I get asked frequently…
“Under what circumstances do I use Ocean Freight (Seas Shipping)?”
Let me just put it right out there… Sea shipping is going to be your least expensive method of shipping.
I use sea for just about everything.
The only thing I do any air freight or express shipping on at all anymore is samples OR every so often in an emergency (as in I’m running out of stock of one of my top selling products and sea shipping won’t get it in on time).
Of course, if you’re paying attention to your lead times and such, this shouldn’t be an issue [having to send by air or express].
In fact, if you sell on Amazon, they’re tools are really nice now. They do a pretty good job (if you know where the report is) of giving you an idea of how long your inventory is going to last, based upon the velocity of your sales.
So, with Amazon, you can fairly easily ensure that you re-order products in time to get them done and ship by sea.
Personally, I have not dealt with too many manufacturers that don’t have turnaround times in weeks. Usually, in a couple of weeks the product is manufactured and at my warehouse in China and going on a container.
Then, it’s two weeks to Los Angeles.
Then, a few days getting through Customs… and then a few days via inland freight to get to me.
So, I know that if I give myself 21-30 days of outage, I’m in great shape.
That is how I’m able to use sea shipping 99% of the time.
There are a few exceptions I did want to point out though…
CBM is the measurement used for the volume of the product in the containers.
If you’re shipping less than 1 CBM of product, it doesn’t make sense to do sea shipping.
In fact, if you’re shipping items that are really small and light, it may not even make sense to do air freight.
And if you’re only shipping one carton to do a test run or something, then you’re probably going to do better with DHL or some other similar carrier. (SIDE NOTE: the goal is not to bring in one carton. I mean, seriously, it’s hard to launch successfully a good product with one carton.)
So, in closing… If at all possible, do sea shipping. It’ll always be the cheapest route and help you ‘win on the buy’.
We can help you with shipping and importing. We help all of our clients that use our other services with shipping, importing, customs, etc. If you’d like us to help you with shipping and importing please let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you just have questions about shipping, a great place to do that is in our Facebook Group here. There are TONS of sellers in the group who have dealt with the same issues you might be dealing with in your business.
We also discuss this topic extensively on our Super Sourcing Trips. Have you been on a trip with us? If not, check out all the details and dates for the next trip here.