Shipping goods From China: by Post, Courier, Air or Sea?
We know that choosing the best shipping and freight options for you will vary on your unique business and shipping needs. There are a lot of different options, so it will be important to think through which shipping method you want to use, and which party will manage your shipping needs.
Shipping Methods from China
There are multiple ways you can choose to ship something. You can send it by sea, air, post or courier.
Depending on what you need to ship and where you need to ship it, you may need to consider different options that can be vastly different in freight charges or costs and transit time.
Obviously, we want to help you make the best decision for your budget and shipping needs.
Courier Shipping from China
If you choose an express courier service like DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT (which is the most common choice for those who are just starting out) you can rest assured that your package is in good hands.
Check our courier dedicated service page and read all our tips
You will also enjoy faster delivery times and online tracking capabilities that some other options don’t offer. Most of the shipments can make it around the world in 2-5 days, which is a huge plus if you are worried about long shipping times with other options.
Choosing this option will probably be more costly because you are paying for convenience, speed and low stress.
Why choose a courier company?
For more information about Courier Company in China, please refer to this page.
The cost will vary by weight but that is true for any shipping option. This option will give you a safe and seamless delivery that will only require a signature once the package is delivered.
In most cases, using one of these companies is safe, reliable and quick which is another plus.
Air freight shipping from China
You can also choose airfreight to get your packages to where they need to go. This is a good option for those that have weight requirements that are too big for couriers.
Get best rates and for air-freight from China
The cost to ship by airfreight is usually much lower than the courier services which can be a benefit especially if you have a large load.
This can be a pretty good option for those shipping requirements that have tight deadlines or need a higher level of security.
Shipping with airfreight depending on where it’s going, and the schedule of the airlines will usually reach its destination within 2-10 days which isn’t bad for shipping times.
Once the packages land, there are some additional steps that will need to be taken with customs and documentation that will need to be dealt with instead of the big couriers handling the process for you, but again we can help you with this.
These are steps that can be outsourced if it’s not something you have the time, energy, patience or know-how to deal with.
Another option to send your packages is through regular post like China or Hong Kong Post.
This is not ideal because your packages will take weeks to arrive at their destination (2-5 weeks on average).
This is definitely the cheapest way to go, but it’s not always a safe bet and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that your packages will get lost or misplaced. When this happens, they can be very hard to track.
Sea freight services from China: The cost-effective option
The other option is to send your goods by sea freight.
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While this option can take the longest (3-60 days on average depending on where you are located and where it’s going), this is an ideal method of shipping for those who have a massive amount of goods to ship and can really be a great, economical choice assuming you have given yourself enough time to wait for the shipment.
Why sea freight is the most common shipping methods used by Chinese shipper?
Another reason this is a good choice is because the types of goods and packages sent by this method are diverse and vary greatly.
This is one of the most used options in logistics because it’s so flexible and can carry so many different types of goods and shipments. With this mode you will also have to take care of customs clearance and documentation and once your goods reach the port you will have to figure out how to get them from the port to your facility or warehouse.
Most people in Australia, Canada, the United States and Europe chose to us a to-door service, which requires that you pay for your freight charges and then the additional service will make sure your goods make it to your specified address with very little hassle. Large, bulky and extremely heavy shipments are great for this type of shipping.
Is it possible to combine freight methods?
Quite often though, a combination of these shipping methods may be used to get your Chinese sourced goods to their destination.
Every shipping plan will look different and may be driven by cost, shipping times, the security needed for your good or the size of your shipment. These shipping costs will make up a large part of your overall product budget and you should never overlook the shipping costs when budgeting.
These prices and costs will change and so you should budget in for those changes.
Should You Use a Freight Forwarder for Your Shipping Management?
There are all sorts of shipping agents that would be happy to sign on as your shipping management to make sure your products get to where they are going in a timely manner.
A lot of inexperienced importers will let the supplier manage all of the shipping and will tell them what port it needs to go to and the shipping address and then will let the supplier figure it out.
That can be good or bad. It’s good in the sense that it’s one less thing you need to worry about but can be bad because you may end up overpaying for your shipping.
Do it Yourself?
Many larger groups have opted to take care of all the shipping arrangements internally so that they have full control over the process and the ultimate cost of getting the goods shipped.
They will usually end up directly booking space with airlines, trucking companies, shipping lines etc. and they also deal with the customs declarations in both the importing and exporting countries.
Having to manage all of this yourself can be a lot to handle, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the practice or process.
You certainly can choose this option however, just make sure you have a good process in place to follow up with your order and handle any unexpected things that come up.
You’ll want to check in with the carriers frequently and know what questions to ask to figure out where your shipment is and where it’s going.
If a problem arises you will need to troubleshoot the issue and figure out what to do to minimize the impact it has on your business or your budget.
Most people realize that they don’t have the bandwidth to deal with all of this themselves and they know that their time is most valuable – and most enterprises simply don’t have the resources to try to deal with everything themselves.
SINO Shipping – An expert in door-to-door services
SINO Shipping has been operating for many years between China and the entire World. This experience allows the company to deliver door-to-door services from China to the country of your choice quickly, smoothly and efficiently.
What is a door-to-door service?
Door-to-door services are end-to-end logistic services that allow to transport your goods from your warehouse / factory / home to the agreed final destination. These services, also called “all-in” transportation solutions allow each customer to entrust his goods to a professional for a successful and efficient shipment.
