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Nostradamus, post: 49756 wrote:
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


Hi Ralph,
Please don’t take this as gospel as there is way more to this than can be explained in one forum post, PLUS every factory & industry is different and I don’t have all the answers!

Generally though, you don’t have to bring in a full container yourself, but there are advantages.
If you bring it in by the container this is known as FCL or full container load, and you get get 20 foot or 40 foot containers, as well as what are called “high cubes” which are slightly taller than normal containers (at extra cost). If you are getting all the freight from one supplier – easy. If you are packing it from different suppliers you will need someone to consolidate the freight for you which is actually really difficult, as different factories have licenses to export different products, and they aren’t all allowed to export other products. So you need a logistics specialist to consolidate your freight together, but need to make sure they have a comprehensive export license.

But you don’t have to do it this way, and provided each shipment is of a good enough size you can just do each as separate shipments. This is called LCL, or “less than container load”. The minimum you have to pay for is one cubic meter of freight, which costs fully landed around $500-$600. However if you go 2 cubic meters it might be $700 or so, basically it scales down a LOT and is most economical the more you do. Generally though once you get over about 1/2 a container load it’s better to pay for FCL even if the container is half full, that way your stuff isn’t mixed in with other people’s and it will clear quicker.

OVERALL though, there is still advantage in using a specialist importer even if you have your own factories – someone who can help through the process of organizing everything, particularly if you are looking to consolidate multiple orders. There is a member on here called “silk road” who for example specialises in this.

Hope this helps.