Whether you're a seasoned importer/exporter or a business exploring international trade opportunities, understanding the intricacies of shipping between these two countries is vital for establishing efficient and successful supply chains. In this article, we'll delve into the crucial aspects of freight shipping, including rates, transit times, and duties & taxes. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of this shipping route, empowering you to make informed decisions and optimize your shipping operations. Let's embark on this journey of exploration and discovery in the world of freight shipping between the US and Turkey.

Table of Contents

Overview – Trade Relations between Turkey and US 

Both opportunities and challenges have marked trade relations between the United States and Turkey. In recent years, the total trade between the two countries has reached significant figures. In 2021, U.S. exports to Turkey totaled $8.4 billion, a 9.5% increase from 2020, while U.S. imports from Turkey amounted to $9.6 billion, a 4.8% increase. The trade deficit was $1.2 billion, a 3.7% increase.

The energy sector stands out as a crucial component of the bilateral trade relationship. From 2020 to 2021, several key commodity sectors of U.S. exports to Turkey increased in absolute terms. In 2021, U.S. exports of machinery, aircraft, and vehicles increased by 12.4% ($408 million) from $3.3 billion in 2020 to $3.7 billion.

However, it is important to acknowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions have introduced complexities and hurdles in the trade relationship. These measures have affected certain sectors and industries, necessitating businesses to navigate through regulatory challenges and adapt their trading practices accordingly. Additionally, geopolitical tensions and trade disputes have also impacted trade flows between the two countries.

Despite these challenges, both the United States and Turkey recognize the importance of maintaining economic ties and continue to work towards finding common ground to facilitate trade and cooperation. Efforts are being made to address trade barriers, enhance market access, and promote fair and balanced trade between the two nations.



Sea freight between the US and Turkey

Sea freight plays a significant role in facilitating trade between Turkey and the United States. These two countries have robust maritime connections, and sea transportation is widely used for the exchange of goods and commodities. The volume of sea freight between Turkey and the USA is substantial, with a diverse range of products being transported, including machinery, automotive parts, textiles, electronics, and agricultural goods.

The utilization of sea freight between Turkey and the USA is highly prevalent due to several factors. Firstly, it allows for the cost-effective transportation of large cargo volumes over long distances. Secondly, maritime transportation provides reliable and efficient logistics solutions, ensuring the smooth flow of goods between the two countries. Key ports such as Istanbul, Izmir, and Mersin in Turkey, and ports along the eastern and western coasts of the United States, serve as vital gateways for sea trade.

The strong trade relations between Turkey and the USA, coupled with the advantages of sea freight, contribute to the significant usage of maritime transportation between these two countries. It enables businesses to meet their import and export needs, enhances supply chain efficiency, and fosters economic cooperation on a global scale.

Mains ports of the US and Turkey

The three main ports of the US are: 

  • Port of Los Angeles:  The Port of Los Angeles is the largest container port in the United States and a major hub for global trade. Located in Southern California, it offers state-of-the-art facilities and handles various cargo, including containers, automobiles, and bulk cargo.
  • Port of New York and New Jersey: The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast of the United States, serving as a crucial gateway for international trade. It features multiple terminals, including Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, and handles diverse cargo types, such as containers, bulk cargo, and automobiles.

In summary, the ports of New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles are critical gateways for international trade in the United States. They provide extensive infrastructure, handle a wide range of cargo, and serve as key hubs for connecting the country to global markets. These ports play a vital role in supporting trade flows, contributing to the economic growth and development of their respective regions.

The three main ports of Turkey are:

  • Port of Istanbul: Situated on the Bosporus Strait, the Port of Istanbul is the largest and busiest port in Turkey. It serves as a crucial international trade hub, connecting Europe and Asia. The port consists of multiple terminals, including Haydarpasa, Ambarli, and Pendik, and handles a wide range of cargo, including containers, bulk cargo, and liquid bulk.
  • Port of Mersin: Located on the eastern Mediterranean coast, the Port of Mersin is one of the largest and most important ports in Turkey. It serves as a major gateway for international trade, particularly for containerized cargo, bulk cargo, and Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) shipments. The port has modern facilities and excellent infrastructure, making it a preferred choice for various industries.
  • Port of Izmir: Situated on the Aegean Sea, the Port of Izmir is another significant port in Turkey. It serves as a major trade gateway for the western part of the country and handles diverse cargo types, including containers, bulk cargo, and general cargo. The port's strategic location and efficient operations contribute to its importance in regional and international trade.

