The United States and Russia have a significant trade relationship, with freight shipping playing a vital role in facilitating the exchange of goods between the two countries. Despite occasional geopolitical challenges, trade between the US and Russia remains robust, and various means of transportation are utilized to ensure the smooth flow of goods.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different means of transportation available for freight shipping between the US and Russia. We will delve into the specifics of each mode, including sea freight, air freight, rail freight, and door-to-door services. Additionally, we will address crucial considerations such as customs clearance procedures, documentation requirements, and tariff classifications.

By choosing DocShipper as your logistics partner, you can rely on our expertise to navigate any challenges that may arise. We prioritize the safe and timely delivery of your goods, ensuring compliance with all applicable regulations and providing transparent communication throughout the shipping process.

DocShipper Alert: DocShipper helps small and medium-sized businesses and individuals import or export by organizing all the stages of international transport. DocShipper also acts as a customs broker in France for assistance from A to Z. We are ready to listen to your needs, contact us now!

Table of Contents

Overview – Trade Relations between the US and Russia

Trade relations between the United States and Russia have been marked by both opportunities and challenges. In recent years, the total trade between the two countries has reached significant figures. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2020, the United States exported $5.8 billion worth of goods to Russia, while imports from Russia totaled $22 billion. These trade flows encompass various sectors, including energy, machinery, chemicals, aerospace, and agricultural products.

The energy sector stands out as a crucial component of the bilateral trade relationship. Russia is a major exporter of oil and natural gas to the United States. In 2020, the United States imported approximately $2.9 billion worth of petroleum and petroleum products from Russia. Machinery and equipment also play a significant role in trade between the two countries, with the United States exporting machinery and mechanical appliances valued at $553 million to Russia in the same year.

Furthermore, agricultural products have been an important component of trade between the US and Russia. Russia is a major exporter of wheat, while the US supplies a variety of agricultural goods to the Russian market. However, fluctuations in market conditions and geopolitical factors have at times impacted this trade, leading to changes in supply and demand dynamics.

How does this context (Ukraine Conflict) impact cargo shipping between the US and Russia 

It is important to acknowledge the current geopolitical context and the impact it has on freight shipping between the US and Russia. The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in increased restrictions and sanctions imposed by the US and its allies, which have made it more challenging for Russians to transport freight. However, despite these challenges, DocShipper is committed to providing reliable and efficient shipping services while ensuring compliance with all applicable regulations and sanctions.

The cooperation relationship between the US and Russia extends beyond trade and logistics. However, it is crucial to note that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to various restrictions and sanctions imposed by the US and its allies. These measures have affected certain aspects of freight shipping between the two countries.

Despite the complexities brought about by the conflict, DocShipper is dedicated to facilitating freight shipping between the US and Russia and ensuring a smooth and compliant process. We understand the importance of adhering to all relevant regulations and sanctions, and we work closely with our clients to navigate any challenges that may arise.

By choosing DocShipper as your logistics partner, you can have peace of mind knowing that we have extensive experience in handling international shipments and are well-versed in the current restrictions and sanctions in place. Our team of experts will guide you through the shipping process, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements and providing transparent communication at every step.

We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, and we prioritize the safe and efficient delivery of your goods. Despite the complexities of the current geopolitical situation, we strive to provide reliable and efficient shipping services, helping you navigate any potential obstacles that may arise due to sanctions or restrictions.

Rest assured that with DocShipper, your freight shipping needs between the US and Russia will be handled with the utmost care and attention to detail, ensuring a smooth and compliant process. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have regarding the shipping process or the impact of sanctions on freight transportation.



fret maritime icon

Sea freight between the US and Russia

International trade plays a crucial role in the global economy, facilitating the exchange of goods and services between different countries. One of the significant trade corridors is the route connecting the United States and Russia. In this article, we will explore the various means of transportation used for freight shipping between these two countries.

The main shipping seaports in the United States and Russia play a vital role in facilitating trade between the two countries. Here are some key ports in each country:

United States:

  • Port of Los Angeles : Located in Southern California, the Port of Los Angeles is the largest port in the United States by container volume and the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere. In 2020, it handled over 9.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containerized cargo.

