Whether you are planning on shipping merchandise from China to Portugal, or you have had a great deal of shipping experience (good or bad) this article should be for you. Saving money, time and avoiding trouble are the key expectations of every cross-sea transporter. This article has three parts listed below and discussed thereafter.
Part1. How to find a reliable freight forwarder for shipping from China to Portugal?
- Why do you need a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
- Should I choose a freight forwarder from China or Portugal?
- How reliable is a freight forwarder?
Part2. How many modes of transportation are there from China to Portugal?
- Express delivery from China to Portugal.
- Airfreight from China to Portugal.
- Shipping from China to Portugal.
Part3. How to save money?
How to find a reliable freight forwarder for shipping from China to Portugal?
Why do you need a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
A freight forwarder is a firm that specializes in managing storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It typically offers a full range of services including monitoring inland transport, preparing import and export papers, warehousing, negotiating freight charges, booking cargo space, consolidating freight, insuring goods, and filing insurance claims.
There is much that goes into arranging your shipping internationally. While your international shipping details are handled by the freight forwarder, it is crucial to know what the freight forwarder does not do to understand what a freight forwarder does. A freight forwarder does not transport your freight itself.
A freight forwarder's duty is to transport goods from one destination to another. Freight forwarding companies are experienced in arranging for their shippers the entire process, from storage to product shipping. These companies serve as an intermediary between the shipping company and transportation services liaising with different carriers to negotiate the price and agree on the most cost-effective, efficient and quickest route. A freight forwarder would be of much help if you do not have enough time and energy to handle cross-sea transportation and document preparation problems, and also if you do not have the expertise to handle the unexpected customs inspection. We suggest that you find a cargo agent, particularly if you are an occasional carrier with little knowledge about international transport.
Because of the years of experience and expertise of a freight forwarder, using their services can help you save more time and money than shipping by yourself. When it comes to choosing a freight forwarder for shipping from China to Portugal, getting the right freight forwarder can make all the difference.
There is no need for a freight forwarder during importing and exporting of merchandise. However, both importing and exporting can require so many documents and regulations, And these regulations and the documentation required may vary from country to country, with many of the most successful importers and exporters using a commercial freight forwarder as their logistics partner. It is their job to know the shipping companies, the documentation and the customs laws of different countries. They know it all so you do not have to. This means that a great freight forwarding service can provide reliable product transport at competitive rates while saving you untold time and potential headaches.
A freight forwarder is an asset to almost any company engaged in international goods transportation and is particularly helpful if in-house resources are not trained in international shipping procedures.
Should I choose a freight forwarder from China or Portugal?
If your supplier is in China, it's best to choose a freight forwarder from China because you will also need a warehouse for storage and preparation in China. When you consider factors like geography and language, the Chinese freight forwarder then becomes the perfect choice for overseas transporters. If you choose a local forwarder from Portugal, they will have to contact a Chinese agent who will handle the picking, storage, and customs clearance in China. Hence you should consider whether you're willing to bear the time and expense of several turnarounds.
How reliable is a freight forwarder?
The real secret to quick and efficient product delivery is to decide on the best forwarder. But how do you know which company is sufficiently reliable to effectively fulfill your shipping requirements? You should establish some criteria when hiring an ideal logistics partner. Here's one of the top qualities you can take into account when searching for a freight forwarder.
1. Highly organized and qualified in the documentation process of shipping goods in and out of the continent. An excellent forwarder can provide its customers with accurate and efficient services because, in this type of business, errors can be very costly.
This is why there is hardly any room for errors in freight forwarding, for instance, an error in documentation or cargo delivery for the wrong country. Nonetheless, insurance is available for such cases, processing what is needed for claiming the insurance policy could be pointless and resources. All you might want is to get your goods shipped at once to their right destination.
2. Provides good packing service. Whatever shipping method you eventually choose on your products, whether by air, land or sea, shipping conditions are often tough and could harm your shipment if not properly packed.
A good forwarder possesses an efficient and reliable packaging system for several types of products, precisely for fragile goods. When choosing a forwarder, experience on the proper shipping and handling of the particular type of product also needs to be a prime consideration.
3. Provides a reliable network of customs brokers and shipping agents within the country of origin and destination. It ensures that everything concerning your shipments will flow smoothly forward and backward at once, reducing the potential for your shipments being stored in ports. Any delay, later on, can be extremely costly.
