Shipping from China has been an issue for many traders and countries, ever since China opened up for global trade around 1980 and became an economic superpower in the 2000’s.
On the back of some dramatic growth in the last 30 odd years, China has grown into one of the most significant financial and economic muscles on the planet. Chinese goods have received a broad acceptance globally and many businesses are keen on importing goods from China.
However, the most painstaking obstacle that many face is how to go about shipping from China successfully. This might be a difficult task, especially for newbies and sometimes even the professionals.
I am sure that you wouldn’t like getting trapped by unnecessary delays, high delivery costs, and unreliable suppliers like many have.
Sunny Sun, the co-founder of BanSar, a professional freight forwarder in China has provided some tips on how to make shipping from China easier.
1. Get multiple quotations from multiple carriers
It’s always advisable to spread out the risks. In this instance, you could just as well go by, this algorithm (risk spreading) by contacting numerous carriers.
They are responsible for the overall shipping procedure till your desired destination from China.
Carriers will evaluate your cargo depending on:
- Container levies
- Packaging mode
- Terminal management fees
- Broker’s charge or fee
These are only the main factors. Other factors may exist depending on the carrier. Primarily, these fees would help you in forecasting the costs for shipping your consignment.
Depending on your destination, you can choose from several carriers operating from China. If you have substantial volumes, encouraging competition among the shipping lines will most likely get you a competitive cost to consider.
Good luck with this.
2. Use the correct packaging
Once you have selected your preferred carrier, it’s now time to deal with the products directly. The commodity will be ‘naked.’
This would mean that you need a packaging of which to wrap the products. Now that’s where the packaging comes in.
Packaging is vital due to the following reasons:
- It cushions the consignment from the unnecessary pressure that may lead to cargo damage.
- It presents an initial impression on the customers.
- It’s a mode of advertising and creating publicity for the shipping carrier.
There is a wide range of packaging options that may be used by your carrier. They may include:
- Utility oriented packaging
- Branded packaging
- Standard packaging
In the case of courier shipments, your carrier will supply you with their choice of packaging options depending on your goods and their services.
The most common standard packaging are:
- Bulk cargo boxes
- Corrugated pads
- Insulated shipping boxes
- Wooden Crates
- Multi-depth boxes
- Easy fold covers
- Side loaders e.t.c
Normally, every carrier cautiously selects a packaging since it’s core in affecting their profit margin. Most of them wouldn’t supply you with unfavorable packaging, which may significantly attract unnecessary costs.
3. Hire a reliable freight forwarder in china – they handle all logistics for you
This is one of the secrets to efficient shipping from China.
Shipping has several logistics processes that need to be worked out. To guarantee a successful completion of all this arithmetic you need a freight forwarder specialised in shipping goods to and from China.
A freight forwarder will handle all logistics operations and documentation process.
Some Chinese freight forwarders would duly organize the movement of your goods from the consignor to the port for shipping and also the transit of the consignment to the consignee’s warehouse in the destination country.
Hiring a competitive international forwarder ensures you gain accordingly.
They will ensure that your operations run smoothly without unnecessary interruptions. However, in case of emergency, they duly inform the client to solve it just in time.
Whenever you’re importing from China, these specialised freight forwarders can help you cut on shipping costs.
Essentially, hiring a reliable forwarder would ensure that your shipping process takes place at a faster rate.
This is also beneficial for you to meet the market demands without wastage of time.
4. Make sure your goods are insured
Cargo insurance is crucial for your goods. This would give you a sense of security in case of any unforeseen circumstances such as loss or damage to the products.
Acquiring a competitive cover for the whole consignment would allow you to have a free mind knowing that your goods are safe.
Numerous third-party companies offer insurance cover for the shipments. Whether your are a buyer or seller, it is the cargo owners responsibility to ensure that the goods are insured.
Always keep in touch with the freight forwarder and give them clear instructions to ensure covering the specific shipment for its particular worth. Never assume that the forwarders are aware of the net value of your cargo.
Again, note that the freight solely belongs to you and could present to you much loses if under insured.
It’s advisable for you to sufficiently cover the full worth of the shipment so that in the event of occurrence of emergency, you get the total value of your goods back.
Ensure the insurance company gives a detailed explanation of the liability covered. Also, the policy in a written format needs presentation.
5. Choose the right Incoterms® rules – it will help you handle risks, liability & cost easily
Selecting the right Incoterms®rules is essential in providing the best freight forwarding solutions. International commercial terms (Incoterms®) are widely used in the global freight network.
