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marketingweb, post: 37410 wrote:
Best of luck with your new venture.

Importing from China does sound easy, but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted!

Firstly you are talking about sea freight here I presume – it sounds like it but need to make sure you are aware of this. Air freight is another game again, although a little easier.

Basically FOB as previously stated means they pay for it to get on the ship. Which actual ship this is that it “gets on” and the whole process including the freight itself is up to YOU to organise from here.

The alternative method is called CIF which is “cost including freight”. This means that the factory includes the cost of the freight to Australia in the cost. This sounds good on the surface but is best avoided as it WILL end up costing you more. The reason for this is that in Australia your port charges for unloading, customs clearance, AQIS inspection, document fees etc etc will end up costing you WAY more than the freight itself. On smaller shipments the freight cost is small. For example to get one cubic metre of freight from Ningbo I would expect to pay around $500 in round figures. Of this, probably $50 is the actual freight, and the other $450 is local charges! If you pick CIF you will also likely then get contacted by whoever the Australian agent is of the freight company your factory picks. They are pretty much guaranteed to charge more than one you pick yourself.

The person someone else mentioned called a “customs agent” is only part of the puzzle – they simply clear the goods through customs. What you more likely need is a “freight forwarder” who organises the actual shipment, and is usually also a customs agent, or will subcontract out to one. The company I would recommend to you is called Express Logistics (They may have a new name – recently bought out by the Toll Group). Their website is at http://www.xprs.com.au

Please also note that you also need to factor in freight from the port to wherever you are – usually NOT included in the standard price. And don’t be too excited when you see a $US figure – while the exchange rates are good at the moment, on smaller quantities of some products, the freight can end up costing as much as the product itself in some cases.

The final thing I will say is that if you go without a pre-shipment quality inspection of the product at the factory prior to dispatch you can get burned badly. Given you will have to pay a deposit before they start production and the balance before shipping, you are putting a lot of trust in the factory. This is fine once you have a strong relationship with them, but for a first order it’s a big risk – if you aren’t happy or things turn up wrong, in my experience more than 50% of factories just won’t care and you will be stuck. At the very least, insist on a pre-production sample and factor this into your costs, and preferably the inspection. Bear in mind a pre-shipment inspection will generally cost around $300 so it’s not cheap so on some orders you will have to just risk it and rely on pre production samples and photos from the factory.

If you would like any more specific advice or help with this please feel free to contact me.

Best of luck
Marketing Web

Hi Matt,

I have been importing goods from China through EMS for my online business, as my business grew I plan to try sea freight cos I believe its much cheaper than air freight. The problem is I get a few products from a few suppliers, what type of arrangement I should do to have all the goods place in one container and ship it all at once. I am afraid I will need to pay extra freight forwarder, custom clearance fees etc if the goods did not arrive in once container. What should I do? Many Thanks