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Shipping from China to Russia: The Ultimate Guide
I know you want to import from China to Russia – that’s why you’re here.
And today, I am going to walk you through everything you need to know when importing from China to Russia.
From paperwork, prohibited goods, truck shipping, ocean freight, air freight, Russia customs to import duties, among other vital aspects.
You know what, by the end of this guide, you’ll be an expert in shipping from China to Russia.
Chapter 1: A Complete Guide to Russia Import Customs
You don’t have to get into problems with the Russian authorities when it comes to importing your cargo from China to Russia.
Some of these problems arise as a result of not having proper knowledge of the rules and regulations.
China to Russia
In this chapter, I will explain the rules and regulations that govern the importation of your cargo from China to Russia.
1.1. Russian Product Safety Standards and Regulations
As a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, all imports to Russia must have product certification standard.
It includes adhering to the technical regulations specified as per the product category.
Your product must have an official certification mark (EAC).
It must remain visible as long as the product is still in use.
The logo indicates that your cargo conforms to the technical regulations set by the EAEU.
Remember for you to obtain this logo, the regulatory authorities must assess and approve your product.
Quality Marks – Photo Credits: Customs Union Certificate
When you are importing food items, the labels on the product must indicate the following
- Name and type of product.
- Volume or weight of the product.
- Ingredients of the product.
- Nutritional value. It will include the calories and vitamins.
- The storage condition of the product.
- The address of the producer.
- The expiry date.
- Warning information about any side effects of consuming the product.
- The direction of preparing the product.
- Terms and conditions of use.
- If you are importing nonfood item, then the label on the product must indicate:
- Name of the product
- Country of origin and name of the manufacturer.
- Instruction on the usage
Something to remember is that this information should be in the Russian, Kazakh, and Belarussian languages.
1.2. Paperwork and Documents you need to Ship from China to Russia
For starters, you should have proper documents when importing.
This will prevent the custom from confiscating your cargo.
Before you start shipping, you need an import license.
You can obtain this from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Ministry of Industry and Trade Russia – Photo Credits: Expo Center
You’ll also complete a Russian Custom Freight Declaration for every product.
Some of the main documents include:
- Contract document
- Commercial invoice
- Packing list
- Transport documents
- Import license
Normally, you will submit all customs declarations electronically.
At times, you may need special licenses for some products.
For example, you may need a special license when importing pesticides, precious material, and some electronics, to mention a few.
Please contact your freight forwarder from China to Russia – they’ll guide you on this.
1.3. Russia Import Duty Rates & Taxes
Another aspect of your importation is the import duty and taxes levied on your goods.
Generally, customs charges levied in your goods will include import/export customs duties, taxes, and customs, processing fee.
However, if you are importing cargo such as a wheeled cargo, you will pay a utilization fee.
When you are importing any variety of food, you’ll pay an average customs duty of 7.8%.
This does not include agricultural products.
And you will pay a customs duty of between 15% and 20% if you are shipping these goods:
- Finished products
- Agricultural foodstuffs
Also, when it comes to importing samples, you’ll not pay any customs or import duty.
And that’s not all.
You can import samples for up to 2 years without paying customs charges.
But remember, this applies to samples of the same commodity.
Also, for shipment with a CIF value less than RUB 500, you will not pay duty or taxes.
You can learn more about this here:
- Complete Guide to Taxes in Russia
- Import Tariffs in Russia
- Russia Trade
- Russia Custom Tariff
- Import Tariffs in Russia
1.4. Prohibited and Restricted Imports to Russia
A perfect way to stay away from trouble with the customs authorities in Russia is to understand their prohibited and restricted goods.
This is to avoid any possibility of the Russian customs confiscating your cargo.
Restricted and prohibited items – Photo credits: eCommerce Weekly
Prohibited goods include:
- Skins of Greenland seals and their babies.
- Instruments used for harvesting biological water resources.
- Duty and civil weapons and its parts together with ammunition.
- Timber and timber products including cardboard and paper waste.
- Plant-protecting agents.
- Waste that is dangerous to the environment.
- Products that deplete the ozone layer or that contain ozone depletion materials
In case you import these goods, they will be confiscated and returned to the country of origin.
When it comes to restricted goods, you need further approval.
These goods include:
- Human tissues, organs, and human blood.
- Documents that contain cultural values, national archived funds, and original archived documents
- Any gadget that can be used to encode information.
- Any hardware that is designed to obtain information secretly.
- Medicinal and pharmaceutical agents.
- High-frequency electronic gadgets including those that are embedded on other goods.
