Vietnam is one of the dynamically developing Southeast Asian countries and an important business partner for many western countries. It may be noted that Vietnam is gradually taking over some of the orders for products previously imported from China. Vietnam’s main exports to Europe and America are electronic products, electric machinery and equipment, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood, industrial machinery, and furniture. Thanks to the signing of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in 2019, most of the export duties in the commercial exchange between Vietnam and countries of the European Union will be abolished. Therefore, importing goods from Vietnam is going to become even more profitable. In this article, we describe the possibilities of shipping from Vietnam to Europe and the USA.
Shipping from Vietnam to Europe and the USA: modes of transport
What type of transportation is going to be the most suitable for importing goods from distant Vietnam? Here is a short comparison:
- Maritime transport
Sea freight is the most popular choice when it comes to shipping heavy loads from such distant countries. You can search for direct connections between Vietnam and your country or ship indirectly through one of Europe’s biggest harbors. Within the European Union, Rotterdam and Antwerp are the busiest port areas. Transit time from Vietnam to Europe is 27-33 days. It takes around 24 days for a cargo ship from Vietnam to get to the West Coast of the USA and around 35-40 days to get to the East Coast.
- Air transport
Another option is air freight. It is the fastest but at the same time the most expensive variant. Transit time from Vietnam to both Europe and the US is 7 to 8 days for classic air freight or 3-5 days for express air freight. Many major carriers operate flights from Vietnam. The leading Vietnamese international airports are Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Noi Bai International Airport, and Da Nang International Airport. However, if you ship to a smaller country in Europe, it might be necessary to trans-ship in one of Europe’s biggest airports, e.g. in Frankfurt, Paris, or Amsterdam.
- Rail transport
As regards rail freight, it is a relatively good alternative, although the whole logistical process might be more complicated. So far, there is no direct cargo rail service between Vietnam and Europe. In 2019, there was a launching of the first railway corridor along the Vietnam – China – Kazakhstan – Europe route, conducted by Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ). However, the company does not seem to have succeeded to establish a regular service.
One interesting solution is to first transport the cargo to China, for example to Chongqing, from which numerous direct cargo trains start their route to Europe. Some of the leading logistics companies offer such a service. The whole process can be completed in around 19 days.
Seaports in Vietnam
There are two major Vietnamese seaports connected with Europe and the USA:
- Saigon Port in Ho Chi Minh City – major port complex in Vietnam, located in the southern part of the country. It processes millions of TEUs of containers every year. The port’s name derives from the previous name of the city where it is located. Nearly 90% of the units operated by Saigon Port are cargo vessels. The main destinations connected with this port are Singapore, the USA, and Denmark.
- Hai Phong Port – a port complex that serves northern Vietnam. It is located in the city of Haiphong, which is an important industrial center with textile and machinery industries, among others. Cargo vessels account for a slightly smaller share of the units operated in this port (70%). Important destinations for Hai Phong Port are for example Panama and Singapore.
In addition to the harbors mentioned above, it is possible to load at Da Nang Port – the largest seaport of central Vietnam, located at the mouth of the Han River. Above all, it connects Vietnam with Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. However, it also operates long-distance vessels.
Sea freight from Vietnam to Europe and the USA
The major European seaports connected with Vietnam are Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Amsterdam, and Algeciras. There are also smaller national ports operating vessels from Vietnam in many countries of the European Union. One good solution for importers from smaller European countries might be shipping by sea to one of the biggest ports and then transporting the cargo overland to the country of destination.
As regards the United States, you can easily ship to seaports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Seattle, Oakland, and Houston.
Shipping from Vietnam to Europe and the USA: shipment quotation
Taking an overview of rates for different modes of transport might help decide which carrier to choose. You can get a quote for both sea and air freight on the ShipHub website. In order to receive an offer, you need to fill in the form:
Duty on products shipped from Vietnam to Europe
An integral element of all imports, that is – the duty, will soon be a minor problem when importing goods from Vietnam to the European Union. At the moment, the standard tariff is in effect. You can search it in the TARIC system. For instance:
- 0% for most electronics (e.g. headphones and earphones – TARIC code 8518300090)
- from 0% up to approx. 3% for furniture (e.g. wooden furniture for bedroom – code 9403500000)
- around 12% for apparel (e.g. boys’ and men’s cotton shirts – code 6105100000).
The good news is that a large part of goods imported from Vietnam to the EU will soon be subject to preferential tariffs. It will be enabled by the implementation of the EVFTA (European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement). The agreement was signed in June 2019 and has already been ratified by both parties. It will come into force on August 1st, 2020.
The coming into effect of this economic and trade agreement will mean the abolition of 65% of duties on goods exported from EU to Vietnam and 71% duties on imports from Vietnam to member countries. The remaining duties are to be gradually phased out over the next years. Right after the agreement comes into force, duties on products such as machinery and equipment, textiles, and chemicals will be abolished. The target is to liberalize 99% of trade between the European Union and Vietnam, which is promising in terms of future dynamic cooperation between the two parties.
Duty on products shipped from Vietnam to the United States
Payment of customs duty is an obligation that concerns every importer buying products from Vietnam. Harmonized Tariff Schedule System provided by the United States International Trade Commission can help you find out about the current rates. Below, we present a shortlist of exemplary products and tariff rates:
- coffee, not roasted – HTS code 0901.11.00 – 0%
- microphones – code 8518.10 – 0%
- women’s or girls’ suits, knitted or crocheted of cotton – code 6104.19.60 – 9,4%.
It is worth noticing that duty on many products is 0%. There are numerous (over 430) categories in the system and tariffs may vary depending on a range of criteria. Therefore, we encourage you to search for specific product categories in the system.