allows us to maximize space in a container. While some customers choose not to take full advantage of the space in their container when shipping FCL, LCL allows us to maximize space and move cargo more efficiently. 


  • All medical equipment leaving China and entering the US are severely scrutinized. Our in-house quality compliance team is working day and night to help ensure the products our customers wish to ship are compliant and have all accurate documentation. We’ve saved multiple customers from shipping products that lacked necessary documentation, or whose documentation was falsified by their suppliers. Customers shipping personal protective equipment and other life-saving products are being given preferential care and priority, as we understand the urgency their cargo has. 


  • We value the relationships we have built with our customers, and we are working hard to ensure they have as much support as possible. We are doing our best to ensure our rates stay low, and we are working with our established customers to come up with solutions to ensure their business will survive through this horrible pandemic. 

Guided Imports is Here to Help


If you’re concerned about Coronavirus affecting your shipment, or simply want to get quote, the team at Guided Imports is here to help. The fastest way to hear back from our team is simply to get a shipping quote from China


It’s free, and you’ll hear back from us within 24 hours (weekends excluded).