Poland has become a popular source of well-made, well-priced goods for US companies. But as you weigh the pros and cons of importing from Poland versus other parts of the world, one crucial consideration is average shipping time from Poland to the US.
Products sourced in Poland usually cost less than similar products from Western Europe. And you won’t have to wait a long time to receive them, as you do with goods sourced in the Far East. The average shipping time from Poland to US is about 20 days compared with 30 days, for example, from the Port of Shanghai to the Port of New York through the Panama Canal.
How Fast Is Shipping Time From Poland to US?
A shipment from Poland to the US East Coast typically spends about 20 days on the water. To make the carrier’s cutoff for loading cargo on the vessel, you need to get your shipment to the port at least two days before the sailing. That adds another two days to the transit. Of course, total shipping time also includes the days it takes to transport your shipment by truck or rail from the seller to the Polish port and from the US port to the final destination.
One big factor that influences average shipping time to the US from Poland is transshipment. Since there is presently no direct ocean shipping service from Poland to the US, when you load in Poland, your cargo goes on a feeder vessel, which takes containers to a major base port such as Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Rotterdam or Antwerp. There, the line transloads your shipment to a larger vessel for the ocean crossing.
Planning the Shipment
As an alternative to transshipment, you could transport your container directly to a Western European port using truck or rail.
In all, there are four options for shipping containers from Poland to the USA. The best decision depends on your time constraints and budget. Your choices are:
- Transport the container by truck directly to a large Western Europe port for loading onto a ship.
- Truck the container to a Polish port, such as the Port of Gdynia, for transportation on a feeder vessel to a larger port.
- Transport the container by truck to a nearby Polish rail terminal so a train can transport it to a larger base port.
- Ship the container by motor/rail to the Port of Gdynia and have it loaded onto a feeder vessel to a larger base port.
If you’re trying to reduce ocean freight costs as much as possible and time is not of the essence, use feeder vessels from Poland. If you’re willing to spend more to get the shipment there as fast as possible, trucks goods directly to the major port and avoid the feeder vessel.
The right strategy could also depend on more subtle factors. For example, if the shipment originates in northern Poland, near the ports, it makes more sense to ship the container to Gdynia via truck than via rail.
For more detail on the subject, read our eBook: Shipping From Poland to the US
Even if you’re shipping from Southern Poland, a local logistics partner could make trucking an economical option. Trucks that deliver containers from the Polish ports to manufacturing centers in the south are often looking for freight to bring back north. A freight partner, like I.C.E. Transport, with extensive carrier relationships in Poland can probably match your load with a trucker who needs a backhaul, getting you a good rate.
How Do Other Sourcing Markets Compare?
For comparison, here are shipping times from a few other regions where US companies might source products for shipment to the US East Coast.
- East Asia: Cargo transported from the Port of Shanghai to the Port of New York through the Panama Canal spends about 30 days on the water.
- India: Service from the Port of Nhava Sheva (near Mumbai) to New York could take anywhere from 25 to 32 days, depending on whether you pay extra for an express service or use a lower-priced service that includes transshipment.
- The Mediterranean: A shipment from Cairo to New York spends 17 to 18 days on the water.
- Western Europe: Transit from a major Western European port to the East Coast usually takes about 13 to 14 days.
How to Optimize Shipping Time from Poland to US
There are a couple of tricks that can reduce the number of days a shipment from Poland spends on the water. As we mentioned, trucking goods direct to Bremerhaven or other large Western European port can cut six or seven days off your time on the water, while adding only a day or two on land. Of course, you’ll pay extra for the land transportation.
Depending on where your shipment is bound, you might also save shipping time from Poland to the US by choosing your vessel strategically. For example, if you’re shipping to Atlanta through the Port of Charleston, you could choose a vessel whose first port of call in the US is Charleston, rather than a vessel that stops in New York before heading south.
If time is absolutely of the essence, in some cases you might want to truck the shipment from Poland to Hamburg and book it on a vessel whose first port of call in North America is Montreal. That crossing takes only nine or ten days. Shipments to destinations in the Northeastern US, or even the Midwest, might benefit from this strategy.
Find an Experienced Shipping Partner in Poland
The best route for your cargo depends on several factors, including the location of your supplier, how soon you need the product, how much you’re willing to spend and the truck or rail rates you’re able to secure in Poland. A U.S. freight forwarding partner that also understands the Polish transportation landscape can help you make the most profitable decision. That partner will also make sure the containers move from place to place and mode to mode without delay.
As you evaluate potential suppliers in Poland, a sure way to control the transportation part of that equation is to work with a partner, like I.C.E. Transport, that has been operating in both countries for decades, with native-speaking Polish staff who understand the nuts and bolts of doing business there.
To discuss your potential shipments from Poland, contact the specialists at I.C.E Transport.