Categories: shipping-routesBy Published On: July 30, 20220 CommentsViews: 248

by Angela


By Angela


Do you want to know more about prices for container shipments to Germany? Are you aware of specific shipment documents you might need to get your freight moving? Here you’ll find all the answers related to your questions around container shipments to Germany.

How is my cargo getting from the port to door or to the port?

In Germany you have 3 common modes of transportation: Rail-Road, Truck and Barge-Road.
The use of truck is common for short-distances within 300kms distance and urgently required cargo. The transit-time from Port to Door is between 24-48hrs.

The German ports also have an extensive access to the rail network. Especially from Bremerhaven and Hamburg you have a variety of rail departures to several inland container yards where the transfer for the last-mile by truck takes place. Rail-road saves CO2 and logistics costs. The transit time by rail-road is between 48hrs and 72hrs. A large portion of overall container volumes in Germany are transported by rail.

Barge-Road is frequently used when containers are being shipped through Rotterdam and Antwerp due to its access to the Rhine-River. Barges can carry up to 500TEU per vessel and are commonly used when door deliveries in short distances to the Rhine-Main-River Area need to take place. In case of low water, the barges cannot carry as many containers and might have longer transit times. The Transit Time can take between 5 to 8 days.

What is the estimated transit time for shipping a container to Germany?

Transit times can vary depending on the vessel schedule, whether containers need to be connected to other vessels on their journey and how many calling ports there are on the route.

For example, you can ship a container from China to Germany in 32 days, from a main port like Shanghai, but an outlying port, like Nanjing, will normally need to move on a feeder or connecting vessel to a Chinese main port first. It will then be loaded on to an international (Mother) vessel bound for Germany. In these instances, it will take longer.

There are also instances where the (Mother) vessel is destined for a European Main Port like Rotterdam or Antwerp and not Germany. When this happens, the container is removed from the (Mother) vessel and loaded onto a feeder vessel for the last leg of the journey to Germany.

You will see if your shipment or tradeline is direct or a combination via a transshipment port when you are booking with us.

Do I need insurance to ship from China to Germany?

Insurance is not necessarily required to ship to Germany, but you should review whether this is something you should consider based on the Incoterms® you have agreed with your supplier.

Depending on the Incoterms® chosen, the risk associated with your purchase moves at a specific point in the shipping process. For example, if you chose to work with DAP (Delivered at Place) terms then the Seller bears all Risk until the Buyer receives the goods at their final destination, while if you chose FOB (Free On Board) terms the Risk moves to the Buyer at the point it loads on the vessel at Origin.

You should always ensure you read the fine print to ensure insurance coverage meets your needs, with policies varying on commodities, routes and value. Only specific policies cover delays, while most do not. Other policies cover you only for General Average Contribution, which are the costs associated with loss or damage to a ship or its cargo, with costs shared between the owners of the ship and owners of the cargo on board.

As we are supercharged by industry leader Maersk, this means that other liability regulations are involved compared to a transport with a forwarding agency.

If you’re shipping your cargo across the sea, you want to know that you won’t lose money if your cargo is damaged or lost. This is why Twill offers Value Protect, giving you peace of mind that your cargo is protected during the transportation with us.

How is Customs Clearance handled in Germany?

In Germany, the customs process is different between export and import. But for both scenarios, you need an “EORI” number. If you don’t have an EORI registration number, you can get one via the German Zoll (the German customs authorities).

As an importer, you’re obliged to tell the customs authorities which kind of goods you want to import in the territory of the “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” and therefore in the European Union. Mostly, you have to pay the Import VAT which is 19% of the value of goods as well as the duty. The duty rate depends on the country of origin as well as on the article itself. If you’ve got a deferral account at the German customs, we at Twill will need to know that.

Within Germany, it is possible to arrange bonded transportation, meaning we´ll issue a so-called “Transit” document which will be cleared at a customs office near the final delivery or maybe you want to clear the customs on your own. We can also do the customs clearance at the port of discharge.

As an exporter, you’re obliged to tell the customs authorities which kind of goods you want to export outside of the territory of the “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” and therefore of the European Union. This process is separated into two steps because two different customs offices are involved.

  1. At first, you have to declare your export and the goods at the responsible inland customs office nearby the loading address (export customs office). As a result, you’ll receive a document (Ausfuhrbegleitdokument) with a Movement Reference Number (MRN) that you can upload per shipment in your Twill dashboard.

  2. With the second step, you inform the customs office of the exit which is seated near the port of loading (point of leaving the EU) about your plan to export the goods. This process is called Port Filing.

At Twill, we can handle both steps but it is also possible and common that we’re doing the Port Filing for you. You just have to book the additional service of Customs Clearance that you need and give us permission to do that via the Power of Attorney (POA). Afterwards, you’ll receive a “note of export” (Ausgangsvermerk) that you mostly need for your tax declaration at the end of the year.

How much does it cost to ship a container to and from Germany?

The cost of shipping containers to and from Germany varies depending on where you want to ship to and the size of the freight container you need to move.

Costs can also fluctuate depending on the time of year, for example, there are several spikes when shipping from China, before the Chinese New Year holiday and in the weeks leading up to Golden Week holiday in October and some weeks after, as capacity tightens and rates increase.

With Twill, you’ve got the possibility to choose between two different pricing models, the monthly fixed rate as well as the daily rate. You can find all details very transparent online. If you have more detailed questions, please reach out to our customer service.

How to figure out shipping cost to Germany?

Freight costs do move, for some routes daily, but you normally find that the associated landside costs in Germany tend to be more stable. Terminal Handling, Port Charges and Documentation should also be considered as part of your overall shipping costs, depending on the buying terms (Incoterms®) you agree with your buyer/supplier. There are also costs involved with the processing of customs procedures for both shipping to and from Germany.

Also, it depends of the mode of transport that you prefer. If you want to break down the freight costs per article, you´ll see that Airfreight is more expensive than a Full Container Load (FCL) Service or a Less Container Load (LCL) Service.

When are the cheapest times to ship from China to Germany?

On average the cheapest time to ship from China to Germany is a few weeks after the peak of Chinese New Year in April & May, which are generally the low-cost months. Following Golden Week in October rates remain higher, with orders required to arrive before Christmas. You generally will see a softening of rates in December, unless Chinese New Year falls particularly early in the following calendar year.


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