How To Arrange Shipment From China | A Detailed Guide
Welcome to our detailed guide on shipping from China. China is the number one trading country in the world. In 2019, the country ranked first in exports with an export value of about 2.5 trillion US dollars. So, you can face some hassle when importing from China. That’s why we created a detailed guide on how to ship from China. After reading this article, you will get every answer on bringing your shipment from China.
Table of Content
- Prepare Your Documentation
- Documentation you need to import from china
- Customs documentation you should get from a China port
- Importer and exporters responsibilities
- China export limitation and restrictions
- Preparing The Goods You Want to Ship From China
- Select the good you want to import
- Check whether your country permits those goods
- Purchase Process
- Classify the goods and calculate the landed cost.
- Pick your supplier and place the order
- Things to consider before shipping from China
- Timing is essential before selecting a shipping method from China.
- Shortest and longest transit time from China
- Be aware of the Chinese holidays.
- Available shipping methods.
- How long does it take to ship from China
- Shipping by express courier
- Shipping by air freight
- Shipping by sea freight
- Be aware of Covid-19
- Cost of shipping from China
- Freight cost
- Landed cost
- What is the cheapest method of shipping from China
- Manage your shipping
- For big shipment, take the complete control
- Work with a freight forwarder from your country for the convenience
- Work with a freight forwarder from China to speed up your shipping
- Work with a freight forwarder from both side for speed and money
- Track your cargo and prepare for the arrival of your goods
- Double check your documents
- How to speed up the clearance process
- Get customs clearance and obtain your shipment from China
1. Prepare Your Documentation To Import From China
When you purchase goods from a foreign country, you turn into an importer. Every country has its own export-import policy. So, before you plan on importing goods and bringing shipment from China, you should complete all the legal procedures cleanly, not to face any hassle from getting your shipment from China later.
1.1 The Documentation You Need To Import From China
Before taking shipment from China to your country, you must have import rights. These import rights may vary for different countries as each country creates its own business policy. Let us demonstrate some approaches from some specific countries.
For the USA: For USA citizens importing from China is very easy. All you need is just your social security number (SSN) provided by your government or the company’s internal revenue service number.
For EURO: If you are from any EURO country before importing from China, you have to register as an economic operator.
In Japan: If you are a Japanese citizen and willing to import from China, you have to declare yourself to the Director-General of Customs. Besides, you will have to get an import permit after the necessary examination regarding which goods you are going to import.
In Canada: In Canada, the process is also easy. You will have to get a Business Number from the Canada Revenue Agency.
In Australia: In Australia, the process is the easiest one. Both individuals and business people can import goods from anywhere in the world without any import license.
Many import rules are only applied to goods imported for commercial purposes. The customs authority owns the complete jurisdiction of releasing shipments.
Identical bags or large amounts of goods will have a tough time getting customs clearance if you do not declare them as personal use materials. So, before bringing shipment from China, make sure what you are importing and what declarations you made.
1.2 Customs Documentation You Should Get From A China Port
When you are importing from China, you must have some necessary customs documentation for future clearance. Here is a list of documents you must collect from the port. Remember, every port in China is bound to deliver these documents for your shipment from China.
- A customs entry document
- A customs declaration
- A commercial invoice
- A Packing List
- An export license
1.3 Importer And Exporters Responsibilities
The exporter must submit the customs entry and declaration documents before making international shipping from China. But, they can take help from any of the following specialists for shipment from China:
- Any international freight forwarder that has a Chinese branch;
- Any global shipping company in China;
- A Chinese customs broker.
The above-mentioned personals or agencies are experts in the import-export trade, and they can help you by filling every document as per the rules.
But, If you are the importer, you don’t have to do anything before the shipment from China comes under your possession.
But you should still confirm your Chinese supplier has covered all the processing properly before shipping products from China. It will ensure that the Chinese port doesn’t make any delay in clearing your shipment.
1.4 China Export Limitation And Restrictions
The Chinese government demands that all exports follow the licensing regulations before doing international shipping from China. Some countries do not follow this regulation, such as in the United States government apply licensing only to some specific products rather than all products.
Other restrictions applied by the Chinese Government are more or less the same as other nations, such as products and materials classified as military and commercial.
