Part1. How to find a reliable freight forwarder for shipping from China to India?
- What is the need for a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
- Should one choose a freight forwarder from China or India?
- How reliable is a freight forwarder?
Part2. How many modes of transportation are there from China to India?
Part3. How to save money?
- Understand the terms: FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP.
- Familiarize yourself with the size and weight calculation rules.
- Plan ahead of time to avoid the last-minute rush.
- Get a reliable logistics partner to work with
- Make sure you consolidate your cargo.
- Get a Hybrid Transportation Solution.
Part1: How to find a reliable freight forwarder for shipping from China to India?
What is the need for a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
A freight forwarder is a firm whose area of specialization is to ship goods on behalf of the shippers. A wide range of services is offered by freight forwarding firms which include warehousing, preparation of shipping documentation, negotiating all the charges involved, consolidating cargo, booking space for cargo, arranging for insurance for the cargo, overseeing inland transport and filing insurance claims. There is a lot that goes on when we talk about the process of international shipping. While your international shipping procedures and processes are being handled by the freight forwarder, it’s good to understand what the freight forwarder can do and what they cannot do. The freight itself is not transported by the freight forwarding company.
Moving goods from one destination to another is the duty of a freight forwarder. The freight forwarding companies have the expertise of arranging and organizing the whole shipping process from the storage of goods to the shipping of goods. The freight forwarding firms serve as a link between the company which is shipping and liaises with the transportation services to get the fastest route of transporting the goods efficiently with minimal cost and the least time possible. It is of essence to get the services of a freight forwarder if you don't have the time, energy, and expertise that goes with the processes of international transport. Also if you transport cargo occasionally and barely have knowledge of international transport, hire the services of a freight forwarder. Freight forwarding companies are experts in international shipping and have many years of experience and using their services can help you save on money and time than shipping the goods yourself. Making the right choice of a freight forwarder from China to India will make a great difference.
International shipping involves a lot of documentation and regulations this may vary from country to country making many shippers to opt for the services of freight forwarding companies. Knowing all the international documentation and the regulations of different countries is the duty of a freight forwarder. You don’t have to know because the freight forwarder knows it all. This automatically means that having a reliable freight forwarder will save you all the troubles associated with transportation of your cargo and your merchandise will be transported efficient at minimal cost and save you untold time. We can agree that a freight forwarder is an asset to those people or companies who ship goods internationally and is particularly helpful if in-house resources are not trained in international shipping procedures.
Should I choose a freight forwarder from China or India?
If the company you are shipping goods from is in China, it will be most appropriate to choose a Freight forwarder from China because you will need a warehouse in China for storage and preparation of goods. Also, considering other factors like language and geography, choosing a freight forwarder from China will make a perfect choice for overseas transporters. If you opt to choose a local forwarder from India, they will be forced to get a Chinese agent who will handle the picking, storage, and customs clearance in China. You should therefore consider whether you are willing to go through all the turnarounds associated with getting a freight forwarder from India.
How reliable is a freight forwarder?
Deciding on the best freight forwarder will enable you to get the quickest and the most efficient delivery of your product. But the question to ask is “how will you be able to know the most reliable freight forwarding company that will efficiently meet all the requirements that are needed for international shipping.” Establishing the criteria for hiring a logistics partner is of essence. Below are the top qualities of a freight forwarder which you can put into consideration when searching for one.
1. Well organized and qualified in the documentation process of shipping goods. In the business of international shipping, errors can be very costly hence the freight forwarder should be well able to offer accurate and efficient services to the customer. There is hardly any chance of mistakes in this type of business. For instance, an error in the documentation or cargo delivery in the wrong country can be extremely costly. Nonetheless, insurance can cater for such instances, though processing the requirement for insurance claims will involve so many resources which can be pointless. All you want is your goods shipped once to the correct destination.