- Any precious raw metals, waste, and scrap precious metals, concentrates of precious metals. Also, any raw materials that have contents of precious metals.
- Poisonous substances not being precursors of narcotic substances and psychotropic substances.
- Any endangered or rare wild species of animals and plants and their parts.
Now, with all this in mind, let’s move a step further to look at ways of shipping from China to Russia.
You can learn more here:
- Russia Prohibited and Restricted Imports
- Restricted and Prohibited Items for Import in Russia
- Russia Customs Service Information
Chapter 2: Ways of Shipping from China to Russia
The existing infrastructure, distance and China-Russia border, makes it possible to adopt many shipping methods or ways.
Depending on the type of cargo you’re importing from China to Russia, you can use:
- Railway shipping from China to Russia
- Truck shipping from China to Russia
- Ocean freight from China to Russia or,
- Air freight from China to Russia
Therefore, in this section, I am going to walk you through various ways of shipping from China to Russia.
And, let’s start with:
2.1. Railways Shipping from China to Russia
The proximity of Russia to China favors the shipping of your cargo via rail.
Unlike to ocean freight, this mode of shipment reduces your shipping time and cost.
Also, you have the advantage of shipping your cargo in bulk.
But before you start shipping, let me take you through the routes that rail freight uses from China to Russia.
Three main rail corridors link China to Russia.
The first one is the Harbin- Suifenhe railway which links the northeastern side of China and Russia.
This is at Harbin town in China and Suifenhe town in Russia.
The advantage of this railway is that it is double tracked and electrified.
It is 548 km in length.
Double tracked railway line
Another route is the Harbin- Manzhouli railway which connects the town of Harbin in China and Manzhouli in Russia.
It is 935 km in length and is double tracked.
Its electrification enables faster shipping of goods.
In case you want to ship oil or oil products, then this railway line should be your option.
This is because it passes through the oil fields of Daqing.
Major cities that you will find on this route include Dayan, Yakeshi, Zhalantun, Zhaodong, and Harbin.
However, they will introduce a new route later this year with the aim of cutting the transit time.
This is the Russia- Mongolia- China route.
This route starts in Beijing proceeding to the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia.
It passes through the town of Erenhot where there is a change of bogies before heading to Mongolia and finally to Russia.
China to Russia Railway Line
With rail transport, the transit time for your cargo is between 10 to 16 days.
It depends on which route you will pick.
2.2. Truck Shipping from China to Russia
The shorter transit days of truck shipping makes it an alternative shipping mode to rail shipping.
If you have a large volume of cargo and you would like to have it faster, then this might be a better option.
Let me take you through the routes that your cargo will pass through using this mode of shipment.
Truck shipping from China to Russia
This route starts at Tianjin in China passing through the towns of Zhangjiakou before heading to Mongolia at Erenhot.
In Mongolia, it passes through the cities of Choyr, UlaanBaatar before crossing to Russia at Darkhan.
In Russia, it passes through the towns of Kyakhta before terminating at Ulan de.
Your shipment will take 14 days to arrive in Russia from China using this route.
2.3. Ocean Freight from China to Russia
Another way of shipping your cargo from China to Russia is by using ocean freight.
The advantage you will have is that you can export a large volume of your shipment.
And that is not all.
Compared to other modes of shipment, ocean shipment is relatively cheap.
Let’s have a look at ocean freight in depth.
Major seaports in Russia
· Port of Vladivostok
The proximity of this seaport to China makes it easy for you to ship your cargo to Russia.
Equipped with modern cargo handling and bunkering facilities allows well handling of your cargo.
Port of Vladivostok
Another fact that makes this seaport stand out is its storage facilities.
You don’t have to look elsewhere to store your goods once they arrive from China.
And what’s more?
It is the only free port in Russia.
What this means, you can store or handle your goods under specific customs regulations.
Therefore, the Russian authorities will not subject your goods to customs duty and taxes,
Perhaps statistics that you may want to consider is its cargo handling capabilities.
In the first three quarters of 2016, the seaport recorded a freight turnover of 9.3 million tons.
· Port of Kaliningrad
In case you want to ship via this seaport, you will find it in the southeastern part of the Baltic Sea.
This location makes it closer to Europe.
Port of Kaliningrad
At this port, you have ample space to store your cargo since it has 44.8 square kilometers of dockside warehousing.
Also, it has an additional open storage area covering 238.2 square kilometers.
And you don’t have to worry about shipping perishable cargo.
It is because the port has a refrigerated warehouse covering an area of 5.7 square kilometers.