Website: Port of Los Angeles

  • Port of New York and New Jersey : Situated on the East Coast of the United States, the Port of New York and New Jersey is one of the busiest ports in the country. It handles a diverse range of cargo and serves as a crucial hub for international trade. In 2020, it handled over 7.5 million TEUs of containerized cargo.

Website: Port of New York and New Jersey


  • Port of Saint Petersburg : Located on the Baltic Sea, the Port of Saint Petersburg is one of Russia's major seaports. It plays a significant role in facilitating trade between Russia and Europe, particularly in containerized and bulk cargo. In 2020, it handled around 57 million tons of cargo.

Website: Port of Saint Petersburg

  • Port of Vladivostok : Situated on Russia's eastern coast near the borders of China and North Korea, the Port of Vladivostok is a crucial gateway for trade in the Asia-Pacific region. It serves as a key hub for containerized cargo, automobiles, and various other goods. In 2020, it handled over 11 million tons of cargo.

Website: Port of Vladivostok

These ports serve as vital nodes in the transportation network, connecting businesses and facilitating the flow of goods between the United States and Russia. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of New York and New Jersey handle a substantial volume of containerized cargo, enabling efficient trade between the United States and its global partners. Similarly, the Port of Saint Petersburg and the Port of Vladivostok play pivotal roles in Russia's trade with Europe and Asia, respectively. Understanding the capabilities and services offered by these ports is essential for planning and executing efficient freight shipping operations.

How much does it take to ship freight from the USA to Russia and inverted ?

Port of Los Angeles, USA to Port of Saint Petersburg, Russia 25–30 days
Port of Los Angeles, USA to Port of Vladivostok, Russia 30–35 days
Port of New York and New Jersey, USA to Port of Saint Petersburg, Russia 30–35 days 
Port of New York and New Jersey, USA to Port of Vladivostok, Russia 35–40 days 


This time is the average time based on our previous customers and our survey, it varies in different conditions and also, it's only transit time. Remember to save you more time because we also need the packing, loading, and customs clearance, etc.

Shipping Container Options for US-Russia Freight

When shipping freight from the US to Russia, various container options are available to accommodate different cargo volumes and requirements.

The following 3 different types of standard-size containers are available for the transport

  • 20 ft (6.1 m) container with a volume of 33 m3 (about 10 pallets)
  • 40 ft (12.19 m) container with a volume of 67 m3 (about 20 pallets)
  • 40 ft (12.19 m) HQ container with a volume of 76 m3 (about 24 pallets)

For pallets of 120 × 100 cm (max height 230 cm)

Full Container Load (FCL)

FCL means you are going to be charged with the whole container, and meantime you can use all the space of the container.

Under this method, the consignor is responsible for packing, counting, filling out the shipping documents, and sealing the goods by customs. The unpacking of the whole container of goods is carried out generally by the consignee, and can also be entrusted to the carrier in the freight station unpacking, but the carrier is not responsible for the loss of the box, the goods unless the cargo side has the evidence that is indeed the carrier's liability for damages. As long as the container's appearance and receiving similar and seal integrity, the carrier shall complete the carrier responsibility. On the bill of lading for a full container of freight, "the principal packing, counting and sealing" clause should be added.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

LCL: Less than a full container, when you are shipping a small volume of goods, this will be the best choice for you.

LCL can be divided into straight LCL or transfer LCL, straight LCL refers to the LCL container cargo in the same port of loading and unloading, the goods are not unpacked before they reach the destination port, that is, the cargo for the same discharge port. This kind of LCL service transportation period is short, convenient, and fast, generally, the company has the strength of the LCL  will provide such services. Transfer LCL is not the same destination port of cargo containers. The goods need to be unloaded in the middle of the unloading or transfer ship. This kind of cargo due to the different destination ports, longer waiting time, and other factors, the shipment period is longer, thus freight is higher.