China also restricts exporting some raw materials, especially those that are known as rare earth elements. Though the World Trade Organization does not permit these restrictions, the Chinese government applies this nevertheless.
China also keeps a list of some materials that nobody can export at all. You can find a detailed guide on which you can not export from the Chinese customs official website.
You can export other products other than those which are enlisted as ‘prohibited products to export’ by the Chinese government. But we suggest you get some advice from a Chinese freight forwarder or directly from the Chinese customs office before you start planning on shipment from China.
2. Preparing The Goods You Want To Ship From China
Every business makes money by selling goods. So, if you choose the wrong products, you are going to lose your time and money from your shipment from China. China is a place where you just don’t find various types of products and products of multiple qualities. So, before selecting a product, you have to do your research and choose the best product that you can resell by shipping from China.
You have to choose products that are going to stand up if you are using your name behind those. So, you should search for something to be proud of selling. Remember, your product does not just define your business; your product is your business.
2.1. Select The Good You Want To Import
Before selecting a product and shipping products from China, make sure you research it well and be sure that there’s a market or niche for the goods you are planning to import from China. Moreover, you should prepare a rough calculation on how much your product can cost so that you can get a reasonable profit from that shipment from China.
So, you should research and gather as much information as possible about the products you are planning to import from China.
Collect and read articles on that product, raw materials of that product, current market demand, users’ reviews, and if possible, obtain a sample.
If you can gather all the information, it will be easy for you to calculate the tariff and make different decisions on your shipment from China.
- Do not sell anything you do not like. You should have passion for that product.
- Find a unique product or uniqueness in an old product so that you can sell that at a high price.
- Select a product you can ship in large quantities. It is not easy to ship your products frequently.
You should not always go for ‘hot’ or ‘cheap’ always. Most people get stuck searching in this loop of hot and cheap products and can not earn profits. Do the research, find a product you have a passion for, and go for it. Trading is not all about money; it also demands passion.
2.2 Check Whether Your Country Permits Those Goods
Some countries do not permit certain products. Prohibition of products may vary from country to country. So, before bringing your shipment from China, you should check whether your home country or the country you intend to export products are permitted by the authority.
Remember, for your shipment from China, it’s your responsibility to know the rules, not the exporters. We suggest you do not import the following products from China.
- Dairy Products
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Livestock and Animals
- Meat, Poultry and Egg Products
- Plants and Plant Products
- Wood Packing Materials
- Tobacco-Related Products
- Flammable Fabrics
- Multi-Purpose Lighters
- Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, And Medical Devices
- Gold and Silver
- Animal Fur
- Trademarks and Trade Names
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Motor Vehicles And Boats
- Branded products
Importing unsafe goods can fail to meet health code requirements. If the authority ceases your delivery from China, they will destroy those and fine you to import those products. Before making your international shipping from China, you should list restricted products by your country in your hand.
3. Purchase Process
After selecting the products, it’s time to purchase the product and take your shipment from China. This is the most crucial step when you are importing from China. So, before planning on shipping products from China, you should follow the following steps.
3.1 Classify The Goods And Calculate The Landed Cost
First, find out the classification number, which is a ten-digit number you have to use for every product you are shipping from China. The rate of your duty that you have to pay depends on this classification number and Certificate of Origin. When you are done with this, then calculate the landed cost.
We suggest you follow these steps:
- Tell your supplier to provide the product price
- Tell the freight forwarder or agent for their charge (For door to door shipping, that will be enough)
- Find the charges of customs clearance, duty & tax,
- Transport cost to deliver the product to your warehouse
It’s critical to get landed prices because your customers won’t like a high-priced product, and you will face economic damage from shipment from China.
It’s not possible to find out the exact cost of your delivery from China before it arrives. That’s why you should estimate the costs of your shipment from China as accurately as possible.
Some unexpected expenses may come through the process, so always keep some margin when calculating your landed cost for your shipment from China.
3.2 Pick Your Supplier And Place The Order
After selecting the product and supplier, it’s time to place your order. Place the order with the vendor, shipper, or exporter and find out all shipping terms you are going to face.