What of the cargo statistics of this port?
Well, this is an important consideration you would like to consider before choosing this port.
Since the start of January 2018 to May 2018, it has handled a total of 1259.2 tons of cargo.
One advantage you have with this port is that you can ship anything through it with a few exceptions.
But remember that this port does not handle 7th classes of danger.
· Port of Murmansk
Port Murmansk is the 2nd largest port that is located in the northwestern part of Russia.
A large volume of Russian imports passes through this port.
This makes it the largest seaport regarding cargo turnover.
Port of Murmansk
The advantage of this port is that it operates throughout the year.
It is despite the freezing ice temperature experienced in Russia during the winter.
This is due to its design.
Here, the existing infrastructure guarantees quick cargo handling since it has 52 gantry cranes with a capacity of up to 40 tons and one ship loader.
That is not all.
You don’t need to worry about the size of the vessel that the port can handle.
It can handle any vessel that calls at the port.
· Port of St. Petersburg
Port of St. Petersburg is located on the east part of the Gulf of Finland off the Baltic Sea.
It is the largest seaport in the northwestern part of Russia.
Port of St. Petersburg can handle 5 million twenty-foot containers annually.
Port of St. Petersburg
Another thing is that in 2017, it handled 6.9 million tons of cargo.
And by the way, it is connected to the mainland by rail commonly known as October Railway.
It makes shipping to Russia easier.
If you want to import minerals, metals, chemicals and scrap metals, then this is your seaport of choice.
It is because this port handles such cargoes.
· Port of Novorossiysk
It is in the Black Sea and one of the most popular ports in Russia.
If you are importing grains, general or dry bulk cargo, then this is the port of choice.
Another factor that you can consider is the storage facility at the port.
Its warehouse covers an area of 62 square kilometers.
Also, it has an additional refrigerated warehouse covering a space of 0.416 hectares.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry when it comes to shipping from China to the Port of Novorossiysk.
And, by the way, with its six terminals, your cargo will be handled quickly.
Now, with all these in mind, let’s have a quick overview of the shipping distance from China to Russia.
I will also walk you through the estimated time for each route.
Remember, the sea route and time estimate are critical when planning for your business.
Let’s have a look.
Shipping Routes from China to Russia
Below are some of the most popular shipping routes you can consider when importing from China to Russia.
Evergreen Shipping Company
· Jinan Port to Port of Vladivostok
With this route, your cargo will cover a distance of 1572nm in 7 days.
It is the shortest sea route between Russia and China.
Sea route from China to Russia – Photo Credits: Ports.com
Your shipment will start at the Jinan port in China proceeding to the Bo Hai Sea then, to the Yellow Sea.
It will head to the Sea of Japan before docking at the port of Vladivostok in Russia.
Other options you may include:
- Port of Shanghai, China to Port of Vladivostok, Russia, which takes about five days
- Mawei Port in China to Port of Vladivostok in Russia, which takes about seven days
- Port of Shanghai to Port of Vinino, taking about seven days
In short, you can use the Ports.com website to estimate sea routes from China to Russia.
As you go about this process, you must consider the distance from China to Russia depending on the sea route.
For instance, ocean freight from any port in China to St. Petersburg or Belomorsk Ports in Russia will take between 50 to 60 days.
In fact, these are some of the longest routes that may not be economically viable.
Remember, in such cases; you will pay more.
Again here, you should discuss this with your freight forwarder.
It will help you find a shorter and cost-effective sea route from China to Russia.
2.4. Air freight from China to Russia
Choosing an air freight for shipping your cargo from China to Russia is a guarantee that your goods will arrive faster.
You might consider selecting this mode of shipment if you want to import expensive items.
Also, if you want a sample of your product, this is the sure way of having it in a matter of hours.
The secret that you should know is that Russia has many airports that are of international standards.
They will help you connect to China and have your shipment quickly.
Some of these airports include:
· Sheremetyevo Airport
Sheremetyevo airport is located in the Molzhaninovslay district in the northern administrative region of Okung.
It is 29 km northwest of Moscow
With this airport, you don’t have to get worried about how your goods will reach you.
There is an infrastructure in place such as roads and railway line allowing you to connect to other regions.
You can also access the airport via the leningredskoyo highway.
Not forgetting the availability of a toll road that connects the airport to the Moscow Automobile ring road.
What about the amount of cargo the port has handled?
Well, in 2014 a total of 217,829 tons of shipload was processed at the port.
While in 2017, it managed 260,000 tons of cargo.