Considerations for LCL Shipments

When choosing LCL for freight shipping between the US and Russia, it is essential to consider certain factors. These include the consolidation and deconsolidation processes, transit times, and potential delays. Proper packaging and labeling are crucial to ensure the integrity and safety of the goods during transit.

However, we now have a team specializing in a free quote for you, if you can fill in our online form, and indicate your shipment information, we can give you a quick response about the quotation. 

Cost of Ocean Freight between the US and Russia

The cost of ocean freight between the US and Russia can vary widely, depending on several factors. While it is challenging to provide an exact range of prices as they are subject to various variables, we can provide a general idea based on average market rates.

On average, shipping a standard 20-foot container (known as a TEU) from the US to Russia can range from $1,500 to $4,000. For a 40-foot container, the cost can range from $2,500 to $6,000. These prices are estimates and may vary based on specific factors such as the origin and destination ports, the type of goods being shipped, the shipping line or carrier, and the current market conditions.

It is important to note that these prices are subject to change and should be considered as general indications. To obtain accurate and up-to-date cost estimates for your specific shipment, it is recommended to consult with freight forwarders, shipping agents, or logistics providers who can provide personalized quotes based on your requirements. They have access to the latest market rates and can consider the specific details of your shipment to provide a more precise cost estimation.

Advantages of LCL maritime groupage

  • Pricing is according to the space used, depending on the volume occupied.
  • Possibility of delivering small quantities when storage space is insufficient.
  • Can be used for all different types of goods

Disadvantages of LCL shipping groupage

  • Very long delivery time
  • The merchandise must be palletized
  • Significant manipulation (and therefore risk) in the groupage/deconsolidation warehouses.

Advantages of the Complete FCL Container

  • You get all the space needed in the container
  • Minimal handling. The container is sealed from start to finish
  • Most cost-effective method for large volumes

Disadvantages of the FCL Full Container

  • If you are in a hurry, sea transport remains the slowest method
  • Minimum volume over 13/14 m³.

DocShipper Advice: As an international freight forwarder, we are able to handle different logistics operations such as sea freight. If you have an upcoming shipment and would like to rely on us and benefit from our experience in the sector, contact our experts via our form and receive a free quote within 24 hours.


Air Freight between the US to Russia

Air freight is a preferred option when time-sensitive or high-value shipments need to be transported between the US and Russia. While it is generally more expensive compared to sea freight, air transportation offers significant advantages in terms of speed and efficiency.

In terms of price, speed, and service, there are various options available for air freight shipments between the United States and Russia. Here are examples of companies that offer traditional airfreight and express airfreight services for this route:

Traditional Airfreight:

Explore the various options available for airfreight services, including traditional providers with extensive networks and capabilities, ensuring efficient and reliable transportation for your cargo.

Express Airfreight:

  1. UPS: UPS offers express airfreight services between the United States and Russia. With their global network and advanced logistics capabilities, UPS ensures fast transit times and end-to-end visibility for time-sensitive shipments.
  2. DHL: DHL operates a comprehensive express airfreight network, connecting the United States and Russia with expedited shipping solutions. Their extensive reach, streamlined processes, and dedicated customer service make them a reliable choice for urgent shipments.
  3. FedEx: FedEx provides express airfreight services between the United States and Russia, offering fast and reliable delivery options. Their extensive global network and advanced tracking systems ensure efficient transportation and real-time visibility of shipments.

Main Airports in the US

For air freight from the US to Russia, major airports play a crucial role in facilitating cargo transportation. Some of the key airports in the US for international air freight include:

Main Airports in Russia

On the Russian side, several airports serve as important hubs for air cargo transportation:

  •  Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) - Situated near Moscow, Sheremetyevo is one of the busiest airports in Russia and offers excellent connectivity for freight transportation.
  •  Domodedovo International Airport (DME) - Also located near Moscow, Domodedovo provides efficient air cargo services and connections to various international destinations.

Reasons for Choosing Air Transport

Air transport offers several advantages for freight shipping between the US and Russia:

  •  Speed: Air freight is the fastest mode of transportation, ensuring quick delivery of time-sensitive goods.
  • Reliability: Airlines maintain strict schedules, minimizing the risk of delays and ensuring timely delivery.
  • Security: Air cargo undergoes stringent security measures, reducing the chances of theft or damage.

