France, a member of the World Trade Organization, is Europe’s second-largest exporter and importer. Its most important foreign trade partners are European, and it is also the US’s nine-largest trading partner. France is also conducting an increasing amount of trade with Africa and Asia. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ll want to learn more about how to export from the US to France.

France is world-famous as a centre of literature, fashion, culture, and food; it is also a major exporter, particularly of plastics, machinery and transportation equipment, and aircraft. Its manufacturing industry is vital to its exports, and is responsible for nearly 27% of France’s GDP. The French government supports and promotes foreign trade in a broad-spectrum manner.

Paris, the capital, is headquarters to a large number of Fortune 500 companies, and the country ranked fourth in the Fortune Global 500 in 2013. A huge market, and huge opportunity, awaits those seeking to export from the US to France.

Full Container (FCL) or Groupage (LCL)

Determining your shipment volume is the first thing to do when exporting to France. You’ll require either a full container load (FCL) or a shared container (less-than-container load, or LCL), depending on that volume. If you share a container-known as groupage-you will pay only for the space you use, which will lower your shipping costs.

If your shipping volume is at least six standard pallets, you have what’s considered a full container load (FCL). A 20-foot container will hold up to 10 standard pallets, while a 40-foot container bears 22 standard pallets. If for any reason you don’t want your goods to come into contact with other exporters’ merchandise, you’ll also want to choose FCL. iContainers provides you with information on rates for the shipment of containers to France; as well as for moving overseas from the US to France. Have a look at this information and contact us if you need further assistance.

For information purposes, please note that there are two types of pallets: Standard (1.2m/47 ¼” X 1m/39 38”) and Euro (1.2m/47 ¼” X .8m/31 ½”.)

It is important to know which pallets you are using and if your cargo is stackable in order to calculate your shipping charge.

Ocean Freight Routes to France

  • Port of Le Havre
    The Grand Port Maritime du Havre manages this port, which is the second-largest commercial port in France in terms of overall tonnage; it’s also the country’s largest container port, and accommodates passenger traffic as well. Virtually every sort of merchandise is handled by the port of Le Havre, whose north terminal covers almost 237 acres. The port boasts over four miles of docks, and three sets of terminals dedicated to containers.

  • Port of Lyon
    Port Édouard-Herriot is another name for this port situated on the river Rhone. It covers nearly 520 acres, and handles over 12 million tons of goods annually. This includes three million tons of hydrocarbons. The port features two container terminals, and also handles many passengers. It is the gateway to trade with the east of France, the north of Europe, and the Mediterranean.

  • Port of Marseille
    France’s main maritime port is the Marseille Fos Port, which deals with both passengers and 88 million tons of overall goods traffic. The port has two main sites, one in northern Marseille from La Joliette to l’Estaque, another in Fos-sur-Mer, about 31 miles northwest of Marseille. Marseille is the country’s largest port; it is also the second-largest port in the Mediterranean, and the fourth-largest in Europe.

  • Port of Paris
    The Paris region has over 300 miles of navigable river routes, and the Autonomous Port of Paris is a French state entity that manages its port facilities. This is the most important river port system in France-the second most important in Europe-and was the country’s first inland container port. In handles over 130,000 TEUs of container traffic annually, as well as a large number of passengers.

Air Freight Transportation to France

If your schedule is tight or your shipment urgent, air freight may be more appropriate for your exports than ocean freight. There are some limitations on air freight in terms of volume and weight; consult the iContainers calculator to help determine your best option.