How Much Does Import from China to Canada Cost

The costs vary depending on season, cargo weight, freight type, destination, port fees, type of products, and a million other factors that your freight agent can help you calculate. Overall, one 40-ft container can cost $2500 during peak season, plus 5% GST tax on your items, plus handling fees of around $150. As a result, you can expect anything around $3000-4000 for an average import to Canada.

Place of origin and destination also should be considered, as importing from Shenzhen to Toronto is generally cheaper than importing from Shanghai to Vancouver.

How Much Does Import from China to Canada Cost
How Long Does Import from China to Canada Take

How Long Does Import from China to Canada Take

You should expect 2-3 months for successful import from China to Canada to take. Firstly, it can take, on average, a month to manufacture your goods in China, and another month for shipment. Air freight would take 4-13 days, while sea freight to Canada would take 20-50 days.

As mentioned, the average manufacturing process takes 30-60 days. Proper sample creating, ODM modeling, and testing takes time. Similarly, loading, customs clearance, pre-shipment procedures also should be taken into consideration. It is safe to say, however, that in 3-4 months anyone can become a great importer in Canada with the help of professional freight agents.

How to Import Goods from China to Canada

Importing from China to Canada is a process that involves many complex steps—from choosing the right supplier to arranging freight to handling customs. Here, we will share with you some tips and tricks on how to start importing from China to Canada.

How to Import Goods from China to Canada
Shipping Routes

Shipping Routes

To import goods from China to Canada, there are numerous shipping options. Based on factors including location, clearance, transit time, ease of customs, and port volume, your agent or freight provider will also advise you on what will work best for you.

Two main shipping routes connect China with Canada: the Pacific and the Atlantic. For the Pacific route, the ship departs from any seaport in the East of China to link to the West of Canada, such as Vancouver. For the Atlantic route, the ship will travel across the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to reach Canada’s East Coast, such as Halifax.

Customs Clearance in Canada

Customs clearance in Canada requires an array of documentation to go smoothly. When importing from China, you need to present a basic collection of paperwork to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). These documents include:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Cargo Control Document

A good freight forwarder in China will help you collect all these documents.

Customs Clearance in Canada
Customs Taxes for Import in Canada

Customs Taxes for Import in Canada

Importers need to pay customs duty and GST when shipping from China to Canada. Your customs duty rate depends on your product. Below are some rates for common products:

Clothing 17%
Furniture 0-9.5%
Auto parts 0-8%

You can also check the official rates in Canada. Let’s go through this using some variables. You will need to apply the custom rate (a) to the value of your imported items (b), and that is your customs duty (a*b). Then, add your customs duty to your goods’ value and apply the 5% GST. Finally, add the resulting GST value and your resulting customs duty; in other words, (a*b) + (5% * (b + a*b)).

Note that there could also be VAT, consumption taxes, MFN tax rates, and provincial tax rates that differ across provinces and territories.

Shipping from China to Canada

After you have chosen your supplier, and you supply chain has begun its work, it’s time to think about shipping. Freight forwarders will offer you several ways of shipping your items from China to Canada, each with its own pros and cons.

Bacolod can help you arrange the perfect freight option even in the most challenging situations, including transshipment and intermodal freight. Shipping from China to Canada would take a while due to distance, but the routes are all well-serviced, so any freight method will work.

Shipping from China to Canada
Multimodal and Intermodal Shipping from China to Canada

Multimodal and Intermodal Shipping from China to Canada

Both types of freight combine several modes of shipping. Multimodal freight is when one carrier is hired, so there is one contract for all methods of shipment, including transshipment. Intermodal freight is when several contracts are used for each mode of freight. While multimodal may seem easier, intermodal shipping may be cheaper sometimes. When choosing the right way to import shipment from China to Canada, consult your agent.

Additional Regulations for Import from China to Canada

Do not forget that Canada requires the China Compulsory Certification for items manufactured in China. This is a mark signifying safety for import on product listed in the CCC product catalogue. Moreover, the CBSA imposes certain labelling requirements on some goods, and some products are further regulated under the Special Import Measures Act.

Additional Regulations for Import from China to Canada
FCL Shipping to Canada

If you have a large cargo that you are looking to import from China to Canada, then FCL shipping may be for you. You will be able to book an entire container for your items only. This means that your goods will not be intermixed, and there is a lesser chance of loss.

LCL Shipping to Canada

If you have less than 15CBM is cargo, then LCL is for you. LCL is when several distributors share one container to lower shipping costs. You will only pay per CBM. When shipping LCL from China to Canada, transit can take longer than FCL due to consolidation and schedule coordination.

Common Import Destinations in Canada

The areas in Canada that commonly receive imports from China via sea freight and air freight include:

  • Vancouver
  • Prince Rupert
  • Halifax
  • Toronto
  • St. John
  • Montreal
Common Export Locations in China

The areas with ports and airport best for import from China to Canada are listed below:

  • Shanghai
  • Guangzhou
  • Shenzhen
  • Ningbo
  • Xiamen
  • Qingdao

Additional Services for Importing from China to Canada

Pickup and Delivery

Pick-up means that your goods will be picked up from your supplier’s location in China. Delivery implies final-mile trucking and road freight to your destination in Canada.


Having a place to store your goods before import to Canada is very useful. There, your goods can be left until shipping date, as well as processed. Warehousing includes repackaging, labelling, and much more.

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance in Canada is a key step of the importing process. We recommend that you hire a customs professional to ensure that all paperwork, declarations, and taxes are handled properly.

Provide Container Loading Supervision

Hiring an agent to supervise the loading and unloading processes will ensure that your goods are handled properly. The agent will assess the condition of the container, arrange tracking, optimize space usage, and enforce loading standards to prevent damage during shipment.

Air Freight

Air freight from China to Canada is the fastest freight option, but it is also the most expensive one. If you have 100-300kg of cargo, air freight rates will be affordable, but anything outside this range—and the rates will get expensive. Air freight is ideal for time-sensitive deliveries and high-value items.

Sea Freight

Sea freight from China to Canada is the most affordable and cost-effective mode of transit for cargo. However, sea shipping does take a while to arrive because of port congestion and ocean liners moving slowly to save fuel. With sea freight, it is easy to import large quantities of goods to Canada, as well as OOG and hazardous goods.

Rail Freight

Rail freight from China to Canada can be combined with either air freight or sea freight. Rail freight is faster than sea travel and cheaper than air shipping. It can be used to move your cargo either across China (e.g. from supplier to port) or across Canada (from port to your business).

Door-to-Door Freight

Door-to-door shipping from China to Canada is a great option for start-up businesses or very busy importers. Your freight agent will deal with everything, including pick-up and delivery, loading, warehousing, and customs. In other words, this is an all-inclusive service. Moreover, this freight implies intermodal and multimodal freight to Canada, which is when several modes of shipping are combined.

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