How will you get your products from China to your warehouse?
Don’t assume that the Chinese factory will do this for you or fail to include the cost in your price calculations. Did the factory quote FOB pricing – Free On Board?
You will need to find a suitable China freight forwarder to handle the shipping from China.
Firstly you should understand that China freight forwarders buy in bulk from the carriers or shipping companies. If your volume is large enough, perhaps 50 containers per year, you should look into contacting the carriers directly.
For most businesses however Chinese freight forwarders are the logical solution. Now when by buying in bulk to achieve discounts it follows that freight forwarders doing more business can achieve better discounts and therefore lower prices.
Contact at Least 10 China Freight Forwarders in Order to Find the Best Price
During this process use the same verification procedures that you used on the manufacturers to ensure they are real and capable of shipping your shipment and will not disappear while your container is half way across the Pacific – it happens!
Know the China Customs Regulations and Your Home Country’s Custom Rules
Question the China freight forwarder company on their customs procedures, ensure they aren’t making any short cuts which lower the price making them more attractive, but could lead to disastrous delays down the track.
Will your products require specialised inspections or a fumigation certificate for example?
Don’t take it for granted that the China freight forwarder will know this is required – this is how you end up with large bills for temporary storage fees while your shipment sits in customs.
Know the Shipping Route Your Shipment Will Take.
In many countries shipments will go through land borders and therefore may be faced by additional customs requirements.
For example we often ship to a client in Uganda, while researching the shipping route we discovered that during the land voyage across Kenya, the containers had a lower maximum shipping weight than they do during ocean freight.
From then on the client had to take this into account when ordering and we had to ensure containers weren’t loaded to exceed this new maximum weight.
Additional shipping checklist:
- Who will arrange shipment from the factory to the Chinese freight forwarders warehouse?
- Who will confirm that all the items arrived and they arrived undamaged?
- Who will inspect and where necessary replace packaging?
- Who will arrange replacement of damaged products?
- In the event of multiple factories for one shipment, who will coordinate the factories to ship everything during a 1-3 day free storage window?
- Who will oversee the actual loading of the container in China?
- Who will ensure cartons are labelled correctly and packed to your requirements?
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, shipping of your product is a crucial time where a lot of things can go wrong.
A lot of the tasks are mundane but if overlooked your shipment could be delayed or rejected at customs.
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