These three ports, Istanbul, Mersin, and Izmir, are key maritime gateways that facilitate a significant portion of Turkey's import and export activities. They have well-developed infrastructure, efficient logistics operations, and connect Turkey to global trade networks.

About DocShipper: DocShipper is an international freight forwarder that arranges the transportation of goods from a supplier's warehouse to its final destination. Regardless of the transportation method (air, ship, road, rail), we will handle everything from packaging to transportation arrangements, customs clearance, and paperwork. Contact us to receive a free quote within 24 hours. Do you have any questions? Contact us for free.

How much does it take to ship freight between the USA and Turkey and inverted?

USA/TURKEY Port of Istanbul Port of Mersin Port of Izmir
New York 20 days 21 days 21 days
Los Angeles 3 days 34 days 3 days
New Jersey 20 days 20 days 21 days

Ocean freight, although reliable, is the slowest mode of shipping. The provided transit times represent averages from port to port and do not include collection, delivery, and customs clearance procedures. It is important to consider these additional factors when planning shipments via ocean freight.


How to choose container types for Turkey-USA shipping?

There are various sorts of containers, but the three most prevalent sizes are:

  • 20 ft Equivalent Unit (TEU): A standard container with dimensions of 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.5 feet in height, with a capacity of approximately 1,172 cubic feet or 33.18 cubic meters.
  • 40 ft Equivalent Unit (FEU): A standard container with dimensions of 40 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.5 feet in height, commonly abbreviated as "40 ft" or "40', with a capacity of approximately 2,390 cubic feet or 67.67 cubic meters.
  • 40 ft High Cube (HQ) container: Similar to the FEU container, but with an additional height of 1 foot, making it 9.5 feet in height. It has an increased capacity of approximately 2,694 cubic feet or 76.3 cubic meters.

Maritime consolidation or LCL (Less than Container Load)

Maritime consolidation, also known as Less Than Container Load (LCL), is a shipping method that combines smaller shipments from multiple shippers into a single container. With LCL, businesses or individuals who have smaller quantities of goods to ship can share container space and split the cost with other parties. This option is particularly beneficial when the cargo volume does not fill an entire container, allowing for cost-effective transportation of smaller shipments. LCL offers flexibility, affordability, and convenience for those who do not require a full container for their goods.

Full Container or FCL (Full Container Load)

When it comes to sea freight, there are two main options for transporting goods: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less Than Container Load (LCL). The primary difference between the two lies in the consolidation of cargo.

FCL involves shipments where an entire container is filled with goods from a single party. This option is ideal for businesses with high-volume items or large quantities of products that require dedicated container space.

DocShipper Tip: If you're looking to import or export goods, we highly recommend getting help from a knowledgeable professional like Docshipper. Consolidation can be a somewhat risky choice when it comes to transportation options for your goods. However, rest assured that your needs will be met quickly thanks to Docshipper's expertise in import and export processes, especially his FCL and LCL consolidation. Get in touch now via our contact form or give us a call. Our experienced professionals will respond quickly.


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Air freight between Turkey and the US

Air freight between Turkey and the United States is often preferred for urgent shipments requiring a fast delivery time.

What are the different types of airfreight?

There are two main types of air freight services available: 

  • Conventional air cargo: Utilizes space on conventional airlines (such as Air France, Air China…) and cargo carriers for larger quantities of goods. Ideal for non-time-sensitive shipments following regular airfreight schedules.
  • Express air freight: Relies on courier companies like DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS, and others for smaller shipments, typically parcels or packages. Designed for expedited delivery of time-sensitive items such as documents, perishable goods, or high-value items. Offers faster transit times, tracking, insurance, and priority handling.