International air transportation has advantages that no other transportation can match. It is fast (usually takes 7 days as transit time), safe, and accurate, simplifies packaging, and saves packaging costs.

International air freight is calculated in W/M, but the weight-to-volume ratio is 6000 cubic centimeters to 1 kilogram (equivalent to 6 cubic meters per metric ton), so the actual freight is calculated in kilograms. Although air freight is generally higher, international air freight has advantages for large volumes that no other transportation can match.

Why do we choose air transport?


The speed of air freight is unmatched by sea, road, or rail freight. It is very popular for the delivery of fresh produce, animals, and plants. 


Airports are very secure places, with strict regulations and controls, which benefit air shippers who know that their goods are being monitored, limiting risks and accidents. The unloading of the goods is done quickly, which further reduces the delivery time.

Places served

Air freight allows delivery to almost any location in the world, goods can be flown to the nearest airport and then delivered by road freight to its destination more quickly than with any other solution.


Airfreight companies offer a service that allows the tracking of your goods in real-time and their status during the entire transport.

Cost of packaging 

Air freight lends itself to lightweight packaging and low material requirements. Packaging costs are therefore quite low. 

What is volumetric weight?

A law of equivalence is used by air carriers to respect the volumetric weight. The higher of the volumetric weight and the gross weight of the goods will be used. The following rules should be noted:

  • Classic air freight: 1 m³ = 167 Kgs
  • Express air freight: 1 m³ = 200 kgs

Door-to-Door Delivery between the US and Russia

Door-to-door delivery services offer convenience and efficiency by handling the entire logistics process, from origin to destination. This comprehensive service includes pickup, transportation, customs clearance, and final delivery of goods.

Why is door-to-door service useful?

All in all, from packaging, loading, documents, customs clearance, shipment, unloading, and unpacking ... We can provide the most mature service you could imagine. Check here to know more: Door-to-door service

Benefits of Door-to-Door Service

  • Convenience: Door-to-door delivery eliminates the need for multiple intermediaries, streamlining the shipping process and reducing administrative burden.
  • Time Savings: With door-to-door service, shipments are handled by a single provider, ensuring faster transit times and minimizing potential delays.
  • Peace of Mind: By entrusting the entire shipping process to a professional logistics provider, businesses can focus on their core operations and have peace of mind knowing that their goods are in safe hands.

Why are door-to-door services helpful?

A door-to-door service, just like its name indicates, involves collecting the goods from wherever you want them to be delivered to the address of your choice, right to your home or business. So the service is complete, whether by sea, air, express, or rail, and makes things much easier for you.

 Safe delivery

When you entrust your cargo to us, you can be sure that it will arrive at its destination without any problems. All our partners guarantee a high quality service.

Professional staff

At Docshipper, one thing we are very pleased with is the friendliness of our team and their attention to detail. When you order your goods through us, you get an individual experience. 

Tracking of shipments

Our staff will allow you to track the progress of your shipment at any time.

Are you looking for a reliable and safe door-to-door solution for transport between China and Switzerland? Then contact us! We will be happy to discuss with you the most appropriate solution for you.

Our team is here to assist you with the details of all your logistics requirements.

You may also wish to take a look at our special page: Door to door service


Customs Clearance between the U.S and Russia

When importing goods from the US to Russia, customs clearance is an essential step in the shipping process. It involves the submission of necessary documents, payment of customs duties and taxes, and compliance with relevant regulations.

Categories of Tariffs

Tariffs for goods imported into Russia can be classified into different categories:

  • Tariff Classification based on Commodity Flow: Goods are categorized based on their nature and purpose, such as raw materials, finished products, or capital goods
  • Tariff Classification based on Tariff
  •  Purpose: Goods are classified according to their intended use or function, such as consumer goods, intermediate goods, or capital goods
  • Tariff Classification based on Tariff Treatment: Goods are categorized based on specific tariff treatment, such as preferential tariffs or special exemptions

Preferential Tariffs

Preferential tariffs are offered under trade agreements or arrangements between countries to promote bilateral trade and provide cost advantages for specific goods. These tariffs are typically lower or exempted, subject to certain conditions and eligibility criteria.

