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Sea vs Air from China

AnAverageJoe

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Please excuse me if this question has already been answered. I have checked the forums and found a bit about it, but I'd like to ask a few more questions.

I'm discussing shipping with my supplier at the moment. If I understand all of this correctly, air shipping is more expensive, but much simpler. If air shipping is possible always choose to ship via air to save yourself some time/effort, correct? The only time it's not possible to ship through air is if you have shipments over 100lbs?

If my first shipment is over 100lbs and I do have to ship via Sea, it's best for me to use a freight forwarder that can be suggested by my supplier, and that freight forwarder can refer me to a partner company in my state? Will the freight forwarder know the correct port to ship it to? All of the paperwork is taken care of the freight forwarder? Once my shipment arrives in my state I can then hire a company to pick it up and deliver it to me if I can't/don't want to pick it up myself?

Thank you guys so much for any help you can provide!
 
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Longinus

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If you have a good forwarder, they can help you with the decision.

With that weight, it can even be sent by express to your door which will be much faster and it spares you a bunch of administration.

Send me a PM if you want details of my forwarder.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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If air shipping is possible always choose to ship via air to save yourself some time/effort, correct?

Wrong. If you're doing tiny quantities, or small/lightweight products then do air shipping. If you're doing heavy products, or large products, then do sea shipping.

The calculation you're running is: Value of having shipment 22 days sooner vs Money saved by shipping via ocean.

For example, a recent shipment of mine was $5,500 via air. $600 via sea. Is the $4,900 worth 22 days sooner delivery? 99% of the time it's not. But the client had an urgent order, so I paid the extra $4,900 for air shipping. But 99% of the time I'd go with sea.

The only time it's not possible to ship through air is if you have shipments over 100lbs?

You can ship whatever quantities you want if you pay enough.

Will the freight forwarder know the correct port to ship it to?

Yes. Tell them your final destination and then they'll handle it.
 

AnAverageJoe

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Wrong. If you're doing tiny quantities, or small/lightweight products then do air shipping. If you're doing heavy products, or large products, then do sea shipping.

The calculation you're running is: Value of having shipment 22 days sooner vs Money saved by shipping via ocean.

For example, a recent shipment of mine was $5,500 via air. $600 via sea. Is the $4,900 worth 22 days sooner delivery? 99% of the time it's not. But the client had an urgent order, so I paid the extra $4,900 for air shipping. But 99% of the time I'd go with sea.



You can ship whatever quantities you want if you pay enough.



Yes. Tell them your final destination and then they'll handle it.
Thanks a lot for the information. It's good to know shipping via sea saves that much money.
 
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AnAverageJoe

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If you have a good forwarder, they can help you with the decision.

With that weight, it can even be sent by express to your door which will be much faster and it spares you a bunch of administration.

Send me a PM if you want details of my forwarder.
Thanks a lot. I'll be in contact.
 

Walter Hay

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Thanks a lot. I'll be in contact.
It's worth noting that some confusion exists in the minds of new importers regarding air shipping. There are 2 main kinds of air shipping:

1. Air courier
2. Air freight

The first is a breeze, because everything is handled by the couriers. The second can be as complicated as sea freight. The big trap to be wary of with air freight is the inward airport charges. Make sure you know what they will cost before you arrange shipment.

I wouldn't ask your supplier to suggest a freight forwarder, because they will invariably suggest a Chinese one and that might not work well for you. Look for a forwarder more or less in your area.

Regarding volume, I once air freighted nearly a ton for a customer whose production line had to shut down because they had foolishly run out of supplies of my product. They paid the freight, which cost them more than the product.

Walter
 

AnAverageJoe

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Thanks a lot Walter, I appreciate the information.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 
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YoungPadawan

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If a package that I would like shipped is 25 pounds, and my supplier is quoting $170 for economy shipping via air (China Post I think), would finding a freight consolidator via sea freight be a good option for a single, 25 pound package? Or is air courier service going to be the best that I'm going to get because of such a small shipment?
 

Walter Hay

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If a package that I would like shipped is 25 pounds, and my supplier is quoting $170 for economy shipping via air (China Post I think), would finding a freight consolidator via sea freight be a good option for a single, 25 pound package? Or is air courier service going to be the best that I'm going to get because of such a small shipment?
Sea freight for such a small shipment would be far too expensive.

If your supplier has a normal discount rate from air couriers the courier charge should be less than what you have been quoted for economy air via China Post.

Walter
 
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YoungPadawan

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Sea freight for such a small shipment would be far too expensive.

If your supplier has a normal discount rate from air couriers the courier charge should be less than what you have been quoted for economy air via China Post.

Walter
Thanks for the reply Walter. Yeah, I've gotten a few different quotes for prepaying the courier charges (using the supplier's discounted rates) and $170 was the lowest price I was able to get. The others were over $200. The shipping is costing much more than the product itself.

I may have to look more into manufacturers in Mexico and Canada. I tried contacting the few U.S. manufacturers of the product I'm looking for, but I didn't get a reply.
 

Walter Hay

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Shipping cost can make a huge difference. My importing business operated on the assumption that freight would always cost about as much as the cost of the goods themselves.

This is only sustainable if you are able to buy at very low prices, which I what we achieved. I have no doubt that my personal visits were a big factor in that, particularly when operating originally as a small family business.

As the business expanded and our suppliers were receiving new orders from our franchisees every day, our business became extremely important to most of our suppliers. This became a huge bargaining tool.

Suppliers can have very different attitudes to passing on freight savings. The discounts they can get are very substantial. I have recently been quoted by a Chinese agent that acts for three courier services, and the rates they quote are incredibly low.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend them because in my research I have found many complaints about service problems. Only one related to the fees charged, so it seems that their price quotes are genuine, and those prices are well below what many of my book users report being charged or quoted.

You have little alternative but to shop around and negotiate, although buying closer to home can definitely save a huge amount on freight.

Walter
 

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