After selecting the supplier, ask for your Proforma Invoice for the product you are purchasing and tell them to include the harmonized system number, description & value per item. You have to show the weight & dimensions of the package on your Proforma Invoice.
A Proforma invoice is not a purchase order for your shipment from China; it is a non-binding document to help you budget your future purchase.
- Ensure your supplier agrees to ship under FOB terms from his nearest port or airport as it will reduce the time and cost.
- Bear in mind sea routes are really slow, and this shipping method demands a lot more long-term planning. Besides, the time you need to export goods, with legal papers, land travel, customs clearance, Vat&Tax, and port or terminal processing for a container of products can take up to 7 days.
- In general, we suggest you order a product 3 months prior you intend to take your delivery from China in your warehouse.
We Suggest NOT
Always do not go for the cheapest product. If the quotation at your hand is significantly lower than other quotations, then you should not take that offer. In China, there are no lowest prices, only the lower and lower prices. So, if you get the lowest price, it indeed not a quality product, and you will lose your reputation in the business and face economic loss. Just find a reliable supplier and healthily grow with them.
If you don’t clear your demanded specifications clearly to the supplier, there is a high risk that you won’t get the exact product you asked for. Make sure you cross-check the materials and the manufacturing process of every quote so you can be 100% confirm about the shipment from China.
International trade depends on reciprocal trust. If you don’t show faith in your supplier, nobody will take care of your products in the factory. Moreover, nobody will genuinely help you if you face any trouble with your shipment from China afterward. So, show trust in your supplier and maintain a healthy business relationship.
4. Things To Consider Before International Shipping From China
There is no “Best Universal Shipping Method” to ship from China. It would be best if you answered the following questions before importing from China.
- Product and Load – What are you going to ship, and how big is your shipment?
- Destination –Where is your shipment going?
- Timing Requirements – When do you get the shipment in your hand?
Product and Load: Some products like aerosol cans, strong magnets are tough to ship by air. And you can ship items like lithium-ion batteries via air. Still, lithium-ion batteries’ needed documentation is often challenging for suppliers to deliver, and can only specialized aircraft ships them. So, typically it is easier to ship batteries by sea freight. So, before deciding the shipment method, find out which shipping method will be best for you.
Some products are too heavy to make delivery from China. You can use the rail transport method for those types of products.
In some cases, it is better to bring your shipment from China by air. products are having dimensions less than one cubic meter are typically best for air shipments. High-value cargo is always safer to ship via air, and sometimes the insurance companies make it mandatory to ship high-value cargo via air.
Destination: Most reputable China third-party logistics agencies offer to deliver shipment from China to warehouses, commercial buildings, or even residential places. But sometimes, it could be challenging to provide a container to a place where unloading the shipment from China is not that easy. So, you should consider the end destination and the process of how you are planning to unload the cargo.
Timing Requirements: If you need your shipment from China urgently, shipping by air is the fastest way.
But, If timing is not that important, you can ship products by sea freight to the nearest port close to your location as it is the most economical way.
4.1 Timing Is Essential Before Selecting A Shipping Method From China
We know timing is one of the highest priorities when you ship from China. But is there any ideal way to calculate your shipment’s exact time to arrive from China to your warehouse? And will you just find your answer there, or will you consider other things?
Let’s elaborate on the situation with a real-life example. Say you are planning to ship a 40-foot container full of clothing to New York City from Haikou. In this case, the sea route would be the best choice for your shipment from China. But how much will the cost be affected if you use air freight?
We have calculated the costing, and here is the calculation:
Route: Haikou To New York City by sea freight and trucked to the city center.
Cost: US $3,7000 – US $4,000
Route: Haikou to John F. Kennedy Airport and then trucked to the city center.
Cost: US $55,000 – US $60,000
This calculation tells why there is no exact answer to the question of which is the best way to ship from China.
Suppose the clothing you imported in the container were medium-sized t-shirts, then the number of shirts that would fit in a 40 feet container would be 75,000 t-shirts.
For 75 thousand T-shirts, US $55,000 would be a considerable amount of money; shipping the product from China by air freight impacts the unit cost by $0.74 per more per shirt.
But it could have been a viable investment if you were shipping those T-shirts for the Holiday sale. But if you were bringing shipments from China for regular sale, it would be a substantial economic loss for you.
