Delivering your goods across the ocean is a complex process which involves many steps, but we come to you with solutions for shipping from China to Thailand that will help you understand how to save money and time, even if this is your first time shipping or you already have experience with this process. To make it easier for the reader, we divided this guide into 3 parts:
Part 1. How to find a reliable freight forwarder?
- Why do you need a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
- Should I choose a freight forwarder from China or Thailand?
- How reliable is a freight forwarder?
Part 2. How many modes of transportation are there from China to Thailand?
- Express delivery from China to Thailand
- Sea shipping from China to Thailand
- Air freight from China to Thailand
Part 3. How to save money?
Part 1. How to find a reliable freight forwarder?
• Why do you need a freight forwarder, and what can they do for you?
A freight forwarder is an experienced person from the international trade and transport community that coordinate and ship goods from one place to another by air, sea, rail and/or highway.
When you want to ship by yourself or when you have a hard time trying to find a reliable business partner, a freight forwarder is the best option because he will help you find solutions for shipping from China to Thailand. If you are an occasional carrier who knows little about international transport, we also recommend you to find a cargo agent who will be able to help you in this complex process.
A freight forwarder would make a great difference when you don’t have enough time and energy, experience or you just want to avoid all the troubles this process might bring you sometimes such as document preparation or cross-see transportation process problems.
In other words, if you want to save time and money while making an international delivery from China to Thailand by any mode of transportation, consider using a freight forwarding agent. He will make sure that your cargo will arrive on time and in the right conditions.
• Should I choose a freight forwarder from China or Thailand?
If you are importing from China, regardless of the mode of transportation, a Chinese freight forwarder is the ideal choice because first of all, he has the advantages of language and geography, and second, you will also need a warehouse for storage and preparation. An experienced Chinese freight forwarder will have these abilities: he will be fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, it will have a thorough knowledge of the Chinese business culture, experience in managing Chinese suppliers, category and sourcing process experience, quality control experience, audit experience, and logistics experience. Local forwarders (from Thailand) will often have to contact another agent in China to handle the picking, preparation, storage, and customs clearance.
• How reliable is a freight forwarder?
A freight forwarder is a reliable and experienced agent who will help you find solutions for shipping from China to Thailand. But to be sure they provide what you need, you can ask them a couple of questions to assess whether they are qualified for your transportation or not. Time, money, and the success of your shipment from China to Thailand is what matters.
1) Does the freight forwarder have a business license from the Chinese government? – Having a business license makes everything legal and transparent for you.
2) Does the freight forwarder have an official website, and has a good ranking on Google? – On their website, you can find the necessary information about their services and costs. Not to mention that in these modern days, Google reviews are a must-have for any company that respects itself and cares for its customers.
3) Does the company have a good insurance plan? – Having a good insurance plan is very important because it will compensate for your merchandise if any damage occurs in shipment or warehousing.
4) Do they have a complete cargo tracking system to update your cargo progress in real-time? - Finding a cargo shipping partner that offers cargo tracking is crucial because you can see in real-time where your shipping is and how much it takes to arrive at the final destination.
5) You can also ask them to provide the most recent shipment record or bill of lading - A bill of lading contains all relevant details about the type, amount, condition, and destination of the goods.
6) During the consultation, were the responses prompt, with professional advice and explanations? - If you are convinced by their services, but you still have some doubts about the process, is best to try the freight forwarder with a shipment of small goods. This way, if anything goes wrong, you won’t lose a big amount of money.
Part 2. How many modes of transportation are there from China to Thailand?
Before talking about the modes of transportation is good to know what standards and regulations apply in Thailand, and also which are restricted and prohibited goods.
Import Rules, Regulations, and Customs in Thailand
All goods must be reported to the customs department when you are importing into Thailand. This procedure has been centralized into the online e-Customs system - you will have to possess a digital certificate, which is an electronic signature file used to confirm the authenticity of the sender of electronic documents. You can choose to register with the system directly or through an agent.
Your goods will be classified as red line goods or green line goods by the e-Customs system, when importing into Thailand. The red line goods are the ones that need the following supporting documents: bill of lading, invoice, packing list, import license (if required), certificate of origin, and other relevant documents such as the list of ingredients, technical certificates and so on.
There is no definitive list for red line goods; the e-Customs system will check and verify whether the shipment is green line or red line.
