What’s the Best Way to Ship Your Chinese Orders?

Global shipping
ship pallets

The Ladingo Team

Should you ship your orders via freight forwarders or with your Chinese manufacturer? Not necessarily. 

Want to get more bang for your buck by ordering your goods from China? You’re not alone! What was once the sole jurisdiction of larger, global companies, is now a hot and trendy market, accessible to businesses of all sizes, as well as to direct-to-consumer purchases, thanks to e-commerce giants, like Alibaba.

When sourcing products from Chinese manufacturers, there are many particulars to iron out, many of which are a matter of personal preference and business needs. But when it comes to shipping your orders from China, all business-minded brand owners share the same concerns. They want their products to make it to their warehouses on time, on budget, and in great condition, regardless of the freight option selected: sea freight, air freight, train freight, or truck freight.  

Should you trust your Chinese manufacturer to select the most efficient shipping option and provide you with the best shipment for your LCL order? Or, is a freight forwarding company a better choice when going global and shipping from China?

What do you want to ship? 

China is a great market for sourcing products of all shapes and sizes. You can find items that are as small as a button, or as large as a sofa, and you can order these goods in a broad range of quantities. The size and weight of your product and the number of units ordered will influence the method of shipping used to transport them from your Chinese supplier’s factory to your business’ warehouse. 

Smaller, lighter, and higher value items can be shipped by air freight, while larger, heavier goods are best off being shipped by container, via train freight or ocean freight. Businesses having 12 or more pallets of goods from China can benefit from shipping their orders as Full Container Loads (FCL), in 20 or 40-foot containers. But if your goods are Less than a Container Load (LCL), sharing container freight with other buyers can be the most efficient way for you to ship and receive your orders. That being said, LCL shipping can involve higher per volume costs, and sharing a container does not necessarily mean that you’ll share the associated fixed administrative costs. 

Who should take charge of the shipping?

More and more businesses are having their Chinese manufacturers handle their cross-border shipping, but this is a grave mistake. If you’re in search of the fastest shipping option, the cheapest shipping option, or the most efficient shipping option that integrates both speed and affordability, leaving the logistics of your order to your Chinese supplier is not the way to go.

It’s not their fault. It’s not their specialty. Your suppliers are manufacturers. They spend their days researching and developing products, not researching and determining how to safely, economically, and swiftly move their products across international borders and through customs clearance proceedings. 

But what you may not have realized is that it’s not all or nothing. It’s not a “Chinese manufacturer vs. freight forwarding company” scenario. There is a middle-ground. You can opt 

to use a Chinese freight forwarding company to move your goods.

Why using a Chinese freight forwarder may seem like a good idea

Partnering with a Chinese freight forwarder will enable you to benefit from shippers located as close as possible to your suppliers. They know the local market and have made connections with local manufacturers. As such, they are in the best possible position to provide you with comfortable rates that reflect their ability to move your goods. Not only can the forwarder keep in close contact with you and your supplier to keep everyone informed on all necessary processes and procedures, but they can also swoop in if and when trouble arises and resolve (or inhibit) any issues along the way.

Why using a Chinese freight forwarder isn’t the best way to ship your orders

The main downside of working with a Chinese freight forwarder is the forfeiture of your “home-field advantage.” Chinese shippers do not share your business or cultural practices, which can inhibit communication and transparency throughout the fulfillment process. 

Imagine the following scenario: you place your order and update your brand’s website that XYZ is coming soon. But because your Chinese freight forwarders are not native English speakers, nor are they accustomed to Western business practices, some details get lost in translation and your shipment isn’t sent off when you thought it would be shipped. And because transparency isn’t a priority, you’re not entirely sure where your shipment is, or when you’ll be able to fulfill your customers’ orders. Not exactly the customer-centric vibe you’re looking to espouse. 

What’s the best way to ship your Chinese orders?

The best way to ship your Chinese orders is not through your Chinese manufacturer. It’s not using a Chinese freight forwarding company either. Luckily, you have quite a few alternatives to choose from. You can find a freight forwarder in your home country with a China office. You can also work with freight forwarders in each country or with a home-country based shipper with a proven track record of successfully working with Chinese agents to coordinate the foreign side of the forwarding process. But perhaps the best possible way to ship your Chinese orders is with a logistics solution provider that specializes in making the entire fulfillment process seamless, affordable, and as automated as possible, like Ladingo

Want to see the best way to ship your Chinese orders in action? Check out our website & discover our industry-leading global partners, today!

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