4. Offers a smooth and proper communication system and accurate tracking system. It is very important to start a strong, distinct communication between both the forwarder and the shipper when shipping goods overseas. This will help you know your respective shipments ' real-time progress or precise location, giving you peace of mind and certainty that the shipment will arrive promptly.
5. Good insurance plan. It may be extremely helpful to find a person with advanced cargo insurance to pay for your merchandise and shipments to properly compensate for any damage or reduction in shipment or warehousing.
Be cautious enough not to prejudge a freight forwarder whom you have not dealt with before because the success or failure of a shipment from China to Portugal is the most important factor. In general, to decide the suitability of the freight forwarder for shipping from China to Portugal, 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.
How many modes of transportation are there from China to Portugal?
When planning the shipping process, the mode of transport is an important consideration. In addition to the costs, the quality of the goods being delivered, the urgency of the delivery, and the size and weight of the goods must be assessed when deciding the mode of transportation to use. After selecting your cargo agent, your collaboration will begin. You will communicate with your experienced freight forwarder for shipping from China to Portugal and make them understand your specifications, including a budget, time, and mode of transportation. First, you should be aware that shipping from China to Portugal can be a complicated process, so selecting the right mode of transportation can greatly optimize your cargo flow. Below are all the modes of transportation. You will soon know which shipping method you should choose for your goods after you read it carefully.
Express is a relatively easy way of transportation compared to sea or air transport. We have thought of FedEx, UPS, and DHL as the fastest ways of shipping from China to Portugal because they are expected to take just 3-7 business days.
With express delivery, there is no need to worry about customs clearance or taxes, all you have to do is find an express company that gives you a fair price, and then you just have to wait for the goods to arrive at your address. Another advantage of express delivery is that there is less cargo handling, so the likelihood of damage or theft is minimized.
However, express delivery has disadvantages also such as being a bit expensive. Delivery costs can also be unstable and can rise in the month before festivities, for instance, the Christmas season. At the same, they can drop in the off-season when there no festivities.
Therefore, if your freight forwarder has a long-term and healthy cooperative relationship with the express companies with a large number of goods coming and going throughout the year, they can get a surprise price, which is a discount rate you cannot get on the official website. Pricing is also one of the indicators for judging whether or not a freight forwarder is worthy.
In China, there are several excellent ports, Shanghai port, Ningbo port, Shenzhen port, Tianjin port, Qingdao port, Xiamen port, and Hong Kong. If your forwarder can be located in these cities, it will be easier to handle your merchandise, and they will be more familiar with the loading and unloading rules of each port, which will 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 is a key mode of transportation. It is mainly used to serve supply chains and markets that demand speed. While 90% of goods are transported by sea, when high-value goods need to be transferred quickly and reliably to Portugal, importers and exporters use air freight.
Electronics products are better to be transported by air because they can get damaged by water if sea transport is used. Also, perishable goods such as fruit, plants, and some pharmaceutical products can benefit from the shorter transit time. However, air freight also has its own drawbacks, such as being one of the most expensive because of the speed requirement and the fuel used. Airfreight also has limitations in the size and weight of the products. Regulatory bodies restrict what can and cannot be transported by air, and as such, oddly-shaped or very large products may be more suitable for other modes of transportation.
Air transport links the world more quickly reducing the time between Portugal and China to 3-15 days. Why is there such a long time for air transportation? That's because freight forwarders have different airfreight products to meet the needs of different carriers.
Economical air freight: This 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 Portugal 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.
How to save money
By now, I believe that through the guidance of the above information, you have chosen an appropriate mode of transport. While shipping goods, freight costs are an important part of the expenses of your business. Choosing the right mode of transportation for your business, knowing how the cargo moves in the supply-chain, and maximizing the visibility of the supply chain will all help you save money. Next, to save money, you need also to learn certain business skills (discussed below); after all, transport cost is a crucial factor in the transport model.
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 Portugal airport/port.
- From the airport/port of Portugal 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 Portugal airport/port.