Classic or express air freight?

Classic and express air freight are two options for shipping goods by air, each with its own advantages and considerations.

  • Classic air freight, also known as standard air freight, refers to the traditional method of shipping goods by air. It offers a balance between cost and speed, making it suitable for less time-sensitive shipments. Classic air freight typically operates on scheduled flights and has longer transit times compared to express services.
  • Express air freight, on the other hand, is a faster shipping option that prioritizes speed and time-critical deliveries. It is commonly used for urgent or time-sensitive shipments that require quick delivery. Express air freight services often operate on dedicated or chartered flights, allowing for faster transit times and expedited handling.

When choosing between classic and express air freight, several factors come into play. The urgency of the shipment, budget constraints, and the nature of the goods are essential considerations. Classic air freight offers a more cost-effective solution for non-urgent shipments, while express air freight ensures faster delivery but may come at a higher cost.

It is important to work closely with logistics providers or freight forwarders to determine the most suitable option based on your specific needs, timeline, and budget. They can provide guidance on transit times, and pricing and help navigate the complexities of air freight to ensure your goods are transported efficiently and reliably.

Transit time between the airports of Turkey and the airports of the US

Turkey/USA O'Hare International Airport Los Angeles International Airport Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Istanbul Airport 15 hours 14 hours 16 hours
Atatürk Airport 12 hours 12 hours 11 hours
Ankara Esenboğa Airport 13 hours 11 hours 13 hours

What are the advantages of air transport?

Air freight offers several advantages that make it a preferred choice for certain types of goods:

  • Speed and Reliability: Air transport is known for its speed, allowing goods to be transported quickly across continents. This is particularly beneficial for perishable items, live animals, and time-sensitive goods.
  • Safety: Airports have strict regulations and security measures in place, ensuring the safety and protection of air cargo. This reduces the risk of theft or damage during transit.
  • Extensive Coverage: Air freight can reach even the most remote locations by utilizing airports as transportation hubs. Goods can then be efficiently transported to their final destination by road or other means.
  • Tracking Capabilities: Many air cargo service providers offer online tracking systems, allowing shippers to monitor the status of their shipments in real-time. This provides transparency and peace of mind throughout the transportation process.
  • Cost-effective Packaging: Due to the lightweight nature of air shipments, packaging requirements are often minimal. This reduces the need for excessive packaging materials and containers, resulting in cost savings for shippers.

In summary, air freight provides fast and reliable transportation, enhanced security measures, extensive coverage to remote areas, tracking capabilities, and cost-effective packaging options for certain types of goods.

How much does it cost to transport air freight between Turkey and Russia?

Shipping costs from China to the US can vary depending on various factors such as the chosen mode of transport, shipment size, weight, and applicable taxes and customs duties. 

When it comes to air freight, rates typically range from $100 to several thousand dollars.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) establishes a tariff structure for air freight. The basic rate is determined based on weight bands, with prices decreasing as the weight increases. 

There is usually a minimum charge for very small shipments. Here is an example:

  • Price per kilo: $6
  • 1000 to 2500 kg: $5/kg
  • 2500 to 3500 kg: $4/kg
  • More than 3500 kg: $3/kg
  • Minimum collection: $600

It's important to note that the calculation of the tariff is not solely based on the gross weight of the goods but also takes into account the volumetric weight.

Additionally, airlines and airports may apply additional fees and taxes such as airport tax, AWB (Airway Bill) fees, security tax, risk insurance tax, and fuel tax.

These additional charges and taxes vary depending on the specific airline, airport, and the nature of the shipment. 

It's advisable to consult with a freight forwarder or shipping agent to get accurate and up-to-date information on the total cost of air freight from China to the US, including any applicable fees and taxes.

How to calculate the volumetric weight of your shipment?

Just like the sea freight previously, an equivalency rule is applied as well by all air carriers to calculate the volumetric weight. The greatest of the volumetric weight and the gross weight of your goods will be used. Please note the following rules:

Classic airfreight : 1 CBM = 167 Kgs (1:6)

Express airfreight : 1 CBM = 200 kgs (1:5)

formule poids volumetrique

calculer poids parcelle

What are the advantages of door-to-door services?