Under the proclamation signed by U.S. President Joe Biden on June 27, 2022, the duty rate for a wide range of products originating from Russia has been raised to 35% ad valorem. This increase affects over 570 tariff subheadings, as specified in Annex A of the proclamation. if you want more details, please click here.

Most-favored-nation Treatment Tariffs

Most-favored-nation (MFN) treatment tariffs are applied to goods that are not eligible for preferential treatment. MFN tariffs are the standard tariff rates applied to all countries with which Russia does not have preferential trade agreements. In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission released a press statement on March 11, 2022, revoking the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) tariff treatment previously granted to Russia. Consequently, Russian goods entering any of the G7 countries may face increased import tariffs. At present, the Commission has not disclosed specific tariff adjustments.

Special Preferences

Certain industries or sectors may receive special preferences, such as tax exemptions or reduced tariffs, to promote growth, innovation, or economic development. For more information, click here

Generalized System of Preferences Tariffs

Under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), certain developing countries may benefit from reduced or zero tariffs on specific goods when exporting to Russia. GSP tariffs aim to support economic growth and trade cooperation with eligible countries.

Calculating Customs Duties and Taxes

To calculate customs duties and taxes for goods imported from the US to Russia, several factors come into play, including the customs value of the goods, applicable tariff rates, and any additional fees or charges. Importers can seek assistance from customs brokers or freight forwarders to accurately calculate these costs.

Finding the HS Code

The Harmonized System (HS) code is an international standard for classifying goods based on their nature, composition, and purpose. Importers need to determine the correct HS code for their goods, which facilitates the customs clearance process. The HS code can be found in the HS code directory or by consulting with customs authorities or industry experts.

To determine the duties and taxes applied to specific goods imported from the US to Russia, importers can consult the customs tariff schedule or utilize online tools provided by customs authorities. These resources provide information on applicable rates, exemptions, and any additional charges.

logo CBP

Offical Name: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Official Website: USA Customs

logo FCS Russia

Official name:  Federal Customs Service of Russia
Федеральная таможенная служба

Official website: Russian Customs

DocShipper Advice: As you can see, Docshipper is far from being just an international forwarder. In fact, we take care of many other logistics operations such as customs clearance, or even packing and insurance! For more information, contact our experts via our form or directly by phone, you will receive a free quote within 24 hours.

Required Documents

Bill of Lading

The purpose of the bill of lading is to guarantee the designated goods have been supplied by the exporter, in other words, it represents a certificate of transport

The goods listed on this official document are covered by the terms of the freight company's contracts with the shipper.

This document contains the prices of the products and the coordinates of the places of transport of the goods.

The bill of lading, as an official document, has legal value. All the data required to proceed with the shipment of the goods is contained in this document.

For air transport, this document is called "Air Waybill".

Packing List

A form completed by the shipper that details the shipment including weight (gross and net), dimensions, contents, the numbering of each package in the shipment and any identifying information features such as serial numbers. It also allows for the identification of damage or shortages, as the customer only pays taxes for what they have actually received.

Documents of Conformity (CE Standard): 

The DOC is a declaration of responsibility stating that you comply with the requirements of the CE Directive and related harmonized standards, and it must be based on a conformity assessment, such as a test report or certificate of conformity for the product. In the case of electrical and electronic products, for example, the manufacturer can issue the DOC for both directives after passing the LVD/EMC test and preparing the technical data as required by the directives.

Certificate of Origin

Justifying the place of origin of your shipments, the certificate of origin is an essential element in world trade. It allows you to declare the country of origin of the goods.

It indicates the country of manufacture of the products, which should not be confused with the origin of the goods. This part is very important to allow importers and exporters to benefit from advantageous rates of customs duties, which are very advantageous for certain goods.


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