2. Has an efficient packaging system for several types of products. Whatever shipping method you choose on your products, whether by air, land or sea; shipping conditions can sometimes be tough and may harm the goods being shipped if they are not properly packed. A freight forwarder should have a reliable and efficient packaging system for different kinds of goods including fragile goods. This should be a key consideration when choosing a freight to ensure that the goods are handled properly and avoid any harm to the goods during transportation.
3. Has a reliable network of shipping agents and customs brokers in the country of origin and destination. The availability of a reliable network ensures that there is a smooth flow of goods both forwards and backward reducing the chance of the goods being stored in ports. Lack of this reliable network can cause delays which can be very costly
4. Provides a smooth and proper communication system and accurate tracking system. Smooth communication between the freight forwarding company and the shipper is very important. The shipper will want to monitor how the goods are moving hence an accurate tracking system will help. It provides a sense of satisfaction and peace of mind if the ship is aware of the time progress and precise location of the shipment.
5. Good insurance policy. It will be is of significant importance to get a person with advanced cargo insurance who will be able to pay the goods or properly compensate for any damages or reduction in shipment.
You should be careful not to prejudge a freight forwarder whom you have not had any dealings with before because the success or failure of a shipment from China to India is the most important factor. In general, to decide the suitability of the freight forwarder for shipping from China to India, you can ask the following questions:
- Does the freight forwarder have a business license from the Chinese government?
- Does the freight forwarder have an official website, and that has a good ranking on Google?
- During the consultation, were the responses prompt, with professional advice and explanations?
- Do they have a complete cargo tracking system to update your cargo progress in real-time?
- Can they provide the most recent shipment record or bill of lading?
- The other suggestion would be to test the reliability of the freight forwarder with a shipment of small goods first.
Part2: How many modes of transportation are there from China to India?
When you are planning the shipping process there are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the mode of transportation to use while transporting goods from China to India: the cost, the quality of goods, the urgency of goods, and the size and weight of goods. After choosing your experienced and reliable cargo agent, you will begin your communication so that you can give them your specifications which includes the mode of transport you have decided to use and your budget. You ought to understand that choosing the right mode of transport can greatly optimize the cargo flow because shipping goods from China to India can turn to be a very complicated process. Discussed below are the modes of transportation available for shipping goods from China to India. After reading carefully you will be able to know which mode of transport you can choose for your goods.
Express delivery from China to India
Compared to sea and air transport, Express is a relatively easy way compared to sea and air transport. We have thought of FedEx, UPS, and DHL as the fastest ways of shipping from China to India because they are expected to take just 3-7 business days.
Express delivery has several advantages. When using express delivery you do not need to think about customs clearance and taxes, all you need to do is to choose an express company that gives you a good price and just sit back and wait for the goods to arrive at their destination. There is also less handling hence minimizing the likelihood of the goods damage and theft.
However, express delivery also has some demerits. You will pay a higher price to use express delivery. There is instability in delivery costs due to festivities. Like during Christmas the prices will go up and the go down when the festivities are over.
If your freight forwarder has a long term relationship with the express company owing to shipping many goods throughout the year, they might get surprise discounts that are not available on the official website of the express company. Pricing can also be a good indicator to understand the worthiness of a freight forwarding company.
There are several good ports in China which include Shanghai port, Ningbo port, Shenzhen port, Tianjin port, Qingdao port, Xiamen port, and Hong Kong. Having your freight forwarder located in these cities will be an advantage as they will be aware of the loading and unloading rules of these ports which will make it easier to handle the merchandise and save on time. LCL(Less than Container Load): LCL is a term used to define the transportation of small ocean cargo shipments that do not require an ocean container's full capacity. Use LCL if you don't have enough goods to fill a 20 'or 40' container (FCL), the forwarder will help you with LCL shipment. In LCL, several loads are combined into one container. When combining several shipments in one container, your forwarder will need to do more work. LCL freight is calculated in cubic meters.
FCL (Full Container Load): FCL refers to when the quantity of your goods is large enough that they can be put in one or more containers. In this case, the freight is calculated on an FCL basis. Generally speaking, it is cheaper than LCL freight.
