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All About Shipping Products from China and How Your Sourcing Agent Will Help


Choosing to source products from China is a very wise decision and many businesses have made amazing profit by doing so. After all, China is one of the leading hubs of manufacturing units. You can get anything made here, and that too at great prices. Nevertheless, all this is possible if you have the right guidance throughout.

A sourcing agent is who you need to guide you. Right from the beginning when you are finding a supplier to when your product will be loaded for delivery, they can take care of everything. In this blog, we have discussed everything about shipping from China and how an experienced and reliable sourcing agent can help you with it.

Shipping products from China with the help of a freight forwarder

Shipping merchandise from China is a little complicated procedure. However, understanding it is inevitable if you wish to do business successfully with Chinese suppliers. So, let’s see how it works…

First of all, it is important to understand who you need to get in touch with. Yes, your sourcing agent will help you throughout, but there will be many other parties involved. For instance, to successfully ship your cargo, you need to find a reliable freight forwarder as well.

A freight forwarder is a person who acts like a broker between you and several shipping companies. Shipping companies have the resources like trucks, vessels, and aircraft via which they can ship your product. However, it is the freight forwarder who will discuss the terms and negotiate with these shipping companies on your behalf.

You, your sourcing agent, or even your supplier can find a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder can either be a company or a single person who simply works from home. Amongst other things, your freight forwarder will pick up your cargo from the supplier, and even handle import and export procedures for you.

However, there is no particular way to find a reliable freight forwarder. Thus, it will be best if you just let your sourcing agent find someone for you, especially if this is your first time shipping from China.

Understanding some important trade terms (incoterm)

There are 5 basic incoterms that you need to know well. Without understanding these terms, it can get difficult to understand the entire shipping procedure. These are:

ExW: This means, the price that the supplier quoted you didn’t have any charges concerning shipping. So, you will have to collect your cargo from the supplier’s warehouse.

FOB: It stands for Free On Board, and it means the supplier included all the exporting costs in their quote. All you have to worry about is finding a freight forwarder who can take over the responsibility of your cargo once the supplier has delivered it at the port.

CIF: This term means it is the supplier who will find a freight forwarder and thus take care of shipping. As per this term, the cost of delivering your cargo from the supplier’s warehouse to the port, and from there to a port in your country is all paid by the supplier, or say included in their quote. Now, all you have to do is find a freight forwarder who can pick up your cargo from the port in your country, complete the customs procedure, and deliver it to you at your doorstep.

DDU and DDP: These two terms mean Delivery Duty Unpaid and Delivery Duty Paid. The difference between these two terms is whether your supplier will pay the import duty along with other shipping costs or not.

Tips to keep in mind while shipping products from China

Get multiple quotes and get them well in advance

Your sourcing agent will help you in getting a few quotes from freight forwarders and shipping companies. To get the right quote, provide enough info concerning your cargo. These details include the location of the manufacturer’s warehouse, the destination where you want the delivery, product details, HS Codes, size of shipment (dimensions), and weight of the shipment.

Confirm the order

Once you have the quote, you should confirm it as soon as possible. Of course, you don’t have to be in any hurry, but confirming the quote on time will help in carrying out the procedure of shipping from China easily. Besides, if you are going to place repeat orders, lock shipping rates for 2 to 3 months. This is advised because fluctuation in shipping charges can disturb your profits.

Work simultaneously

As soon as the production starts, start keeping in touch with your freight forwarder or shipping agent. Once the manufacturer provides you with an estimated delivery date, convey the same to the shipping agent. This will help them book space for your cargo. Also, once all this is in line, you can start planning how you will deliver goods to your clients or end customers.

Collecting cargo and handling customs

Usually, your sourcing agent and freight forwarder will take care of all this. That said, your supplier needs to provide adequate info concerning your cargo to the freight forwarder. After all, you need your goods to pass China customs inspection without any issues. Also, you will have to furnish a few documents, like:

  • Contract
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading
  • Certificate of origin

Furthermore, depending on your product, you may need to provide additional documents. Your freight forwarder will advise you concerning the same.

Clearing Customs

Your freight forwarder will complete all the paperwork and process necessary payments to ensure there is no issue with customs when the cargo arrives at the port in your country. Once customs are cleared, make the necessary arrangements to pick up your goods from the port.

To conclude

We hope this blog post helped you understand some crucial points concerning shipping from China if not all. Lastly, we would like you to keep in mind that sourcing products from China is not very difficult, or else businesses around the globe wouldn’t be dealing with Chinese manufacturers. Yes, it may sound a little daunting at first, but with the right type of sourcing agent to guide and support you, you can handle it all very easily.


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