Shipping from Vietnam to the US and customs clearance | ShipHub

Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, second after China on the entire continent. Thanks to the country’s efforts, advantageous location with a long coastline and proximity to China, as well as a large workforce, Vietnam has managed to become one of the best places for business and trade. Read about the methods of shipping from Vietnam to the US.

Import from Vietnam

Vietnam is the US’s 13th largest trade partner. The US mainly imports electrical machinery, knit and woven apparel, footwear, furniture, and bedding from Vietnam. In 2019, total trade between the countries was worth 81 billion USD.

Shipping from Vietnam to the US

Because there is no direct land connection to the US, the best ways of shipping from Vietnam are by the sea and by air.

There are multiple Vietnam shipping companies that transport goods for prices similar to Chinese carriers. Among the most prominent are Royal Cargo, APS Logistics, T&M Forwarding, DB Schenker, and Unifreight Global. Most of them offer both air and sea shipping and other services such as warehousing, inland transportation, or customs clearance service.

Sea freight

Sea freight is the most frequently chosen method of transport between Vietnam and the US. It is recommended if the shipment is large and you are not pressed for time. As the transit time is longer, sea freight rates are lower in comparison with airfreight.

When delivering cargo by sea, you’ll have to choose between FCL and LCL transport. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what these abbreviations stand for. FCL (Full Container Load) is usually used for goods of larger size. In this case, one sender/recipient uses the total capacity of a container. On the other hand, LCL (Less Container Load) stands for sharing one container with other importers/exporters. In other words, LCL is general cargo.

Top loading ports in Vietnam:

  • Hai Phong – one of the biggest ports in Northern Vietnam, the hub for electronics, vehicles, and precision machinery
  • Da Nang – located in Central Vietnam; most cargo from this port is shipped to Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia
  • Ho Chi Minh – Vietnam’s economic center, home to national universities and the country’s largest international airport
  • Vung Tau
  • Quy Nhon.

Seaports in Vietnam

Main cargo seaports in the US

Port of:

  • Los Angeles
  • Long Beach
  • Newark
  • Tacoma
  • Oakland

Seaports in the US

Transit time by the sea

Here is how much sea freight typically takes between major US and Vietnam ports; the exact days depend on whether you chose FCL or LCL shipping:

  • Hai Phong to Los Angeles – 20 days
  • Hai Phong to Long Beach – 20-22 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles – 21-30 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Long Beach – 24 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Seattle – 36 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Charleston – 39 days
  • Da Nang to Philadelphia – 36 days
  • Hai Phong to Seattle – 31 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Baltimore – 36 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Houston – 37 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Oakland – 23 days

Shipping from Vietnam to the US – airfreight

Sending goods by air is for sure the fastest way of shipping, but also the most expensive. It is recommended when the cargo is less than 2 CBM and does not exceed 200 kg. It is recommended to ship by air food, pharmaceuticals, flowers, and valuable goods.

When choosing air freight, you have two options: economic and express. The economic one is for non-dangerous, lightweight, and non-temperature-controlled items. It takes 3-8 business days for port-to-port delivery and 8-16 for door-to-door.

Express, or fast delivery, enables shipping any cargo in a short time. Therefore, it takes about three business days for the shipment to be delivered. It also comes with higher freight rates.

Main cargo airports in Vietnam

  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)
  • Noi Bai International Airport (HAN)

Vietnam airports

Main cargo airports in the US

  • Memphis International Airport (MEM)
  • Louisville International Airport (SDF)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

US airports

Here are some examples of how long airfreight takes between Vietnam and US airports:

  • Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles – 2 days
  • Ho Chi Minh City to New York JFK – 3 days
  • Hanoi to Chicago O’Hare or Dallas/Fort Worth – 6 days
  • Hanoi to New York JFK or Los Angeles – 5 days

Shipping cost from Vietnam to the US

Before deciding on which way of transport you’ll use, compare at least a few offers from various forwarders. You can find freight operators on ShipHub. Visit the website, and fill in the form on the home page. Available forwarders will send you their offers. This way, you’ll receive an in-depth quote on your international shipment. Please note that the shipping cost will vary depending on the cargo’s type and properties, the transport method, and the chosen freight operator.

To compare the prices of sea and airfreight, as well as other factors like the cargo’s size and weight, you can send a form on and receive an individual valuation. Here are examples of filled forms:

Shipping from Vietnam to the US free quote
Shipping from Vietnam free quote

Customs clearance of Vietnamese products

Before bringing in Vietnamese goods, you will need to determine their HS code. You can find what code fits your product using the official website.

The United States has a policy called the Generalized System of Preference (GSP), which reduces or entirely removes customs tariffs for products made in developing countries. Some Vietnamese goods fall under that policy. To benefit from it, you need to provide the Certificate of Origin for all products, as it is the only document that proves they were actually made in Vietnam.

You also need some other documents to go through customs without problems; these are the Bill of Lading, or Air Waybill, depending on whether you ship by sea or air, the original invoice and the packing list.

Shipping from Vietnam to the US – summary

Vietnam is an all-around fantastic place for trade; it is already highly beneficial, and thanks to the country’s fast development, it also has an encouraging prognosis for the future. To start shipping products from Vietnam to the US, it is recommended you make yourself acquainted with the most frequently used trade routes and ports, as well as essential documents.

Read our other guides on shipping to the US:

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