In recent years, the popularity of South Korean products in the United States grew substantially, reaching USD 77 billion in 2019 and only slightly slowing down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. If you are interested in shipping from South Korea to the US, you will find all the needed information below.
How to ship from South Korea to the US?
There are two ways of transporting goods from Korea to the United States–by sea and by air. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice should be made taking the type of cargo and budget into account.
Sea shipping from South Korea to the US
Ocean shipping is often chosen as the preferred method of shipping. It is significantly cheaper and suitable for larger shipments. Its main drawback is the time needed to ship the cargo, taking from two weeks to two months.
If you would like to choose sea freight, there are two ways of shipping the cargo: LCL (Less Than Container Load) and FCL (Full Container Load) shipping. LCL is recommended for smaller shipments, as you have to share the container with others. FCL means your cargo will be shipped in a separate container. These two options often vary in transit time. Port-to-port LCL shipping will take 15 to 25 days and door-to-door – 28 to 33. FCL shipping takes 16 to 40 days port-to-port and 50-54 door-to-door.
Seaports in South Korea
Because South Korea is located on a peninsula, it has a wide array of seaports. Your forwarder or supplier might recommend which is the best fit for your cargo based on key factors such as the factory’s location or shipping time. Some of the largest ports are in Busan, Incheon, Donghae, Gunsan, and Gwangyang.
Airfreight from South Korea to the US
Airfreight is always the more expensive option, but it might be worth the price depending on your cargo and transit time expectations. It is significantly faster than sea freight, only taking a couple of days, making it the only option for fragile, perishable, or temperature-controlled goods. Airfreight is also ideal for high-value merchandise, as the level of safety is usually higher in airports than in seaports.
Cargo airport in South Korea
South Korea is home to the fifth busiest cargo airport in the world, only losing to those in China and the US. Incheon International Airport is located near Seoul and handled almost three million tons of cargo in 2019.
Airfreight shipment usually takes 2 to 8 days port-to-port and 6 to 12 days door-to-door; however, there is also the option of express shipping–door-to-door shipping that takes 1 to 4 days.
Customs clearance in import from South Korea to the US
Many importers decide to outsource the customs process to the forwarder, and many forwarding companies have the option in their offer. If you choose to do so, you will still be asked to prepare a set of documents for the goods to be cleared. These usually are:
- commercial invoice
- certificate of origin
- bill of lading/air waybill
- packing list
- letter of credit.
Customs duties need to be covered before the goods are released to the country–these can be quite high, so it is essential to research them early. The best way to do so is to find the products’ respected HS code which can be found on the official US Harmonized Tariff website. The good news is that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force on the 15th of March in 2012, which eliminated tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services
How much does shipping from South Korea to the US cost?
The shipping price always varies on many factors, such as the chosen method of transport, the size and weight of cargo, and whether it requires additional safety measures, such as a refrigerated container. To get a quote, fill in a form on ShipHub and receive a personalized valuation for your order. Here are some examples of filled forms:
Shipping from South Korea to the US has never been easier. Both countries are very accessible through multiple airports and seaports, and both are recognized participants of world trade. If you are interested in shipping products from South Korea to the United States, make sure to prepare accordingly so you know what to expect in terms of pricing and transit time. It will help minimalize the stress related to the transaction.
Read our other guides on shipping to the US:
- Shipping from India to the US
- Shipping from Turkey to the US
- Shipping from France to the US
- Shipping from China to the US
- Shipping from Australia to the US
- Shipping from Japan to the US
- Shipping from Vietnam to the US