Another step is the inspection of the cargo - for green line goods it will only take a few minutes, and for red line goods, the cargo and documents will be physically examined by the customs
Thailand Restricted and Prohibited Goods.
Is absolutely prohibited the import of Pitbull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier dogs.The goods that are prohibited but under a license can be imported are: drugs of narcotic nature (e.g. heroin), gold bullion, meat from any country affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and foot-and-mouth diseases.
Goods such as obscene articles, goods that have an improper Thai flag design, narcotics, fake currency, counterfeit trademark goods, etc., are prohibited. Importing these goods can result in fines and even confiscation of merchandise by the customs.
Firearms and ammunition (including explosive articles and fireworks) require a firearm transport permit.
The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
Thailand’s top 10 imported items in 2018 were: electrical machinery and equipment; mineral fuels including oil; machinery including computers; gems and precious metals; iron and steel; vehicles, plastics; articles of iron or steel; optical, technical, medical apparatus; organic chemicals.
There are numerous options for transporting goods in Thailand. The mode of transportation is an important aspect and has to be evaluated when you’re planning your shipment (cost, shipment urgency, the value of the goods, size and weight of the package).
Depending on your load volume, it is best to evaluate the mode of transportation when you are planning the shipment process because each option of transport has advantages and disadvantages, and you can significantly optimize your cargo flow and save money and time by choosing the right mode of transportation.
An experienced China-Thailand freight forwarder will help you find solutions for shipping from China to Thailand, and will have excellent communication skills understanding all your requirements, including time, budget, and mode of transportation.
Studies have shown that 95% of product samples and a small amount of high-value goods are sent by courier.
If you have an urgent and quick delivery, express shipping is the best option because is a relatively easy way to transport goods, and it takes, in general, 2 – 5 business days to reach your doorstep.
Express delivery is suitable for goods that are less than one cubic meter or 200 kilograms.
The prices and rates for express delivery are higher than other forms of transportation. Also, the cost of express shipping may increase during the holidays.
To save money, cargo agents or freight forwarders are the best solution because they can find you an express company that gives you a reasonable price, and they can also get a discount price that you won’t find on their official website.
Sea shipping is suitable in general for loads over 500 kilograms or when the size of the products occupies more than two cubic meters. However, it is also the most complicated mode of transportation, which takes a long time, but sometimes this might be the only option.
From China to Thailand, sea shipping time, in general, is estimated at around 7 to 15 days from port to port.
In China, there are several ports such as Shanghai port, Ningbo port, Shenzhen port, Tianjin port, Qingdao port, Xiamen port, and Hong Kong port, from which your shipping can leave to Thailand. If your freight forwarder is located in these cities, you will have the advantage that he will be more familiar with the loading and unloading rules of each port, making it easier to handle your goods, saving you time.
The top ports for importing in Thailand are: Klong Toey, also known as Bangkok Port (is the largest port in Thailand), and Laem Chabang Port.
Sea freight shipping is the best choice for bulk goods transportation. When importing from China, you can choose Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL), if your overall cargo volume doesn’t meet one full container requirement. There are three types of containers 20 ft., 40 ft. and a 40 ft. high cube container. The 20 ft. containers are designed to carry more weight such as minerals, metals, machinery, sugar, paper, cement, etc., while the 40 ft. containers are designed to carry voluminous cargo rather than heavy cargo, for example, furniture, steel pipes, paper scrap, cotton, tobacco, etc.
If you don't have enough goods to fill a 20' or a 40' container (FCL), you should choose LCL. This enables importers to ship smaller amounts of cargo, which doesn’t have the right volume to make Full Container Load a viable option. This means your cargo is combined with other shipping cargos for the same destination. When combining several shipments in one container, your freight forwarder needs to do more work. LCL freight is calculated in cubic meters (CBM) and charged based on the volume.
FCL refers to when the quantity of your goods is large enough that they can be put in at least one container. In this case, the freight is calculated on an FCL basis. FCL shipment will be loaded and sealed at origin by your supplier, then shipped to your final destination.
You should choose this mode of transportation if your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kilograms. In a matter of days, air freight can bring your cargo from China to your destination. On average, you can expect your cargo to arrive in 2 - 5 business days, depending on the mode of air transportation you choose (economic or express).
The main airports in Thailand are Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport.
There are two classes of Airfreight, economy and express or fast air transportation.
- 1) Economic air freight:
This service applies for general cargo (no dangerous goods, oversized or temperature-controlled goods). For this category, the price is relatively low compared with the express air freight. The time delivery for economic delivery is around 2 to 5 business days for the good to be delivered to your doorstep.