As part of these services, you choose both the pick-up and delivery locations. The staff in charge of your shipment fully take care of your goods from beginning to the end, based on your requirements and recommendations:
- You choose the pick-up location: supplier’s factory, warehouse, port or international airport
- You choose the final delivery location: your warehouse, your customer, your house …
These services come with all the complex administrative procedures to respect (customs clearance etc.) and enable you to get your goods delivered with complete peace of mind.
SINO Shipping handles everything for you!
SINO Shipping is committed to adapt to your requirements and to offer a tailored logistic service for every single customer. We can pick your goods up at the location of your choice, and deliver your shipment to any places in the world.
You are based abroad and you don’t want to travel to China? Our teams will provide you with a full online support. We will arrange pick-up in China and delivery at your convenience.
The reverse is possible too: the process will be the same for your shipment from Europe to China, and we will ensure the same permanent follow-up during the whole shipping process.
How does it work?
For every single shipment, our expertise is at your service. Every step of the logistics chain will be carefully handled by an SINO expert, dedicated to provide you with a successful and hassle-free process:
- Pick-up and transfer of your goods
- Packing or storage services if required
- Transport documents (packing list, commercial invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin …)
- Handling, loading and unloading at the port or airport, customs clearance for export and import.
- Freight to all ports / airports around the world
- Delivery to your final address
Door to door Express
For goods weighing less than 150 kg, you can use our express door-to-door service. Our longstanding partnerships with airlines; like FEDEX, DHL, TNT or UPS is the guarantee of a high-quality service and highly-competitive prices on the market.
Door to Door services from China – A step by Step Guide
A door-to-door service is made up of five physical steps and two administrative steps. Since each step comes with significant costs, it is essential to agree with the carrier on the responsibilities of each part before transporting the goods. Incoterms is the only tool that will enable you to clearly define responsibilities during the whole process.
Transport from the factory to the warehouse
The transfer of goods from the supplier’s factory to the freight forwarder’s warehouse is called the “Export Haulage”. This first step generally includes the use of one or several trucks (possibly trains), and usually takes only a few days depending on the distance to be traveled.
The party responsible for the logistic organization and for the payment of transport for export will depend on the agreement between the supplier and the buyer. If the agreement stipulates that the buyer is responsible for the shipment, then the buyer must arrange the transportation of the goods from the factory to the agreed final destination.
On the other hand, if the agreement stipulates that the buyer takes responsibility for the transport half-way, the sender will be in charge of the shipment since this first step.
Export Customs declaration
Customs clearance for export is required by the authorities of the country of origin to register all cargoes leaving the territory. Customs clearance is carried out by an authorized customs broker.
A document declaring carefully every items contained in the cargo is required, as well as other supporting administrative documents (e.g. Chinese export licenses).
Origin handling charges and services
The handling of the goods before departure comes with several tasks to be performed by the freight forwarder or the agent. The freight forwarder receives the goods after unloading the truck to proceed to a detailed inspection of the shipment. The cargo will be accepted after inspecting the packing and controlling all the administrative documents.
Handling at the port / airport of loading
Once the shipment has been accepted, it is stored in the warehouse and loaded into a container for shipment to the agreed port / airport of destination. The goods can be loaded on one or several containers depending on the total volume of the shipment. If the volume is insufficient to fill an entire container, the shipment will be loaded into a shared container with goods from other customers, to reach the same final destination port. This is what we call LCL shipments (Less than a container load).
A few days before departure, the various shipments are packed in the container and transported by truck to the port / airport. The container is stacked with other containers to be loaded on the same vessel.
Sea or air freight ?
Door-to-door service takes freight into consideration in the shipping option which will be offered. Depending on its needs and expectations, the buyer has the choice between air freight or ocean freight.
The choice of freight is influenced by two main factors:
- The volume / weight of the goods
- The urgency of the situation
The main difference between ocean freight and air freight is transit time. In fact, air freight only takes a few days for an European-Asian route (for example, only 5-7 days for China-UK door-to-door) while this transit time goes up to at least one month by sea ( 40/45 days by sea freight for China-UK, door to door).
Customs clearance on arrival
The authorities require import customs clearance on arrival for all goods entering the country. This step consists in declaring the goods and their values in order to determine the amount of the duty payable (in case there is no exemption).
Customs clearance consists of presenting all the required documentation to the customs authorities to get the cargo released and move on with the process. The customs clearance process can begin even before the shipment reaches its destination and must be over before the shipment crosses the country’s trade barriers. Cargo is considered as entering the country when it crosses the border and leaves a customs zone (or international zone).
A freight forwarder, its agent or a designated customs broker may perform the customs clearance as long as they hold a valid license. The person in charge of the customs clearance should receive all the documents required to get the process started. Usually, the process can be started with scanned copies of the documents, even though some authorities require originals before they can fully complete the process.
Unless the Incoterm DDP applied to the shipment (Customs Duty Paid), it is the buyer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for customs clearance. Often, it is easier to let your freight forwarder, or the agent clear your shipment, as long as they have all the necessary documents.
Handling at destination
Multiple tasks must be completed once the cargo reaches its final destination. It begins when the shipment is received, and the documents are being verified by the agent there. Then, the container is taken out of the storage unit at the port and transported to the destination warehouse where the cargo is inspected and sorted for delivery or collection.
Delivery to destination
The transfer of the cargo from the warehouse to the consignee’s address is designated as “destination or import haulage”. One or several trucks (sometimes even a train) are hired to transport the goods to the warehouse. This step can take a few days, depending on the distance.
In a door-to-door service, the transport is carried out by the forwarder who takes care of the final delivery. The customer can also pick up the goods at the freight forwarders warehouse and then handle the final delivery on his own. Usually, individuals / companies operating on a tight budget opt for this solution, which is obviously quite cheaper.