That’s why nobody can tell which one is the best method for shipping from China as it largely depends on the product and the purpose of the shipment. So, do not run after the time only, do your math also.
4.2 Shortest And Longest Transit Time From China.
If you want to ship products by freight from China to anywhere in the world, you must prepare yourself for some additional lead times. This is because the transit time will add some extra time to your shipment from China.
This time varies from country to country. Let’s say you are shipping from China to America. Shipment to the American continent must suffer some of the most extended transit times for Chinese containers.
On the other hand, if you are transporting to an Asian country by sea freight from Cina, you may not have to wait very long at all. So, the transit time largely depends on the place where you intend to make the shipment from China.
4.3 Be Aware Of The Chinese Holidays.
Many importers find their shipment from China being delayed by the Chinese holidays.
Shipping delays are a regular incident. For example, during Chinese New Year, every major port remains closed along with all local carriers. Chinese holidays can delay your shipment also. Here is the list of Chinese holidays.
- January 1st – 1-day
- Chinese New Year, which happens in the middle of January and February 6-days (often longer)
- Qingming Festival (It is in early April)– 1-day
- Labor Day (First or second week of May)– 3-days
- Dragon Boat Festival (Starts at the end of June)– 3-days
- Mid-Autumn Festival (At the beginning of October)– 1-day
- Golden Week (Also starts from early October) – 7-days
- China’s National Day (Also in October)– 3-days.
Though not holidays, consider the additional time for in the Christmas/winter holiday rush when many online marketplaces offer, “Free shipping from China”.
So, before placing your shipment order, consider those things carefully and add extra time to arrange shipping from China to your country.
5. Available Shipping Methods
We mentioned earlier; there is no golden rule for shipping goods from China. It depends on the type of product you are importing from China.
There are three types of shipping methods available in china besides Regular Post. We DO NOT recommend regular posts for your shipment from China as this is a lengthy process, and there you will never get your product back if anything happens to it. Let’s discuss the three major shipping methods from China.
5.1 Express Courier from China
Express couriers from China will be the best way to bring shipment from China for most beginners. Most courier companies in China are DHL, UPS, and FedEx. TNT is another popular courier company but not that famous in China.
Express courier from China your product very fast and come with an online tracking system. Most air express from China needs just 2 to 5 business days to ship goods anywhere worldwide.
Here is our suggestion if you want to pick a courier service for shipping goods from China:
- For America, South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, We prefer FedEx.
- For Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, We prefer DHL
- Again For America, You can use UPS
The advantages of various courier services may vary from the different weight. For the best available rate in the market, you can contact us at Hart Logistics as we have a special offer for shipping from China with the top courier services in China. We also provide cheap freight from China.
Attention: All Air express from China are highly-priced. It is never an ideal method for a large number of products as it will significantly raise your product’s selling price.
5.2 Air Freight
If your goods’ weight is too high for couriers, such as 600kg, shipping by air from China is the best option for shipping goods from China. If you ship by air freight from China, the costs will be dramatically lower than with courier services.
Airfreight is standard shipping from China for medium-heavy cargo, and they maintain a tight schedule and tight control on security. Transit time may vary for shipment from China according to the airline schedule, but typically you will receive your shipment within 2 to 10 days, which is quite fast.
If you prefer this method for your shipment from China, you must be prepared for some extra duties. Such as you have to deal with the paper works and customs clearance on your own, unlike the courier services.
This can a little bit challenging for newcomers that are just starting to import from China. But, don’t worry, there are customs brokers or trucking agencies that can handle those things on your behalf.
Our last suggestion if your package is under 250 Kg, you use an international courier service, but if the weight is more than that, shipping by air from China.
For lesser price and best support, we are here to help you as Hart Logistics is one the top air freighter in China with the experience of shipping from China worldwide.
5.3 Sea Freight
Sea routes or transporting by ocean freight takes a long time to ship products from China, but it is definitely the cheapest way to import China products. If you are handling many products and looking for an economy shipping from China, it is the best option we suggest for you.
Despite the lengthy delivery time, with advanced planning and sufficient time at hand, sea freight from China is the best choice for international traders. Depending on your location, your shipment will arrive between 3 to 60 days.