Advantages of Door-to-Door Services:

  • Convenience: Door-to-door services provide a high level of convenience as the shipping company takes care of the entire transportation process, from pickup at the origin to delivery at the destination. This saves the customer from the hassle of coordinating multiple parties and handling logistics.
  • Time-Saving: Door-to-door services are typically faster compared to other shipping options. The shipping company takes responsibility for managing the entire process, ensuring timely pickup, transportation, and delivery of the goods.
  • Reduced Risk of Damage: With door-to-door services, the shipping company is accountable for the safe handling and transportation of the goods throughout the entire journey. This reduces the risk of damage or loss compared to multiple transfers between different modes of transport.
  • Improved Tracking and Visibility: Door-to-door services often include advanced tracking systems that provide real-time updates on the shipment's location and estimated delivery time. This allows customers to have better visibility and peace of mind regarding the status of their goods.

DocShipper info : Looking for a safe and dependable door-to-door service between Turkey and Russia? We will gladly assist you in locating the best comprehensive package for you. DocShipper is here to assist you from A to Z and ensure the smoothest possible shipment, with no intervention required from your side as our team will take care of everything. Please do not hesitate to contact us.


Customs Clearance in Spain for Goods between the US and Turkey

When importing goods between the US and Turkey, 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 Turkey and the US 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.

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 those country does not have preferential trade agreements.

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 those countries. GSP tariffs aim to support economic growth and trade cooperation with eligible countries.

How to calculate applicable tariff with the HS code?

When importing goods between Turkey and US, it is important to follow the customs procedures and regulations to ensure smooth clearance of your goods.

The first step is to determine the Harmonized System (HS) code of the product you are importing. The HS code is an internationally recognized system for classifying goods based on their nature, composition, and intended use. The HS code, together with the country of origin, will determine the applicable customs duty and tax rates.

This is how the HS code is composed :

How do I find the HS Code?

If you intend to import or export goods, you must first determine the correct HS code for your products. There are two basic methods for determining the HS code for your products.

To begin, you can check an HS code directory, which is categorized by product type or industry and is available online or in print. The second alternative is to obtain advice from a customs broker or freight forwarder, both of whom can be invaluable in international trade matters. While conducting online research or using a third-party website can be beneficial, but it can also be time-consuming and perplexing.

How to calculate the applicable tariff with the HS code?

Here are the steps to find the customs duties of each product using the HS code on the website related to the Turkish HS code: 

  1. Visit the Turkish Customs Tariff Guidelines
  2. Copy the HS Code you looked up in the last step
  3. Use Ctrl + F to search for the duty rate in Turkey

DocShipper info: At DocShipper, we do not charge customs duties directly. Customs duties and taxes are paid directly to the government. However, we do charge customs clearance fees for our services, which cover the administrative tasks and expertise involved in the customs clearance process.

Customs contacts

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.

What documents are required for customs clearance?

The specific documentation required for customs clearance in United States and Turkey may differ based on the type of commodities being imported or exported, as well as the customs authority's specific criteria. However, the following are some frequent documents that may be required :

  • Commercial invoice: This document provides a description of the goods being imported, as well as their value.
  • Bill of lading: This is a legal document that provides evidence of the shipment of goods and includes details such as the type of goods, quantity, and destination.
  • Packing list: This document provides a detailed list of the contents of each package being shipped.
  • Import declaration: This is a document that declares the details of the imported goods, including their HS code, quantity, value, and country of origin.
  • Certificate of origin: This document confirms the origin of the goods being imported and may be required to claim preferential treatment under a free trade agreement.
  • Insurance certificate: This document provides evidence of insurance coverage for the goods being transported.
  • Permits and licenses: Depending on the type of goods being imported or exported, various permits and licenses may be required, such as import permits or phytosanitary certificates.

Contact DocShipper if you need help clearing customs. We have agents all around the world ready to take care of every step of your customs clearance process. Fill out this easy form.

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