Container models are mainly divided into three categories shown below where,
1 CBM=1 cubic meter
Full container load 20"GP 40"GP 40"HQ
CBM contained 28CBM 58CBM 68CBM
Airfreight which is used to serve markets and supply chains that require speed is a key mode of transportation. Though most of the goods are transported by sea, importers and exporters need to use air freight when high-value goods which demand speed needs to be transported quickly and reliably from China to India. For example, it would be better to transport electronics via air because they can easily get damaged by water if sea transport is used. Also, perishable goods like fruits and vegetables, and some pharmaceutical products can benefit from air transport because of the short transit time.
However, air transport has its disadvantages also like being one of the most expensive. Airfreight has also limitations on the weight and size of products which can be transported. There are regulations in place to restrict what can be transported by air. Large and oddly shaped goods may be better transported via other modes of transport apart from air.
- Economical air freight: The service applies to your time-insensitive goods and the price for air freight products is relatively low. It is possible to gauge the time and value of your commodities. If 7-15 days delivery to India meets your requirements, then this is the choice.
- Fast air transportation: Fast air transportation has the benefit of time compared to economic air transportation. If your goods are in urgent need of arriving quickly, time is the main concern. Your agent will help you avoid delay and deliver on time within 3-7 days.
Part3: How to save money
By now you must have chosen an appropriate mode of transport to use for your goods, using the guidance of the information given above. When shipping goods, the cost of freight is an essential part of the expenses of your business. Making a choice of the right mode of transport for your company, understanding how the freight moves in the supply chain and optimizing the visibility of the supply chain will help you save money. To save money, you also need to develop other business skills (discussed below); after all, transport costs are a key factor in the transport system.
1. Understand the Terms: FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP
Whether you purchase from alibaba.com or your supplier ships for you, they will refer to a key term: FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP.
FOB (Free On Board) is a term used to indicate whether the seller or buyer is liable for goods destroyed or damaged during shipping. FOB is the primary mode of the quotation from Alibaba, meaning that your Chinese supplier is responsible for transportation from the Chinese factory to the Chinese port of loading and unloading. Here, you are responsible for the freight which is divided into two aspects:
- From China airport/port to the India airport/port.
- From the airport/port of India to the charge at your doorstep.
EXW (Ex-Works) is an international trade term that is used when a seller makes a product available at a designated location and the buyer of the item has to cover the cost of transport. EXW, this means a one-step rise in your freight. You will be responsible for transportation from the factory in China to the loading port in China if you have negotiated EXW mode with the supplier. Your Chinese freight forwarding company will, of course, help you manage the journey. So, your shipping costs fall into three categories:
- From China factory to China airport/port.
- From China airport/port to India airport/port.
- From India airport/port to your doorstep.
And, of course, there are other costs of shipping, including Chinese export costs and U.S. customs clearance costs. A truly reliable freight forwarder will let you know about every expense, and there will be no hidden expenses.
CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) is an expense paid by a supplier to cover costs, insurance, and freight against the risk of loss or damage to a purchaser's order while in transit to an export port specified in the contract of sale. In our case, the supplier shall be responsible for all transport costs, including insurance from the Chinese factory to the airport/port in India. Under this arrangement, you are only responsible for the expenses from the India airport/port to your doorstep, which seems to be attractive, right? However, CIF is much more expensive than FOB because the supplier adds an extra charge to compensate for their efforts. Usually, your supplier will also find a freight forwarder in China to manage the entire process. The time and money you need for several turnarounds is a lot more for you to contact your freight forwarder directly. In addition, they are unable to professionally update the status of your products promptly.
Lastly is DAP which stands for Delivered-at-Place. DAP is an international trade term used to describe an arrangement where the seller agrees to pay all expenses and to bear the potential losses from moving goods sold at a particular location. With this service, in addition to the import customs clearance fee, the seller is responsible for organizing all the steps. You don't have to pay for this fee. Nevertheless, much of the job can not be handled by the seller such as warehousing, labeling, inspection of products and the like. It should be remembered that the transport package quotations have already been inflated many times, and your supplier can also share your part of the cost.
