When you import a shipment of products from any country, the freight costs are a pretty substantial part of the cost involved. There are many different factors that influence the freight charges and it is important to understand them if you are in charge of your companies logistics.

There are two types of ways to ship a product from China, by air freight or sea freight. The obvious advantage to air is that your shipment will arrive faster. When a shipment is made by air, it isn’t charged the usual customs fees a shipment by sea is. Products shipped by air are also less likely to get damaged. Air freight shipments are generally better suited for shipments of smaller quantities and size, but it isn’t often the cheapest option.

Sea shipments are generally the cheapest option for bulk shipments. Obviously, ships can handle much more weight and volume than a plane.

There are two different terms when it comes to the type of container load on a cargo ship, FCL and LCL.

FCL or Full Container Load charges a flat rate for the whole container to be shipped over. It is cheaper than LCL when shipping products that take up the entire or most of the container. FCL loads can be safer to ship than LCL as they will only have your company’s products and won’t be subjected to other products that may be packed poorly that could potentially have chemical fumes or spills.

Less than Container Load, or LCL is normally used when shipping products that don’t fill the container. It charges by the cubic meter and an LCL will often contain more than one company’s products. There is a breakeven point where the amount of cubic meters used will equal the cost of an FCL load, so it is important to get a quote from the freight forwarder to see which the better option is.

Buying higher quantities will reduce the freight cost. The price of the freight is also determined by the weight of the goods, so the higher the quantity, the lower the price will be.

Optimized packing can save money too. Make sure your products are well packed and there is no dead space in the packaging. If you can also combine groups of smaller orders in to one freight shipment, that can save money as well.

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