Shipping from China to Spain

Chinese exports to Spain doubled in value during the last decade, reaching over US$ 47 billion in 2022. Spain currently is the twenty-sixth largest recipient of Chinese exports. The top imports from China to Spain are electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, furniture, lighting signs, prefabricated buildings, toys, games, sports requisites, articles of apparel, organic chemicals, and plastics. This article discusses shipping from China to Spain. 

Shipping from China to Spain – means of transport 

Ocean freight from China to Spain

Ocean/sea freight is the most popular option chosen by Spanish importers due to its advantages. The main reason is that ocean transport solutions allow shipping of smaller and larger shipments for a lower price. Sea freight is great, especially for shipping a large number of goods.

How long does sea shipping from China to Spain take?

The downside of sea shipping is that it takes longer than other shipping methods. Sea shipping from China to Spain takes around 25-35 days on average. Therefore, you should choose how to deliver your cargo according to your needs.

When transporting goods via ocean, you can choose either LCL (Less Container Load) or FCL (Full Container Load) shipping. Less Container Load means that the space in the container is shared between various senders. LCL is recommended for smaller shipments that do not need to be delivered quickly and are usually more cost-effective. The Full Container Load means that one container is booked entirely by one shipper. FCL is best when you need a lot of container space. 

Main cargo seaports in China: 

  • Port of Shanghai (CNSGH) is one of the most important Chinese gateways for foreign trade and the largest seaport in the world, accounting for around ¼ of all China’s cargo traffic. 
  • Ningbo-Zhoushan port (CNNGB) is the world’s third busiest container port, following Shanghai and Singapore. It is located on the coast of the East China Sea. 
  • Port of Shenzhen (CNSZX) is a collective name naming various ports on the coastline of Shenzhen, located in the south of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province. 
  • Port of Guangzhou (CNXSA) is the second most important economic and transport hub for the Pearl River Delta region. 
  • Port of Hong Kong (HKKCO) is China’s fifth-largest seaport, functioning in the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong. 
Seaports in China

Main cargo seaports in Spain: 

  • Port of Valencia (ESVLC) is Spain’s leading container port and the fifth-biggest seaport in Europe
  • Port of Algeciras (ESALG) is the second biggest port in Spain, located next to the Bay of Gibraltar. 
  • Port of Barcelona (ESBCN) is Spain’s third-biggest port, managing 63 million tons of cargo yearly. 
Seaports in Spain

Airfreight from China to Spain

Airfreight is, without a doubt, the fastest and safest way of shipping cargo. It is perfect for shipping fragile and high-value products. Its speed is crucial when transporting goods that need to be delivered quickly. The disadvantage is the relatively high price compared to other means of transport. Because of those factors, it is advisable to choose this way of shipping while transporting, for example, luxury items or time-sensitive food.

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How long does air freight from China to China take?

The time of delivery of the shipment by air from China to Spain is 3-8 working days. 

Main cargo airports in China: 

  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) is the main international airport serving Shanghai. It is the third-largest airport hub in the world and the second-largest in China. 
  • Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is the second-largest cargo airport in the world, serving half of Hong Kong’s external trade (note: HK is not a part of Mainland China). 
  • Beijing Capital International (PEK) is the third-largest cargo airport in China, located 32 km northeast of Beijing’s city center. 
Airports in China

Main cargo airports in Spain: 

  • Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) is the main international airport serving Madrid, Europe’s sixth-busiest airport.
  • Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN) is the second largest and busiest airport in Spain. It is located 15 km from the center of Barcelona. 
  • Zaragoza Airport (ZAZ) is one of Europe’s 20 top cargo airports, accounting for more than 60% of all e-commerce cargo in Spain. 
Airports in Spain

Rail freight from China to Spain 

Rail freight is a compromise between ocean freight and air freight. It is cheaper than air freight and faster than ocean freight in most cases. You can also choose LCL or FCL for rail freight. 

Example railway routes from China to Spain with transit times:

  • Ningbo-Madrid: 29 days 
  • Wuhan-Madrid: 39 days via Pervaya Rechka or the nearest alternative terminals 
  • Chongqing-Madrid: 27 days 
  • Shanghai-Barcelona: 28 days. 

There are more China-Europe links, but many of them lead to Germany. To move your goods from Germany to Spain, you would have to reload cargo onto another mode of transport. 

How much does it cost to ship from China to Spain? 

The shipping cost depends on several factors, such as the type of cargo, its size, method of transport, the route, and distance. To choose the best forwarder, get shipment quotes from multiple freight forwarders on our website

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