Therefore our valuable advice is: choose FOB or EXW to leave the products in professional hands with the lowest price and the fastest time to reach you, which is the best way to save time and money.
2.Familiarize yourself with the Size and Weight Calculation Rules
It is best to pay special attention to the charges, especially for express delivery and air freight. Usually, the weight is calculated by "kg," and the volume is calculated by "CBM." However, is your cargo charged by weight or size? Let me tell you the rule.
A) If the volume of the goods is larger than the actual weight, it is calculated according to the ratio of volume to weight. We call it dimensional weight.
For example, if you ship a 100cm x 100cm x 100cm of foam, the weight is 20kg.Then the logistics company will never charge according to the actual weight (20kg). Since the size of the package will be large and take up much space, the relationship between size and weight needs to be converted:
So let's do that.
Dimensional weight (express) =100cm x 100cm x 100cm/5000=200kg
Dimensional weight (air freight) =100cm x 100cm x 100cm/6000=167kg
So, you see, its dimensional weight is far greater than its actual weight.
B) If the actual weight of the goods in "kg" is more significant than its dimensional weight, then it shall be charged according to the actual weight.
All in all, logistics companies are based on the maximum to charge; of course, this is also the practice of international transport. Therefore, in some situations, to reduce the measurement volume, it is necessary to compress the bundle, thereby reducing the cost.
3.Plan Ahead of time to avoid the last-minute rush
In international transport, the delivery time is an important factor in the determination of the mode of transport. Proper planning early in advance can allow one to have more options and to save on costs avoiding unplanned delays which can be costly.
It is also important to understand the holiday schedule in China. When the holidays approach, travel costs will rise sharply due to a shortage of factory and road staff. During the holidays, Chinese factories will also be closed. These should be taken into account in advance.
Generally, transportation costs increase in the following periods:
- During the primetime from September to early October.
- The first month of Chinese New Year—possibly January or February each year—depending on the lunar calendar.
- When transportation is relatively flat, the price will be more competitive — for example, every year after the Chinese New Year and also from March to April.
4.Get a reliable logistics partner to work with.
Ensure that your logistics partner is getting the best prices from air freight companies, steamship lines, and truckers. Check whether your logistics partner has multiple ocean carrier contracts available. If your logistics partner has more than one carrier choice available, you will have a higher chance of getting your cargo on board as cost-effectively as possible. If they have various carrier contracts, they can always find an alternative option.
5.Make sure you consolidate your cargo
Consolidating cargo is important especially if one is buying small quantities of goods from different suppliers and if there are not enough orders for each supplier to fill a container.
The logistics company can provide a consolidation process at any port of origin where goods from different suppliers can be stored in complete container loads. Sometimes it's a good idea to ask one of your suppliers to carry the products to another place where you have the most freight shipment and to combine with them. While paying extra for trucking costs, by avoiding LCL loads, you could save a lot on ocean costs. When it comes to calculation of freight costs, your freight forwarder can always guide you through the calculation.
6.Find a Hybrid Transportation Solution
A combination of transport would be appropriate. Air, ocean and ground transport combinations have been shown to minimize transport time while at the same time reducing costs. When air freight is too costly, but ocean freight cannot be delivered in time, you can work with the freight forwarder, who can provide a multimodal transport solution incorporating air freight and sea freight with other types of ground transport. Experienced freight forwarders can often find a way to achieve this goal in their communications. This hybrid approach delivers products within the right timeframe and retains the budget for the delivery of your goods.
International transport may be a complex mode of serious shipping or it may be an easy way to move freight from point A to point B choosing the most cost-effective and timely mode of transport is crucial. It is advisable to explore the various transport options with your freight forwarder to ensure that you ship your cargo at the lowest overall price.
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