- 2) Fast air transportation:
With this service, you can transport cargo of all shapes, sizes, and types, including dangerous and oversized goods in a short period of time. The time delivery for this mode of transportation is around 1 to 3 business days for the goods to be delivered to your doorstep.
There are two methods to calculate the air freight price. The first method is cost per kilogram multiplied with the cargo weight, and for the second one, for low-density cargo (low weight and high volume) you will be charged based on the volume it occupies.
Part 3. How to save money?
To save money, you have to understand the terms FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP because, in the same transport model, transport cost is a crucial factor.
1. Understanding the Terms: FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP
Many websites like Alibaba use the quotations FOB, EXW, CIF, and DAP. In general, these quotations include information about where your cargo is being shipped to and from, the transport mode and equipment being used, shipment details such as dimensions, weight and a description of the goods.
FOB means free on board or freight on board and is an international shipping agreement used in the transportation of goods between a buyer and a seller.
FOB is the primary mode of Alibaba's quotation, which means that your Chinese supplier will be responsible for the transportation from the Chinese factory to the Chinese loading and unloading port. For example, if you see FOB Ningbo - Ningbo is a city and a port in China, and it means that this is the port that the supplier will ship your order to, which is covered by the FOB price, and from here, you are responsible for the freight. The freight is divided into two aspects - the first one is from China airport/port to the airport/port in Thailand, and the second one is from the airport/port in Thailand to your doorstep.
EXW stands for Ex Works. If you see this quotation on the website you are buying from, it means that the seller is making the goods available at their premises, or another named place.
In other words, EXW means that your freight has been increased one step, and you will be responsible for the transportation from the factory in China to the loading port in China. This is an aspect your Chinese freight forwarder will help you manage.
Your shipping costs will divide into three categories - from China factory to China airport/port - from China airport/port to Thailand airport/port - from Thailand airport/port to your doorstep. Over this, other transportation costs will be added such as Chinese export costs and customs clearance costs.
Finding a reliable freight forwarder is important because he will let you know where every cost is going, with no hidden expenses.
CIF stands for cost, insurance, and freight, and it means that the supplier is responsible for all transportation costs from the factory in China to the airport/port in Thailand, including insurance.
In other words, CIF is an expense paid by the seller to cover the costs, insurance, and freight if a package or item is lost or damaged while it is in transit to an export port. The seller must cover other expenses such as additional customs, export paperwork, inspections or rerouting, but once the freight is loaded, you (the buyer) become responsible for all other costs, including the expenses from the airport or port in Thailand to your doorstep. With CIF the supplier adds an extra charge to compensate for their efforts, and it becomes more expensive than FOB.
It will save you time and money if you find a freight forwarder, because usually, the suppliers in China will also find a freight forwarder to deal with the whole process, and they cannot professionally update the status of your goods promptly.
DAP stands for delivery at place or destination delivery. If you see this quote on the website you are buying from, it means that the seller will handle all the charges and the delivery to the buyer facilities, but the import taxes will be paid by the buyer at the destination.
Once the goods are ready for shipment, the packing is done by the seller at his own cost, then the goods are moved to customs location opted by the seller at exporting country at his expenses under DAP terms. All the necessary legal formalities in the exporting country are completed by the seller at his costs and risks; also the insurance up to the destination (Thailand) is arranged by the seller. If it’s not mentioned in the contract, the unloading cost at the final destination has to be borne by you (the buyer).
In other words, the seller is responsible for all the expenses and risks to deliver the goods up to the destination mentioned in the contract. From the destination mentioned in the contract, it becomes the buyer’s responsibility for the goods to reach his premises at his own expense.
But even if the seller is responsible for all the shipping steps, he can’t do detail work such as warehousing, labels, and goods inspection, so it is best to find a reliable freight forwarder, to help you with the detail work.
Therefore, the best way to save money and time is by choosing FOB or EXW, because your goods will be in professional hands, with the lowest price, and the fastest time to reach your destination.
2. Import Duties and Taxes in Thailand.
The standard-duty in Thailand is 10% for all goods and services, but there are some goods you won’t have to pay any duty for, such as laptops; books, publications, and documents; works of art; audiovisual meant for education, science, and culture; goods of an amount less than THB 10,000; articles for the blind; scientific equipment.
