How Small Businesses can ship freight from China?

If your small business has plans to start ship freight from China, then you first need to ensure that you understand the basic guidelines for shipping from China to other countries around the world. In this guide to international shipping, you will start to grasp some of the basics, such as the export standards and customs procedures, average transit times, and busiest routes.

Whether you own a Chinese-based business or have a firm that is located elsewhere, this article can be of assistance. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how your small business can begin shipping freight from China.

There are rules and regulations

When it comes to the rules and regulations for shipping freight from China, national and international laws as well as individual carrier and carrier organization regulations all play a role in the definition and restriction process. China has a list of materials that may not be exported at all.

However, the main thing to note is that there is no standardization of customs requirements and procedures in China; the requirements vary from region to region. Therefore, before you can start shipping freight from China, you will need to educate yourself on the exact protocols for the Chinese port where your goods will be moving.

As the exporter, you will be responsible for the preparation and submission of customs entry and declaration documents. As they can be challenging to put together, most exporters turn to professional specialists such as an international freight forwarder with a Chinese branch, a Chinese-based global shipping company, or a Chinese customs broker.

By ensuring documents are completed correctly and filed accordingly, the services of these types of agencies are invaluable for exporters. For example, you can simply provide your freight forwarder with the necessary information, and they will take care of your documentation.

However, if you are the recipient of goods from China, you don’t have complete responsibility until the shipment legally reaches you. That being said, you want to ensure that your Chinese supplier has all the requirements covered; otherwise, you may find that your goods are delayed or held indefinitely at a Chinese port.

Consider the cost

One of the most important considerations you have to make when choosing your freight transportation is the cost. Generally, if you are looking to ship small goods from China, such as new product samples, then it is probably best to use the regular post or an international courier. These tend to be the cheapest shipping modes for packages or small shipments up to around 150 kg.

If your shipments are between 150 and 500 kg, then standard air freight is the best option. Airfreight is by far the fastest option; however, it is also the most expensive. If your shipment goes over 500 kg, then you certainly want to consider ocean freight. This type of freight transportation offers tremendous economies of scale.

If you don’t have enough material to fill an entire ocean freight container, then you can opt to ship a less-than-container load (LCL). In this scenario, several shipments are consolidated and arranged into one container. Keep in mind that each shipping mode has its aggregate of base and variable costs. Methods with a lower base cost are more affordable for smaller loads, while methods with lower variable weight charges are the more economical options for more substantial cargoes – even though they start with a higher base cost.

Think about the time

In addition to considering the cost of each shipping mode, you also need to think about how long each shipment will take. For many businesses, the cost of missing sales is higher than the cost of freight. Generally, the average times for shipping freight from China to the USA are one to two weeks for regular post, three days for express freight, eight to 10 days for air freight, and 30-40 days for ocean freight.

That being said, if you are based in an Asian country, you will most likely receive ocean freight shipments from China in a few days. The cargo routes from Xiamen to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) or Nagoya (Japan) take three and five days, respectively.

Similarly, air freight from China to the rest of Asia is speedy. Shipping packages by plane from Beijing to Seoul (South Korea) will only require two hours. The longest part of air freight for Asian recipients is the time freight spends waiting at the border.

The opposite is true when shipping freight from China to the United States. Flights from Shanghai to Chicago can take up to 13 hours of flying time. If you are sending packages from China to Europe by air freight, you can expect the duration to be from nine to 12 hours. For example, Guangzhou to London (UK) takes 12 hours, while Beijing to Copenhagen (Denmark) takes nine hours.  An international freight forwarder will be able to present you with quotes for all the routes from China. The best China freight forwarders will have all parts of the world covered thanks to their vast database and array of logistics partners.

Final Thoughts

As a small business looking to start exporting from China, you must partner with an online freight-forwarding platform that is going to help you succeed. You deserve to work with people who recognize the importance of fast, trouble-free exports from China and who know how to make that happen.

A good online freight-forwarding platform makes it straightforward to obtain a quote, book, pay and track your shipments. Moreover, true logistics specialists aid you in ensuring that your shipping documentation is all in order, decreasing the possibility of delays in transit or at customs facilities. If you are going to do this right, you need to do it properly from the start, so don’t overlook how the professionals can help.

Is your small business thinking of starting to export from China? Why or why not? If you have already started, do you have any tips or relevant insights for other readers? Let us know in the comments below!

This article was authored by Paul Rehmet, Chief Product Officer, Shipa Freight. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways.

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