· Domodedovo Airport
It is 42 km southeast of Moscow.
East line group operates this port.
Best serves Moscow and its environs.
You don’t have to worry if you are shipping into the interior areas of Russia.
It is because other modes of transport serve the airport.
This includes a railway line that connects the airport to the pareletsky railway station.
It is also connected by road to the junction of Moscow ring road and Kashirskage highway through a 52km four-lane freeway.
It is one of the largest airports when it comes to cargo traffic and second busiest airport.
· Vnukovo Airport
Being the 3rd busiest airport in Russia, it is 28 km southwest of Moscow.
The airport is as an alternate airport during the fog season.
It is due to its location and architectural design.
You can use this airport if you are shipping to Moscow or its environs.
You don’t have to worry if your shipment is destined for far off places.
This is because it is connected by rail to kryersky rail terminal.
Current renovation and expansion will enable it to serve its customers better since at the moment it is served by one terminal.
2.5. Sea-rail Shipping from China to Russia
The main aim of sea-rail shipping from China to Russia is to cut on importation costs.
Now, how does it work?
First, you can ship the cargo to Yingkou in China.
Then arrange for rail freight from Yingkou to Manchuria and any inland city in Russia through Zabaikalsk.
Two, ship goods to Vostochny or St. Petersburg port, then use rail freight to transport cargo to inland cities.
Of course, this is possible due to the existing transport system in Russia.
In most cases, you should use sea-rail shipping from China to Russia for container or cargo less than 1500kg.
2.6 Cost of Shipping from China to Russia
The cost of shipping from China to Russia depends on many factors such as:
- Mode of shipping; you can choose air, sea, road or train
- Type of cargo; size and whether the cargo requires special handling or not
Here, I am not going to discuss these factors again.
Already, this guide covers how they affect the cost of shipping from China to Russia.
In this section, the main focus will be on the approximate cost of shipping under various categories.
Let’s have a quick look at the cost of shipping from China to Russia:
i. Air freight from China to Russia – rates vary between $2.5 and $5 per kg.
ii. Sea freight from China to Russia – rates range from $1 to $18 per cubic meter
iii. Drop shipping from China to Russia – rates range from $1 to $5 per kilogram
iv. Door to door container shipping from China to Russia – rates are between $10 and $30 per short ton.
v. Railway shipping from China to Russia – rates vary from $1 to $5 per kilogram
Furthermore, you can estimate the cost of shipping from China to Russia using various free online calculators.
You can access the freight calculator fromWorld Freight Rates.
Please note: Estimations here depend on average rates other players in the industry charge.
To get an accurate shipping cost from China to Russia, contact us here at Panda.
Chapter 3: Modes of Shipping from China to Russia
Do you want to ship your imports from China to Russia?
Here are some of the most popular modes of shipping.
· Door to door shipping from China to Russia
With door to door shipping, you’ll wait for the cargo or goods at your doorstep.
The freight forwarder will handle everything on your behalf.
It is more reliable and convenient.
Door to door shipping FedEx
The forwarder will:
i. Arrange for pickup of your cargo from your supplier
ii. Transport them to the port
iii. Clear the goods on your behalf
iv. Load them on a carrier for shipment
v. Do customs clearance at the port of destination
vi. Arrange for transporting the cargo to your premises
Typically, door to door shipping from China to Russia involves more than one mode of transport.
This maybe ocean and rail or road and rail and air or road.
However, I don’t recommend this mode of shipping for newbies.
You must have a supplier you can trust first.
This will give you a piece of mind.
Also, you need a freight forwarder you can trust.
A door to door shipping from China to Russia gives you the opportunity to focus on your business growth.
· Out of Gauge Shipping from China to Russia
When it comes to out of gauge shipping, you don’t have to worry about the size or shape of your cargo.
This service allows you to ship goods which cannot fit in a container.
OOG Cargo – Photo Credits: FWD Directory
You have several options of out if gauge shipment to choose from depending on the nature of your cargo.
Normally, you can use flat rack containers to top or sideload the OOG cargos such as huge pipes, heavy machinery, fully assembled manufacturing plan parts and boat.
Moreover, you can use the platform containers to ship heavy cargo and out of gauge cargo to Russia. Such loads may weigh 43 tons for a 40ft platform.
Finally, we have the open top containers.
You can use to ship cargo that exceeds the height of a standard shipping container.
· LCL Shipping from China to Russia
At times the quantity of what you are shipping is too small that you see no economic sense in exporting a whole container.
During such times, the best option is the Less that Cargo Loading.
