China and France have a strong trade relationship, with a significant volume of goods being shipped between the two countries. In recent years, the trade volume between France and China has been steadily increasing. In 2020, the total trade volume reached €67.7 billion ($79.9 billion), marking a 5.9% increase compared to the previous year.
China is currently the second-largest market for French exports outside the European Union (EU) and the fourth-largest supplier of French imports.
In 2020, French exports to China amounted to €17.5 billion ($20.6 billion), showing a growth of 7.9% compared to the previous year. Key export sectors include aerospace, luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products.
Imports from China to France have also witnessed a notable increase. In 2020, French imports from China reached €50.2 billion ($59.3 billion), representing a 5.1% growth compared to the previous year. Major import sectors include electronics, machinery, textiles, and furniture.
Freight shipping plays a crucial role in facilitating this trade, connecting manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers across borders. When it comes to freight shipping from China to France, there are just three modes of transportation available:
Shipping goods via sea is the most common and cost-effective mode of transportation for large volumes of cargo, and shipment from China to France typically takes around 25-35 days. Ocean freight offers flexibility in terms of container sizes, including Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) options. There are several ports in France, for example Port of Le Havre (FRLEH), Port of Marseille-Fos (FRFOS), Port of Dunkirk (FRDKR), Port of Bordeaux (FRBOD), Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire (FRNTE).
When time is of the essence, air freight is the preferred choice. It allows for faster transit times, typically ranging from 1-7 days. Although air freight is more expensive than ocean freight, it is suitable for high-value, perishable, or time-sensitive goods. Major airports in China, such as Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, serve as crucial hubs for air cargo to France where there several airports, for instance: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Paris Orly Airport (ORY), Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE), Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS), Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) and others.
Rail transportation is gaining popularity due to its shorter transit times compared to ocean freight and lower costs compared to air freight. The “China Railway Express” connects major Chinese cities to various European destinations, including France. This mode is particularly advantageous for landlocked regions in China and offers an efficient alternative to traditional sea or air routes.
Some of the commonly shipped cargo from China to France include electronics and electrical equipment, textiles and apparel, machinery and industrial equipment, furniture and home décor.
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