UsChina Shipping, What to consider prior to importing shipping from China

What to consider prior to importing shipping from China

As an importer, there are many considerations when sourcing goods from China. When it comes to shipping, you want your cargo delivery safe, on time, at reasonable cost.

Choosing the best delivery option is completely dependent on your unique circumstance, but we hope the content below will give you some ideas about what you should consider when getting your goods back home.

Let us assist you on the following top 2 things about freight transportation.

1. Which shipping method you can choose?
2. Which party will manage your shipping?


Shipping Method: Courier, Air or Sea?

As with most businesses, cost can’t be the sole consideration but it is usually one of the primary and determining factors. After all, we are all in this and making each decision to help our customers and ourselves save or make money.

Different shipping methods can make a vast difference both in transit time and cost. Therefore, we always need to determine which method will be the most cost effective one.

1. Express courier

Shipping with courier is suitable for most people starting out. Courier company, widely used in China is DHL, UPS, and FedEx. TNT is popular in Europe, but not so much as in China.

With courier service, you get fast delivery times and an online tracking facility. Most courier shipments take just 2~5 business days to reach anywhere around the globe.

§ Courier to America, South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, suggest FedEx

§ Courier to Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, suggest DHL

§ Courier to America, suggest UPS

Please note that the advantages of different courier may vary from different weight. You can contact us for the most suitable courier with your shipment details.


1. Fast delivery

2. Door-to-door service, hassle-free

3. Transparency, online tracking


High price


2. Air freight

If the weight of products exceeds a certain limit, example 500kg, air shipment might be the best bet. Compared with courier, air freight costs much less at most times and takes a little bit longer time.

Extra work is involved when the goods arrive at the destination airport. Unlike with courier, you have to handle documentation and customs clearance on your own, which for many newbies may seem impractical. Of course, you can always outsource these tasks to a customs broker and a trucking company.

3. Sea freight

What to consider prior to importing shipping from China 

Sea freight can take long but carry a massive amount of goods, which brings down the costs. It accepts a diversity of cargoes which sometimes are not accepted by air freight. That’s why it’s popular and widely used mode in logistics.

Despite the lengthy delivery time, if you plan stock and sales ahead, and have enough time to wait, sea freight will be your top choice. 

Just like with air freight, you’ll have to take care of the documentation, customs clearance and delivery of goods from the port to your facility. But if you choose to-Door services, which is popular to USA/Canada/Europe/Australia, all you have to do is pay the freight charges and wait for your cargo to be delivered.


A quick summary

Each has its advantages, and often, to get the China sourced goods to your business requires a combination of these shipping methods. There should be some deliberation over the time frame you need your products, the security of your shipment, and the cost, usually the biggest factor.

Shipping cost will take up a substantial percentage of your total product landed cost, so it’s important to keep it as low as possible at all times. But sometimes, time is more crucial than money.

It’s all about balance. Choose the right way after considering all the actual situations.


Shipping Management: by yourself or by an agent?

Having the supplier manage the shipping is common among inexperienced importers. It’s very simple and all you need to do is to tell the supplier that you want them to ship the cargo as CIF “Port of destination” or DAP “Your facility address” and they’ll do the rest.

The downside is that you’ll probably end up paying a little more than really needed. In fact, there are better options for saving money & time.

1. Do it all internally, for full control

We have only seen big groups following this strategy. They book space directly with shipping lines, airlines, trucking companies and they manage customs declaration and clearance on both sides.

If you choose this option, you need to make your own order follow-ups, you need to check with the carriers yourself to receive the proper info that is crucial for you. If a problem occurs, you need to deal with it in order to avoid paying extra charges.

Your time is most valuable. When you work directly with a carrier, you cannot save that time, unless there’s a specialized department with professional crews in your company.

We don’t think this is a viable option for small and medium enterprises.

2. Work with a freight forwarder in your country, for convenience

Some importers do so, coz it’s convenient.

Most of the forwarders don’t always have their own office in China. They usually work with local Chinese agents, and add their margin on top of that agent’s cost.

Obviously, you can’t save cost in this way, yet can’t guarantee efficiency. See how this works. For each and every piece of information you want, the forwarder in your country will has to check with the China forwarder, then China forwarder feedbacks, your forwarder reports to you. If you are in the US, this process can take 1 day or even more due to the time difference and inevitable communications. You may feel OK with the higher cost. However, in peak season, they can’t even guarantee space availability with that speed.

This is not a cheap option, yet not so efficient.


3. Work with a freight forwarder based in China, for low cost and high efficiency.

More and more importers have chosen this option.

The advantage is speed. The forwarder can keep close touch with your supplier, and keep you informed of everything. When trouble happens, your local partner will solve that asap.

That’s what we are doing, and we’re good at it. Not only speed, but also best rates. Besides, we have agents in some countries to handle customs clearance and delivery. Jump to Reasons Why You Should Find a China Freight Forwarder

A quick summary

Whether your supplier and you manage the transportation, you should always source the shipping solution from a third party.

No matter your forwarding agent is located in your country or in China, when you find the right partner, just stick to it. Check our post about freight forwarder to find more.


We suggest considering the two issues above and get the answers prior to your trade action. The answers will help you make your supply chain management more smooth and efficient.

UCS helps customers gain more control over their supply chain, effectively and efficiently. Let us know if you have any questions about shipping from China, and hopefully we can work together. May you enjoy the experience with us.


 Shipping from China