Here, you will consolidate your cargo with other importers from Russia to fill a container.
Of course, all goods should be heading to the same destination in Russia.
It is easier that way.
Since you will only book for space for your cargo, you will find this mode of shipping relatively cheaper as compared to the FCL.
However, with LCL shipping, it takes time for the cargo to reach its destination in Russia.
The consolidation may take a long time.
At times, you may lose your cargo thou; this is not common.
Lastly, your cargo may be prone to damage.
· FCL Shipping from China to Russia
If you are looking for privacy and security of your shipload, then you have the option of a full container load shipping.
It is where you book a whole container exclusively for your shipload.
With this mode of shipping, your freight forwarder will deliver a container at your premises depending on the cargo stuffing option that you will choose.
These options include live loading where your freight forwarder will deliver a container at your premise.
You will then have a maximum of 3 hours to load your cargo and secure it.
Another option is to drop and pack where your forwarder will drop a container at your premise.
You then have up to a week to load your cargo.
After loading and securing the cargo, they will arrange for shipping to the port of destination.
Unlike the LCL, FCL cargo will reach the port of destination faster.
FCL is convenient when shipping bulk cargo.
Furthermore, you can also choose the mode of delivery such as:
- Door to door delivery
- Door to port delivery
- Port to port delivery
- Port to door delivery
In a nutshell, depending on the type of cargo, your freight forwarder will arrange a convenient and reliable mode of shipping.
Chapter 4: FAQs on Shipping from China to Russia
Do you have questions about the process of shipping from China to Russia?
Don’t go away.
China to Russia
In this section, I have a series of questions that will address most of your concerns.
Just read through to learn more about shipping from China to Russia.
Let’s get started.
1. What are some of the top imports from China to Russia?
Most Russian imports come from China.
However, machinery and equipment, industrial and consumer goods, and clothing and footwear make it to the top of Russia imports from China.
2. Will I pay taxes in China for my imports?
Technically, you don’t have to pay taxes when importing from China.
It is due to the policy of zero-rated exports.
So, your main concern should be the shipping costs and duties/taxes you’ll pay to the Russian authorities.
3. What is the best time to import from China to Russia?
The best time to export your cargo from China will be during the off-peak season.
This is usually from March to July and November to October.
4. What are the advantages of exporting during the off-peak season?
Well, for starters during the off-peak season, the demand for cargo ships is not that high.
It implies that you will ship at a relatively cheaper cost.
Also, you will have enough space for your cargo.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry about mixing your cargo with many importers from China to Russia.
5. Why do I need cargo insurance?
Well, a lot of factors come into play when you are importing from China that can damage your cargo.
For instance, when shipping your cargo, it might get damaged on board the carrier or get lost to piracy.
With cargo insurance, guards your cargo against these risks.
Therefore, should any of these factors happen to your cargo; you can file for claims with the insurance provided.
The best part, you continue with your business without having to incur additional resources.
6. Which shipping method can you recommend for my cargo?
It depends on so many factors such as the size of your cargo, urgency and your shipping resources.
Talk to your freight forwarder who will help you to choose any of the following:
- Air freight from China to Russia
- Ocean freight from China to Russia
- Truck shipping from China to Russia
- Rail freight from China to Russia
7. Why do I need a customs broker?
They will make shipping from China to Russia a seamless process by arranging with customs authorities to clear your cargo at the entry point.
Also, they handle the customs tariffs procedures and pay taxes on your behalf.
8. How long will it take for my cargo to arrive in Russia from China?
Transit time for your cargo will depend on the mode of shipping from China to Russia.
For example, air freight will only take a few hours.
On the other hand, ocean freight, rail freight, and the truck will take several days.
9. What happens if I am shipping to interior parts of Russia?
You don’t have to worry if you are shipping to the interior parts of Russia.
There exist other modes of shipping that will facilitate the transportation of your cargo.
Russia has a good railway and road network.
10. Do USA trade sanctions on China affect importing from China to Russia?
No. This is because the trade relationship between China and Russia does not depend on the USA.
In fact, even the medium of trade exchange is not in dollars, but the countries own currencies.
It makes trade relation between these two countries independent of what happens within the individual nations.
As you can see from this guide, there are many ways of shipping from China to Russia.
Whether you want it by air, ocean, road or rail – there is that option.
So, to save on both money and time, you must evaluate your cargo, know custom procedures and choose a reliable shipping mechanism.
The good news:
You don’t have to do all that – Panda is here to make shipping from China to Russia simple and easy.
Talk to us today, and will help you boost your import business in Russia!