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Can You Ship an Excavator from China to the US?

Published by Tamar Hela.

What's in this article?
  1. What Are Excavators?
  2. Sourcing From China
  3. What Documents Do You Need to Ship Excavators?
  4. Choosing a Shipping Method
  5. Sea Freight
  6. How We Ship Excavators
  7. Packaging
  8. Transport
  9. Delivery
  10. Unloading
  11. International Costs and Regulations
  12. Final Thoughts
Can You Ship an Excavator from China to the US?

Shipping heavy machinery overseas is never a small job. So, having the support to bring something into the United States as large as an excavator can help take the stress out of the process.

Thankfully, A1 Auto Transport specializes in just that, and in this article, our team of experts dives into how you can successfully ship an excavator from overseas, specifically China.

We'll walk you through the benefits of using a shipping container for large haul items and why sea freight may be the most cost-effective method for machines like excavators.

So, if you'd like to deepen your international knowledge of shipping excavators from China to the United States, keep reading.


What Are Excavators?

Regarding heavy machinery, excavators are one of the best tools to use for digging the land and for moving significant amounts of soil and debris on construction sites.

They're essential machinery in construction projects as well as demolition, mining, and even landscaping to help dig trenches for foundations.

Typically, excavators use hydraulic systems to work and are made up of different components, including the tracks to allow them to travel on different terrains, the boom, boom cylinder, stick, bucket, and bucket cylinder.

Sourcing From China

Because they're so important in North America, many excavator buyers opt for a Chinese supplier thanks to their extensive construction industry.

For example, Hong Kong has an impressive range of heavy machinery suppliers. They typically come with a competitive price tag than what you wouldn't find in the United States. Additionally, their excavators are known to have a reputation for durability and expert design to give buyers peace of mind about quality.

So, once you've chosen the right equipment supplier, a shipping agent like A1 Auto Transport can help you get your excavator from point A to point b without any hassle, thanks to our years of experience and scope of international contacts.

What Documents Do You Need to Ship Excavators?

If you're considering shipping excavators from China into North America, use a freight forwarder like us to help you outline each document you'll need to avoid additional costs, deal with customs brokers, and ensure your items are delivered legally.

These documents will generally include:

  • A Bill of Lading: This is the equivalent of a receipt. It has information on what is being transported, the shipping costs, and other essential details.
  • Certificate of Origin: This document will ensure your excavator is coming from where you ordered it. In this instance, China. It helps determine import duty taxes.
  • Invoice: This will give customs all the details about your transaction, including your and the buyer's information, a description of the goods, and any costs or extra charges.
  • Insurance Information: We always recommend you choose a suitable insurance plan, like a type of customs bond, in case of losses, damages, and coverage protection during transport.
  • Customs Declaration: Like the invoice, this confirms all the items you have shipped.
  • Licensing: An export license may be needed to allow your items to be shipped. This ensures they comply with regulations in the US and are safe to use.
  • Inventory List: You'll also need to detail each item you're shipping, including how many excavators or additional parts are ordered.

Choosing a Shipping Method

Ways to transport excavators into the United States include air freight and sea or ocean freight. The air freight process may have a more reasonable delivery time, but there are risks with carrying a heavy machine like an excavator in the sky.

Many shipping companies like ours understand that the hassle of air freight is usually weight restrictions for large items like these. So, choosing the traditional sea freight process as the preferred shipping method works out better.

Sea Freight

Many freight forwarders using sea freight will go through the entire shipping process with you. This includes discussing the Chinese supplier you purchased the excavator from, their exit port, the entry port closest to your location, and the estimated shipping rates.

We'll come up with a shipping plan to give you transparency on everything from the most suitable shipping container for the excavator to how long the transit will be and the overall cost of shipping. Let's look at how we ship excavators below.

How We Ship Excavators

We've put together this step-by-step guide to go through how we successfully ship excavators from Chinese ports to American ports using sea freight.


We'll need to go over with the buyer how they package the equipment. We will have contact with their team to arrange a shipping container.

This includes sending copies of the necessary documents for customs clearance to avoid shipping delays and give you an estimated arrival time.

We also schedule handling the packing ourselves. Our team ensures each excavator component is securely wrapped to prevent damage during transit.


Once your item is ready to ship, we will schedule the delivery times from the Chinese port into the United States.

The shipping container is moved onto a cargo vessel, which is designed to hold something of this weight.


The delivery times can vary for items coming from Asian countries. We factor in the weather and distance and keep track of your excavator each step of the way.

Once it reaches North America, it goes through customs. So, we will discuss possible customs duty tax before shipment.


We will then use our specialized equipment to help unload the excavator onto the road, like a flatbed truck, to get all the components to its final destination.


International Costs and Regulations

International costs for sea freight shipping methods vary. Some factors come into consideration when considering the shipping costs from locations like ports in Hong Kong and other major ports in China.

These factors include:

  • Import permit costs
  • Import duty costs
  • Logistics costs from China and in the US
  • Potential customs broker's costs

Final Thoughts

Transporting heavy machinery from a Chinese supplier into the United States is a stress-free shipping process when you use freight forwarders like A1 Auto Transport.

We put our customers first, ensuring their items reach their destination, especially international orders that can take a longer time to process.

We inform you of the documents you'll need to legally ship your excavator into the United States without hassle.

So, if you'd like to discover more about our team and how we can successfully transport excavators from China to your destination, contact us for a free quote to get you started.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

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Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
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Boca Raton, FL 33431
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1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
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Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
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