- From Portugal 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 Portugal. Under this arrangement, you are only responsible for the expenses from the Portugal 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. Normally, your supplier will also find a freight forwarder in China to deal with the whole process. The time and money needed for multiple turnarounds is much more for you to contact your freight forwarder directly. More notably, 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, the seller is responsible for arranging all the steps in addition to the import customs clearance fee. You do not have to pay for this charge. However, the seller cannot do much of the work, such as warehousing, labels, goods inspection, and the like. A point to note is that package quotations for transport have already been inflated several times, and your supplier can also share your portion of the costs.
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.
Become Familiar with 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.
Plan Ahead to Avoid the Rush Hour
The delivery time of goods in international transportation is the crucial factor that determines the mode of transportation. Ample time can allow you to have more options, not only to save costs or to deal with unplanned delays in time but also to support growth.
Understanding the holiday schedule in China is also important. As the holidays approach, transport 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 speaking, 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.
Work with a reliable logistics partner
Is your logistics partner acquiring the best prices from air freight companies, truckers, and steamship lines? Are there multiple ocean carrier contracts available for your logistics partner?
If your logistics partner has more than one carrier choice, 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.
Ship FCL and try to avoid LCL.
It may not be possible to avoid shipping LCL in some cases. LCL is typically used if a container load is not loaded with enough cargo. You share the container with other importers if you have ship LCL. As a result, there are more additional costs as the container has to be split into a container freight station (CFS). Make sure you talk to your freight forwarder about this. Depending on how much cargo you have, there should always be a breaking point where an LCL or FCL shipment may be less costly for you.
Consolidate your cargo
This is significant if you want to buy small quantities of products from different suppliers and if there are not enough orders for each supplier to fill a container. The logistics company can provide a consolidation system at every port of origin where they can club the products from different suppliers into a full container load. You can thus avoid shipping LCL and maximize your container load. Sometimes it's good to ask one of your suppliers to truck the goods to another location where you've got the most cargo shipping and consolidate with those. While you pay extra for trucking costs, by avoiding LCL loads, you could save a lot on ocean costs. Your freight forwarder can always guide you through the calculation of freight costs.
Find a Hybrid Transportation Solution
If appropriate, you can use a combination of transport. Air, ocean, and ground transportation combinations have been proven to reduce transportation time while reducing costs. If air freight is too costly, but ocean freight cannot be delivered in time, you can collaborate with the freight forwarder, who can offer the option of multi-modal transport combining air freight and sea freight with other modes of ground transport. Experienced freight forwarders can often find a way to achieve this goal within their contacts. This hybrid approach delivers the goods in the right time frame and maintains the budget for your delivery.
International transport can be a sophisticated mode of serious shipping, or it can be a simple way to move freight from point A to point B. It is important to choose the most cost-effective and timely mode of transport. It is advisable to discuss with your freight forwarder about the different transportation options to ensure that you ship your cargo at the lowest overall cost.
Transportation from China to Portugal is a complicated process involving many processes, such as the preparation of documents, customs issues, cargo insurance, Amazon preparation, etc. The international logistics industry has been relatively mature with the rapid development of international trade. However, the most effective and direct way to solve the international transportation problem is to choose an experienced and reliable freight forwarder.
China Freight is a long-established, experienced Chinese cargo agency specializing in shipping goods from China to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and Africa. They have excellent shipping, airline relations, and customs reputation. To capture the market in the freight forwarding industry, they offer competitive prices and timely delivery.
At China Freight, we believe that the customer’s gain is our gain. Establishing long-term relationships is the key to our success. Our principle of work is to place the customer first, together with our main values of integrity, honesty, and taking responsibility. Learning and growing have led us to be particularly successful in shipping from China to Portugal route and also in the international transportation industry at large.
We offer air freight services for time-sensitive shipments to enable you to send your goods efficiently and safely. Every single shipment can be delivered in perfect condition with our more than ten years of experienced specialists and dedicated service team. We can ensure that your delivery is prioritized for the earliest scheduled departures and ensuring the most reliable arrival times possible by building excellent working relationships with leading air cargo carriers.
We acknowledge that the goods we are going to forward can be urgent, high-value, time-sensitive or perishable. What we normally do is to deliver the deliveries as soon as possible and use a reliable air shipping quote to make the process smooth. You can rely on China Freight, whether it's airport to airport or airport to gate. If you choose air shipment, we will understand you can't afford customs problems or hang-ups, and you certainly don't have time to handle them.
Our experts are ready to start your worry-free shipping journey, click here for more information and quotes.