It comprises of a set of rules that clearly define and stipulate the responsibilities of the consignor and consignee.
The Incoterms® specify the risks borne by both the importers and exporters in the shipping procedure.
Expert freight forwarders have got vast knowledge and understanding of the proper Incoterms® for the clients. Therefore, keeping in touch with a reliable freight forwarder would ensure that you incorporate a useful Incoterms®.
Incoterms® can be applied to all modes of transport – air, sea, road or rail. Simply choose the right Incoterms® since they will help you to:
- Understand the obligations of buyer and seller like who organises carriage or insurance of the
goods or who obtains shipping documents and export or import licences;
- Understand where the risk passes from the seller to the buyer; and
- Understand which party is responsible for which costs
There are 11 Incoterms® rules for you to choose from in the latest Incoterms® 2020 version (and also the previous Incoterms® 2020 version) . Your chosen freight forwarder should have vast experience and expertise to guide you in selecting the right Incoterms® for your needs.
But be careful, even here there are fakes.
6. Consolidate your shipments
Let’s kick off from the basics.
Consolidated shipping means combining various consignments from varied suppliers into a single full container shipment.
Delivery of the total full container can then reach an agent in the country of destination.
On arrival at the destination port, the FCL should then be deconsolidated by the agent into its specific respective original cargo components.
It’s at this point that the various consignees now pick up their cargo.
Most shippers prefer consolidation since it affords them the opportunity of attaining reasonable shipping.
Why should you consolidate a cargo?
- It’s cost-effective.
- It minimizes risks of damages to the cargo
- Enhanced supervision and standard quality control
As you can see, you have every reason to consolidate your cargo.
7. Build long-term relationship with Chinese freight forwarders, suppliers & carriers
Many importers have got varying degrees of relationship with their shipping partners. From poor to excellent.
Once you acquire a reliable partner, it’s prudent that you maintain a professional and healthy contact amongst yourselves. The critical benefit lies in the fact that your transactions shall be prompt and cost-effective.
The rapport created would make your partners very willing to follow up and assist you whenever necessary.
Remember that sourcing for reliable and honest partners is quite a considerable task.
So how do you ensure that you maintain or even create such a long-lasting relationship between you and your partners?
Below are quick techniques to set things right.
- Define your expectations and roles.
- Duly plan for any emergency
- Try to be in personal touch with each other
- Few compliments and congratulatory messages
Remember, for Chinese freight forwarder and even shipping companies, long-term relationship matter a lot. You’ll most likely get better deals.
8. Ship during off-peak and avoid short notice shipping – it’s expensive
International freight shipping has got some few challenges. Occasionally, throughout the year it experiences some little issues commonly known as peak seasons.
The two main peak seasons are:
- Mid – August through Mid – October
- January – February Chinese New year
Throughout this period, the demand hikes, supply declines, containers become scarce,and hence the prices soar up.
This duration is much hectic for importers to meet their market demands.
The peak season is caused by back to school duration, the Black Friday allowance together with Cyber Monday.
In avoiding delays, it is advisable to do your business during the off-peak. You may as well place an advance shipping notice to your partners.
However, when trapped in the peak seasons due to unavoidable circumstances, here are a few tips to beat up the higher freight prices.
- Make it clear to your shipping partners, which shipments are highly urgent and prioritized. This way your freight forwarders may find and plan before securing a space for your shipping. Furthermore, the highly demanded goods will reach the market in time.
- If possible split your shipments so that you only transport the quantity that is possible enough to fit and handle during the time.
- Ensure that your cargo is fully insured to avoid any loss due to damages. Remember, during the peak seasons there is much of cargo handling which may lead to severe losses.
- Now, it’s time to bond with your trusted and loyal forwarders. You can rely on your partners to guide and direct you accordingly. That’s why the relationship between you and your forwarder need not be casual.
- If caught up, you may choose to secure a space in slower carriers. The peak season is favorite for everyone trying to fight for the faster carriers.
- Also following and tracking freight indexes will help.
What’s interesting is that the difference between the faster and slower ones isn’t much significant if you are a bit patient. Most likely it would be a difference of five to seven days.
What’s more, the slower freight carriers aren’t in demand at this time. An advantage is that they would cautiously handle your cargo with the aim of creating customer satisfaction to lure you back into their services.
Applause for reaching the end of this guide. It is that simple. I hope that these tips will help you with quick and efficient shipping from China. Good luck with your shipping business.