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We all are looking for ways to speed up the arrival of our products from our manufacturers.  Some of us want to be in control of the shipments insuring we know what is happening and when our product will arrive and be available for sale.

If your using a door to door service like DHL, UPS, FedEx that works great and you pay a huge premium for that. Ultimately double the cost of shipping by freight and ocean. But Freight services move even higher levels of cargo and are more complex to navigate and insure things are happening on time.

For instance in the US you have to have your cargo manifest, BL, commercial invoice and ISF (importer security filing) done and correct or face delays and fines up to 25k. Even small issues with confusing addresses can and will cause delays.

Another form of delay is having multiple companies handling the shipment. Having a expert broker or forwarding agent on one end, freight company in the middle, and importing agent on the other side can cause issues if they are not related or partnering companies. As the paperwork and communications along the way can be delayed.

Some other items people do not know about is that the Importing Agent or FF is the one who pays the taxes, duty, freight, warehouse, paperwork, and export fees ahead of time for your product. If those payments are delayed, your product will not get on the next hop in the shipment. This is why working with an established well funded end to end solution company can and often does speed up the process.

How to Keep From Slowing Down Your Ocean Shipments

Now no one can avoid all issues, storms at sea delay shipments sometimes by weeks. Union dock workers go on strike. And certain times of the year the supply of available ships are so low and demand so high that the prices will escalate and docks have too much work.

But rest assured a good end to end FF will keep you in the loop. When you inject issues into the process by not knowing all the information, not having all the details, or trying to be your own FF you cause delays in your own shipment.

So how can you help resolve these issues?

  • Get the exact details of your product ahead of time.
    • box size
    • box weight
    • number of boxes
    • HS codes for your product and exact product information
    • Port of origination
  • Contact your FF and request services
    • Local pickup and delivery to port
    • Ocean Freight
    • Duty
    • Importing Bond
    • Port of destination
    • Freight to local destination

Most of us are not familiar with all the pieces and payments and when we start shipping ocean we are confused as to the number of payments needed to be made to complete a shipment. And that most of them are by business check or bank transfers only…..yeah someone get the freight companies into the 20th century at least!!

Certain things to know about that will help you with your bill. We will assume your shipping from China to the US.

How to Keep From Slowing Down Your Ocean Shipments

China side fees may include some or all of the following.

  • Paperwork (someone has to pay people to fill out mountains of forms)
  • Export Fees
  • Warehousing. (You pay to warehouse the goods at the port before they load the freight.)
  • Local pickup and delivery (who is delivering the products to the docks?)

Then you will also have the shipment component which is calculated by cubic foot on your bill.

USA side fees may include some or all of the following.

  • Xray Exam (big brother needs to make sure your not a bad person)
  • Customs Bench Check (in case the Xray was not good enough time to open it up)
  • Homeland Security (we want a piece of your pie too…)
  • Duty/Taxes (based upon the HS code this tax along with potential paperwork fees are also your responsibility)
  • Warehousing ( if you get a bench check your paying for a warehouse trust me..and even if you do not someone has to cover the dock workers pensions)
  • Freight Shipment (the money paid to a freight company to truck your product to a destination.)
  • Paperwork FF fees (you have to pay the FF for doing all this crappy paperwork and spending weeks messing around with your product to get it to you.)
  • Import Bond Fee (if your the importer of record you have to pay a bond, either on each shipment or annually based upon value of products imported each year.)
  • Local pickup and delivery (who is going to take the stuff from the warehouse on the docks and bring it to you?)

Crazy right and I am only telling you about ones I see regularly.  But when you finish adding up all the nickles and dimes I see a 50% savings over Air Freight and even more most times over Express.

If you want to get big you will ship ocean, to make ocean work you need to know how it works and plan accordingly. Partnering with a good FF company that can handle both sides of the equation and not inserting yourself in the middle is more times than not a smart idea.

Also plan for 45 days to get the product in the US and insure you have inventory in stock for 60 days. Once your items hit the docks in the US, put in a new order for 60 days worth from your manufacturer so by the time you get this load moving your already getting your new shipment moving by ocean. If you plan ahead and manage this you end up with more profit, larger orders, and little to no issue.

Hope this helps and if you have any additional information you would like to add or have questions on what was posted here please leave a comment below.

Alan Basinger

Alan Basinger

Alan Basinger is CEO of GDW Inc and a 15 year eCommerce veteran. As well as a serial entrepreneur, sought after mentor, coach, and speaker. Alan also is a serial giver and regularly gives his time to others to help them in his quest to help 1000 people get free by running their own profitable eCommerce businesses. You can contact him at support@gdwinc.com.
Alan Basinger

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