Air Freight / Sea Freight Services Qc Inspection Services Exporting From China
This is a follow up on our previous article entitled How to Send Small Quantities & Samples In and Out of China, based on my colleague Fabiens experience.
This time we are writing about the best way to send substantial quantities of products (over 100 kg) out of mainland China.
1. Air freight
For packages of more than 100-200 kg, sending bycargo planes that are run on a regular scheduleby commercial airlines is more economical thanusing courier services (DHL, FedEx, UPS, or TNT). The process of air freightis actually very similar tothat of sea freight (see section2 below) it isa littlesimpler and of course much faster.
Just like with sea freight, the goods need to be delivered to the airport. Transportation must be organized from thedestination airport to the final warehouse(s) to save money, some importers rent a truck to pick up the goods at the airport. (In any case, a broker is needed for customs clearance.)
2. Sea freight
This is the most complicated, yet the most economical way of sending alarge shipment of goods (beyond 2 or 3 pallets). Experience matters a great deal, and a lot of money can be wasted here.
Many people think that this service is verystandardized and all freight forwarders areequivalent. This is not the case! Some are 50% more expensive than others. (I wrote before about your4 optionsformanaging shipping and Customs issues.)
Sea freight can be divided in three stagesfor the sake of our analysis.
2.1From factory to port (EXW to FOB)
In most cases it is advisable to let the factory arrange this for a few hundred dollars extra. It willsave the importer a lot of hassle and costs. (To do this, ask your suppliers for a price based on the FOB incoterm rather than EXW.)
This stageincludes truck fees to the port, customs clearance and ship loading, along with someextra paperwork andfees. The price does not increase much with highervolumes, which is why many importers try to ship fullcontainers.
2.2 From port to port (FOB to CIF)
This is the real shipping cost. It isbased on volume mostly. The price to the US can vary from 30 to 100 USD per cubic meter, depending on the time of the year and the provider.This component of the pricecan usually be negotiated.
Insurance is also included in this stage on average it is 0.3% of the commercial value that was declared.
2.3 From port to final destination (CIF to DDU or DAP)
This stage includes taking the goods from the ship to your door, including paperwork, customs clearance, and last mile trucking.
Different freight forwarders will quote vastly different prices some will be up to 4 times more expensive than others!One reason for those differences isthat most providers subcontract this stageto a local provider that, often, they dont know.
Will you want touse the same provider for the complete shipment(door to door)? It is more convenient But will never hassle free unless an experienced team is working on this for you. In contrast,finding a broker and a shipper locally will usually save you money but might make coordination more complicated.
Another way to cutcosts is to find an international freight forwarderthat isparticularly dedicated to a certainzone (e.g.US west coast). However, they might be hard to find, depending on your area.
Finally, this stageholds the highest number ofsurprises in store expect problems with the bill of lading, the bonded number, and customs clearance.
2.4 Anything else you shouldworry about?
Yes! Chineselogistics providers are amongthe most creative when it comes tofinding a reason to raise their prices. Here isa list of common reasons for bumping up theprice:
The shipping company (the boat/airplane owner) just increased their price after we gave you a quotation, and you just shipped the goods to the port;
You need to pay duty tax in advance(they apply theworst case tax before they know how much that tax will be);
The packaging volume or weight is higher than initial estimate (their data are up to 20% higher than what you measured);
There are special services for batteries, lighters, scissors and other dangerous goods';
There is also a fee for XYZ (itwas mentioned in the fine print on the back of the quotation).
Should youexpect transparency from logisticsproviders? Unfortunately, this is not realistic their margin depends on lack of knowledge from their clients. This is the same as asking a manufacturer to give you a detailed breakdown of their costs.
Experienced shippers tend toconfirm everything in advance with freight forwarders, in order to avoid last-minute surprises. But, unless you are a large buyer, providersgenerally wont behave ethicallyand you might have to switch to a new provider after a few months/years.
Larger freight forwardersgenerally request more paperwork and have more complex processes than their smaller competitors, whooften ha