There are many elements when importing from China that many importers don’t understand. The shipping China process is one such factor. Manufacturing products with the proper quality and meeting customer delivery expectation is enough to make one gasp at times. Many merchandising buyers prefer not to get involved, and this is exactly where issues are born. There is no shortage of avoidable mistakes.

Here are a few basic tips to consider when shipping from China.

1. Get A Quote

Speak with someone in the know regarding various shipping options. All the details regarding your order must be communicated. These include factory location and destination, product details, HS Codes, quantity, size of shipment (dimensions) and shipping weights. Advising the projected time of shipping is also very important. The agent can quote for your goods from door to door.

2. Confirm the Quote

When you are sourcing, you will want to know the delivered price before ordering. Confirm a shipping quote before buying. Don’t be the last to know! Lock in your rate. With repeat orders where all shipping data is known, try locking in rates for 2-3 months. Fluctuations in shipping costs could eat away at your profits.

3. Shipping order on the move

Once you start production your shipping agent should start moving your order forward with their Chinese counterpart. Communicating with your supplier to estimate production-ready dates helps to book space on the ship. You can now plan for the arrival and supplying goods to your clients.

4. Collection and Customs

When the goods reach the port of loading, they must pass China customs inspection. Your supplier is responsible for providing the correct information. Your shipping agent must work on your behalf to ensure the paperwork is correct.

5. On the Water

It can take up to one week to load. The ship won’t leave immediately once the ship sails think about paperwork. This will include:

  • 1 x Original Bill of Lading (“Airway bill” for Air shipments)
  • 1 x Packing List
  • 1 x Commercial Invoice
  • 1 x Packing Declaration
  • 1 x Certificate of Origin

The bill of lading is like a shipping receipt sent from your agent to your supplier. The supplier will release the shipment to you once you pay the balance of the order (common payment terms).

6. Documents

Your freight agent needs at least 7 days before the ship is due to land. This means customs brokerage is processed quickly and you can take delivery of your goods without delay.

7. Clearing Customs

Your shipping agent and broker will work with customs. You must settle any invoices with your shipping agent immediately. They can hold you, hostage, at this point, and you could incur charges (demurrage).

Once you clear the shipment, arrange a suitable time for you to take delivery. If you didn’t order your shipment palletized your cartons will need to be unloaded by hand.

…more to follow in our next blog on topic. Thanks for stopping by!



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