Import duties and taxes in Thailand are calculated based on CIF value. The import duty tax ranges between 0 and 80%, and it is calculated based on the complete shipping value, which includes: the cost of the imported goods, the cost of freight and the cost of insurance. Imported goods are also subject to sale tax (VAT), and in some cases to excise tax, interior tax, and a surcharge. The excise tax is applicable to petroleum and petroleum products, certain non-alcoholic beverages, certain electrical appliances, perfume products and cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes containing tobacco, woolen carpets, batteries, playing cards, ozone depleting substances, and chlorofluorocarbons.
3. Become Familiar with Size and Weight Calculation Rules
If you want to transport goods via express delivery and air freight you should take into consideration these rules because the costs can be high - the actual weight is calculated in kilograms (kg), and the volume is calculated in cubic meters (CBM).
A) Calculating the actual weight - If the actual weight of the goods in kilograms is more significant than its dimensional weight, it will be calculated like this:
Actual weight of the package x cost per kilogram (this price varies from company to company).
B) When the volume of the goods is larger than the actual weight is called dimensional weight - this is an estimated weight calculated by multiplying the length of the package with the width and height divided by a dimensional factor, also called a DIM divisor. Dimensional factors are numbers set by the major freight carriers, and represent cubic inches per pound. The dimensional weight is the weight of the package at the minimum density accepted by the carrier.
Dimensional weight = length × width × height/dimensional factor
International transport and logistics companies are based on the maximum value they can charge. For example, freight carriers like USPS, FedEx, or UPS calculate shipping charges based on whichever number is greater (actual weight or dimensional weight). For example, if you have a package that has the actual weight less than 31 kilograms (let’s say 29 kg), the freight carrier will charge for the dimensional weight of 31 kilograms since it is the greater number. For them, whichever number is higher becomes your billable weight. Therefore, in some cases, to save money it is necessary to compress the package to reduce the measurement volume.
Finding an experienced freight forwarder will help you find the ideal solutions for shipping from China to Thailand, and will save you money and time.
4. Plan Ahead to Avoid the Rush Hour
In general, planning will help you avoid trouble. In international transportation, you always have to plan your shipment in advance because the delivery time of your goods is the crucial factor that decides the mode of transportation. Holidays in China can have a great influence on your delivery time, and knowing the holidays' schedule in China and important shipping deadlines and guidelines will save you time and money because in those peak periods the shipping prices are usually higher and the factories are closed.
Here are some examples of peak seasons in China: Chinese New Year, Golden Week, Dragon Boat Festival, Holiday Shopping Season (October-December for air freight, July-October for sea freight).
If your shipment is not urgent, you will save money and you will also have time to face unplanned delays such as congestion, blockages, supplier issues, and documentation mistakes. You can also ask questions surrounding the company's response to delays, to see if they have procedures for resolving these issues.
5. Find a Hybrid Transportation Solution (multimodal transportation)
Multimodal transportation also known as combined or hybrid transportation is the transportation of goods with at least two different modes of transport, under a single contract. Legally speaking, the carrier is responsible for the entire transport, and he does not have to possess all the means of transport.
This mode of transportation comes with many advantages such as centralization of responsibility in one transport operator, economies of scale in transport negotiations, use of international experience in transportation, in the field of bureaucracy and commerce, better use of available infrastructure and more efficient means of transport, focused on cost reduction, and reduction of indirect costs (e.g. human resources).
A freight forwarder can offer you the option of multimodal transportation for your delivery if air freight is too expensive, and sea freight cannot be delivered in time. They can use their contacts to your advantage and find a way to achieve this goal faster and cheaper, which will help you save money and time.
This hybrid solution will deliver the goods in the correct time frame and keep your shipment on budget.
Shipping goods from China to Thailand is a complicated process, regardless of the mode of transportation you choose. This process involves many steps such as warehousing, document preparation, customs issues, cargo insurance and so on.
With the rapid development of international trade, the international logistics industry has also grown, and choosing an experienced freight forwarder might be the key to finding solutions for shipping from China to Thailand.
Our company is based on customer gain, placing customers first and offering them the best shipping possible from China to Thailand, through our experienced freight forwarders. We have experience, airline relations, customs reputation, competitive prices, and timely delivery.
Our success is based on integrity and responsibility, and it is our job to find you the best freight forwarder.
We will help you find a viable solution and see measurable results in little or no time.
If you‘re ready to start your shipping process click here for more information and offers.