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As I've seen many same questions posted again and again on the forum, also with a few common senses, so I decide to make a topic and try to give a roughly view of the shipping service ideas based on my freight forwarder experiences. Hope the following answers to all general questions regarding to the shipping problems and costs in China would help to all. Also if any mistakes happens or more comments please let me know and I will correct asap.

Contents:

1) EMS problems

2) Can I ship batteries via air services?

3) Volumetric - Freight  charge by volumes, what is it?

4) Which way should I use for transport the goods. Couriers,Air or Ocean?

5) Is it true that most shipments from the Mainland to other parts of the world ship via Hong Kong Airport because of lower cost incurred? If so, why is this?

6) My shipping agent told me UPS is the cheapest, so why not bargain directly with the Couriers or shipping companies after knowing the price?

1)   EMS problems:

 This is the topic I've seen most often. EMS = Express mail services and firstly we need to understand this is designed for private parcel services and mainly running by the governments cooperation so it will not be checked very often from the Custom if the declared value of goods is less than 100 usd. And regarding to the the tracking number problems, please check the following notes..

Disadvantage:

i) slower than all other major couriers, especially to developping countries. I had experience for EMS shipping to USA take more than 1 month...Horrible..

ii). for many countries even USA, sometimes no received informaiton.

iii). Can be delay in China in any cases or any days which means take up to more than 10 days to have track information online. wanna reasons? too complicated.. I will explain if I have time.

iv)  For goods return back to China often would dissappear..

v)  Maximum 30 kgs. Some countries only 20kgs, Iran only 7KGs

Advantage:

i)  As for private reasons so would be able to ship almost everything.

ii)  MuchLower for the Tariff than other couriers.

iii)  Cheaper than other courier if goods less than 20kgs.

iv) No need to provide any kind of invoice.

v). No returning charge.

vi) Services will be charged only by actual weight, no need to calculated the dimensional size.

2) Can I ship batteries via air services?

Two situation will be considered as normal.

i)  Shipping batteries as accessories with other main parts like one moblie phone with 2 batteries. Then the answer is yes.

ii) Shipping only the batteries, If using couriers, your shipping agent should be able to find you a possible way to ship them. Leagally saying, Lithium batteries and any ohter batteries are allowed for shipping with Air freight but need 2 centifications. One is called the MSDS- Material Safety Document Sheets, the other one is called UN38.3. If the manufacturer are legally doing there business, they should be able to help you provide these documents.

3) Volumetric - Freight  charge by volumes, what is it?

There are 2 types of Volumetric cargo.

i) For Couriers and Air freight services

Shipping Charges will be based on the dimensional weight of the shipment when the dimensional weight exceed the actual weight. I give you the fomula of calculating the Dimentional weight = (Length*Width*Height) / 6000.

For example:  1 cubic metre goods. Actual weight = 100kgs, Dimensional weight = 100*100*100/6000 = 167 kgs. So they will charge you for 167kg, not 100kg.

2. For Ocean Freight services

Volumetric cargo are calculated as how many cubic meters you have but normally only for LCL services(consolidation). Different shipping companies have different standard,  1 cubic metre could be for 500kgs/ 800kgs/ 1 ton etc..  

For example:  8 cubic metres goods.  The charge will be normally  8*Ocean_Freight / cubi metre + 8*cfs + Documents

Please note as I was just told by DHL services.(17 October) Since 1th November 2008, the dimension size of DHL services will be calculated as (Length*Width*Height) / 5000 which means for 1 CBM goods, the dimensional weight would be 100*100*100/5000 = 200 kgs.

4)Which way should I use for transport the goods. Couriers,Air or Ocean?

I would like to suggest. If you just starting your business. Or small quantities like sample goods  for less than 45kg.  Couries would be your best choose(DHL,EMS,UPS etc). Because they are fast, reliable and would help you do the Clearance as well. But also please note  For shipping to different countries, different couriers may have their own advantages, and you need to consult your shipping agent to find the best one.

And if you have big quantities. I would suggest you can use both air and ocean freight. But those services are port to port, unless you can find a local clearance agency or delivery team then you will have to come to the port and collect the goods also with the clearacne job as well.

For those very valuable goods like Mobile phones, MP3, MP4, LCD etc, air services will be your best choice cause its fast and reliable.

For the other general goods, maybe like cloth, plastic goods, ocean freight is your best choice.

 

 

 5) Is it true that most shipments from the Mainland to other parts of the world ship via Hong Kong Airport because of lower cost incurred? If so, why is this?

 Cities in the South  of China especially Guangdong Province are close to Hongkong so they would prefer to take the advantages as I will mention below. But if in the north, most goods will ship our from big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Sometimes because of the O'lympic games, there would be a very strictly securities checking which may cause delay of your goods or not allow for shipping like Batteries, electronic devices etc.  Many factories will have to ship their goods to Shenzhen and than transfer them to Hongkong for shipping.

 Some benefits for ship via Hongkong are:


i)  No need to do the commodity inspection~ Fast, reliable, more choices of ailines, good service and the destination country can be almost all parts in the world.
ii)  Almost no limited for declaration value. Within mainland China, normally declaration value of the goods should not exceed $2000 or it will cause your suppliers a few troubles mainly for export custom issues..


iii)  Relatively saying the shipping costs would cheaper than shipping directly for mainland China.

6) My shipping agent told me UPS is the cheapest, so why not bargain directly with the Couriers or shipping companies after knowing the price?

Firstly, have to say when I first come to the job as FF(freight forwarder), I am not quite sure about the answer to this question. But now I think if you read the following case then you know why.

Two ladies went shopping. Susan wanted to buy 1 pair of shoes. Grace want to purchase 100 pairs of shoes. So how much you think the shop would like to offer them?

And afterwards, Susan found that she could have cheaper price buying from Grace than from the shop directly.

Above all, That's how FF works and also that's why if anyone wants to get the cheapest price better if can find a local FF.           

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