After the production is completed and pre-shipment inspection passed, the next important step is to ship the product to you from China. There are 7 common modes of transportation:
- Express delivery
- Sea freight
- Air freight
- Railway freight
- Truck transportation
- Sea/air and express for e-commerce
- Direct economic transportation for dropshipping (less than 2 kg)
Express delivery (< 500 kg)
If the weight is less than 500kg, you can choose express. It is a service provided by major companies such as DHL, UPS, FedEx, TNT, and SF Express. It only takes 3-5 days to express from Shanghai, China to California. Shipping costs vary depending on the destination. Shipping costs from China to North America and Western Europe are usually US$6-7 per kilogram.
Air freight (> 500 kg)
In this case, you should choose air freight instead of express. You need to provide relevant compliance certificates during the customs clearance process in the destination country. Although slightly more complicated than express delivery, air freight will save money than express delivery. That’s because the calculated weight of air freight is about 20% less than that of air freight. For the same volume, the volumetric weight formula for air freight is length×width×height, and then divided by 6000, while air freight is 5000.
Sea Freight (larger than 2 cubic meters)
For these cargo larger than 2 cubic meters, sea freight is a good choice. Shipping to areas near the west coast of the United States is about US$100-200/m3, shipping to areas near the east coast of the United States is about US$200-300/m3, and shipping to the central region of the United States is about US$300/m3 and more than US$200-300/m3. Generally speaking, the total freight by sea is about 85% lower than that by air.
This railway is very suitable for countries in Eastern Europe and West Asia far away from the seaports. The cost is about twice that of sea transportation, and the railway transportation time is half of 15-20 days. This adds value because less transportation time can help many people relieve cash flow pressure.
The biggest disadvantage of rail freight is the limited number of countries that can be reached along the China-Europe Railway.
Freight per box of container cargo = reserve price 1 + reserve price 2 × freight kilometers
Tank containers and other special railway containers are calculated at the freight rates specified in the “Railway Tariffs” plus 30% and 20% respectively; general-purpose 20-foot containers with a total weight of 30.480 tons are calculated as specified in the “Railway Tariffs” calculation table. The price is calculated by adding 20%, unless the total weight of the container is limited to less than 24 tons according to the regulations.
The China-Europe freight train route opened up all-road transportation between Europe and China and opened up the fourth logistics channel between China and Europe in addition to air, sea, and rail transportation.
China-Europe truck flights are suitable for companies with limited cargo but high timeliness requirements. Taking the German-Soviet route as an example, China-Europe air transport is more than half faster than rail, and the cost is 40% cheaper than air transport, providing companies with more logistics options.
Sea/air and express for e-commerce
A few years ago, some smart forwarders combined shipping and express delivery. They help many customers share a complete container to ship to the west coast of the United States, and require a local courier company like UPS to deliver it from the port to the address in the United States. The good news is that you can even transport small cargo weighing about 50-100 kg, even ordinary LCL (smaller than container loading) is impossible.
The total freight is about US$2/kg, which is about twice the total cost of ordinary shipping. However, the transportation time from the Chinese port to the final destination in the United States is only about 20 days, which is 20%-50% faster than ordinary sea transportation.
A similar solution combines air freight and local express companies. Compared with air express express, the cost is reduced by about 20%, but it is only a few days slower.
This is the most popular transportation solution for e-commerce sellers, especially Amazon FBA sellers, because it is cheap and suitable for small batch transportation. If you want to choose this kind of transportation solution, it is best to ask a freight forwarder in China who is specifically responsible for shipping to Amazon.
Direct economic transportation for dropshipping (less than 2 kg)
Dropshipping sellers cannot afford the air express cost for most packages weighing less than 1 kg.
Logistics arrangement is the most difficult step for fresh new international buyers. In this step, they usually need the assistance of a sourcing agent.