Just like with air freight, the paper works are your responsibility here. You have to take care of customs clearance and deliver the goods from the port to your warehouse or office. But you also can hire a freight forwarder with door-to-door service.
With this method, the freighter agency will take care of everything and ship your product direct to your warehouse for some additional money. Our company, Hart logistics, also provides door-to-door service at a meager cost.
If you have proper planning and can handle the logistics, sea freights the most economy shipping from China.
6. How Long Does It Take To Ship From China?
In general, standard shipping from China can take from 3-60 days, depending upon the chosen shipping method the final destination of your shipment. Express shipping or Courier services are the fastest way of shipping goods from China to anywhere in the world. Courier service takes just 2-3 business days to ship your products. The second fastest method is Airfreight, shipping by sea from China takes 2-10 days, and the slowest is sea freight for bringing shipment from China. Shipping by sea from China takes 3-60 days, and it is the most economy shipping from China. You can even sell products offering “Free shipping from China.”
6.1 Express Shipping From China
Express shipping from China is the fastest way to transport goods from China worldwide. If your shipment’s weight is under 250 KG, we suggest an express courier.
Top Courier services like DHL, FedEx, UPS typically take 2-3 working days to ship products from China to anywhere globally.
6.2 Shipping By Air Freight
After express shipping from China, air freight is the fastest method of shipping products from China. Moreover, the way of shipping is more economical than courier services.
Typically shipping by air from China takes 2-10 days to ship products anywhere in the world from China. If your shipments weigh between 250-1000 Kg, air shipping by air from China is a wise choice for you.
You can contact Hart Logistics for fast shipping from China at the best price, which provides excellent and cheap freight from China.
6.3 Shipping By Sea Freight
By far, you probably know this is the slowest method of shipping products from China, but it is also the economical method of shipping products.
In business, you always want to lessen your product’s price; you will never achieve that with a high transportation cost. Shipping by sea freight takes 3-60 days, depending on the location you are shipping your goods.
6.4 Be Aware Of Covid-19
Unfortunately, because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, shipments are getting delayed from many China ports. So, before planning a load, consider the issue seriously, or you can hamper your business.
It is best to get a quote before placing an order for shipment. You can ask for a quote from the Hart Logistics website to know whether your shipment can be delayed or not and any cheap freight from China.
7. Shipping Cost From China
You can calculate the shipping cost from China according to the shipping method you are going to use. The price depends on the weight and volume of your product.
International freight forwarders use a term called ‘Volumetric Weight’ to apply the package’s chargeable weight. Like that, shipping cost from China largely depends on this.
If the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight, the agency will charge you for the volumetric weight and, in the reverse case, the other.
So, before delivering your product for shipment, it’s your responsibility to check your product’s weight and calculate the volumetric weight.
To know more about how to calculate chargeable weight and shipping cost from China, you can watch the video
7.1 Freight Cost
- Express courier cost is US $8- $15 per kg
- Air-freight cost is US $5-$10 per kg
- Sea freight cost is US $3000 – $4000 per container.
7.2 Landed Cost
Besides any standard shipping from China like the courier service, air freight and sea freight shipments come with an extra cost called the “landed costs,” which includes transportation from the factory to the shipping agent, warehousing, or customs clearance. You should add this cost to your shipping price from China.
8. What Is The Cheapest Method Of Shipping From China?
There is no free shipping from China, but shipping by sea from China is the cheapest method of shipping. But the most affordable method does not always depend on the method itself. You also have to pick a freight forwarder service that can give you the best quote. Hart logistics is one of China’s best freight forwarders and promises to deliver your shipment at the lowest price and, therefore, lessen the shipping price from China.
9. Manage Your Shipping
Most new or inexperienced importers depend on suppliers to manage their shipping. This is a straightforward process, and all you have to do is to tell your supplier to ship the cargo to the destination port.
Though this is the most effortless process, you will have to pay some extra money here, and the shipping price from China will increase. In fact, you can save your money and time if you do not use this process and be a little bit dynamic.
9.1 For Big Shipment Take The Full Control
Many big businesses follow this strategy to decrease their shipping price and get fast shipping from China. Big companies book shipping lines, airlines, trucking companies themselves and manage the whole process themselves. Moreover, they manage the customs clearance, VAT&Tax on both sides.
If you select this option, you have to make your order and follow up. In addition, you have to hire all transportation yourself. If a problem occurs, you have to deal with it to avoid paying extra charges.
You can not manage all of these if you do not have expertise in this area. Normally large companies have their dedicated team to handle shipments.
So, if you are a small or medium enterprise, we do not encourage you to follow this strategy. Gain some experience first. When we say ‘some,’ we say some years.
9.2 Work With A Freight Forwarder From Your Country For Convenience.
It is a very convenient option, and some importers follow this.
What they really do here? Small and medium companies hire freight forwarders from their local area. In most cases, they don’t have their office in China, and many of them are not freight forwarders in reality.
They work with a freight forwarder in China, take responsibility for the shipment, and add their charge to the top of the original freight forwarder’s bill.
We suggest not taking this kind of service as this is never a safe or efficient shipping method from China. If you ask, “How to ship from China?” our first answer will be not this way.
9.3 Work With A Freight Forwarder From China To Speed Up Your Shipping.
This is a very crucial point when shipping from China. This will provide you many facilities, and the first one is you will get fast shipping from China. Secondly, the forwarder is the best method. You can stay closer to your supplier and get the update regularly. When trouble occurs, the local agent will solve that as soon as possible.
And that is where we Hart Logistics are best. We always stay close to your supplier, and our customer support is always here to take care of your every problem throughout the shipment process.
9.4 Work With A Freight Forwarder From Both Side For Speed And Money.
This is an excellent option if you want to save money and put the product in your warehouse as fast as possible. Suppose you are an importer from Dubai, then you can hire a freight forwarder in Dubai and another one in China. In this process, you can save some money. Many clients from the middle easily ask us, “How to ship from China?” We refer to this process for them.
10. Track Your Cargo And Prepare For The Arrival Of Your Goods.
International shipping takes time. If you are using any air express from China, you can track them from their website. But for sea freight, that is not the case. Such as, shipping by sea from China to the West Coast of the USA can take around 14 days to reach and 30 days to the east coast.
Typically the agency will notify you five days before your shipment arrives at the port for sea freight. And for air freight, you will be notified when the plane takes off.
10.1 Double-Check Your Documents
On arrival, you will have to bring the following documents for obtaining your shipment.
- A bill of lading with the imported item list.
- An official invoice of the country of origin, buying price, tariff classification of the imported goods.
- A packing list including all the imported products’ details.
- An arrival notice issued by the freight forwarder
10.2 How To Speed Up The Clearance Process.
You can speed up the clearance of your products through the border if you:
- Systematically invoice your goods,
- Show the exact quantity such as box number, item quantity, etc.
Marks all the packages with numbers,
Show those marks on the opposite side of your invoice.
Remember, it is always the importer’s responsibility to release the goods from the native country. So, prepare all the documents. If you are not confident enough, you can hire a customs broker or trucking agency to help you release your shipment from customs.
11. Get Customs Clearance And Obtain Your Shipment From China
When the goods reach the port or airport, manage everything for your customs broker to clear them through customs. If you did not do anything wrong, getting your products is your civil right, so you should not worry if the documentation is with you.
If you have gone for a door-to-door service, you just can sit and relax and wait for the shipment from China to arrive at your home address. But remember, that will cost you some extra money also.
After receiving your shipment from China, you should email your suppliers telling them that you got the shipment but do not review them. Tell them you will review them after you check the product quality.
The application of your learning will make you a better businessman. Follow the tips we provide in this article and always do your research before importing products from China.
Suppose you want to go ahead of others that take a lot of hard work. When you’re just starting, it’s easy to fantasize about yourself by planning your empire’s complete future. But in reality, many people get stuck on tiny details. So, do not live on your dream.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes, and don’t lose faith in yourself. If others do it, you will also be able to do it.
International trade can be a tricky business, but it also can bring you profit beyond imagination, and which country is better than China to start your international trading? How to ship from China? We hope our guide of ‘arrange shipping from China’ helped you a bit on how to import product from China. So, now as you know something about the process of shipping products from China, it’s time to take some action and bring your shipment from China.