How to Import from China

July 17, 2019
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Easy China Warehouse helps a wide range of customers ship from China, from small companies that ship goods a few times a year, to larger companies that ship a container every month. Here’s everything you need to know about how to import products from China.

Usually, when smaller companies are starting out they ship small quantities of samples and/or a small batch production order. In this case, the best way to get small shipments out of China is by small parcel. The cost is more economically than shipping by sea LCL. The reason for this is that sea shipments have more fixed costs when it comes to loading and unloading a container at the ports.


1. International Express – Fast and Most Convenient Way

For shipping less than 100kg, the best choice is to send products by international courier.  Although this type of shipment cost is significantly higher than sea shipment, it is the only economical way of shipping small parcels.  Usually when small companies look to validate an idea then they almost always start with a small batch production shipped by air to their home country to test the market.  International express (FedEx, DHL, UPS, EMS etc.) are the most suitable companies to ship with in this case.

How to import your goods from China using air express

An important thing to keep in mind when using international express is that they calculate bulky cargo by dimensional weight (length*width*height/6000). If you ship a product that has a lot of empty space then the cost will be much higher than the items weight. If a products actual weight is 500g/item, it could cost 1000g/item in dimensional weight, so it’s important to think about this when you are doing your product research.


2. Consolidated Amazon FBA shipments + UPS destination delivery -Most Economical Way for 100+Kg Cargo

When you import from China and have cargo that is 100+Kg, consolidated sea shipment is a good choice for small quantities of goods at a competitive cost.  The cost is typically one third the cost of Air Express (FedEx, DHL, UPS, EMS etc.).

A good fit for this type of shipment is for companies that order an item consistantly but in very low quantities.  These low quantities are too low to ship Less than Container (LCL) but too expensive to ship by express air.  The best solution would be to use the Amazon FBA shipments.


3. Air Freight -Fast and Suitable for More than 500Kg Cargo

Air freight is cheaper but slower than express. Its important to have a larger shipment size of at least 500Kg or higher. Dimensional weight in this case is calculated by length*width*height/6000,  which is better then express air.

When you ship Air Freight shipment must be arranged from airport to airport by a freight forwarder. When cargo arrives at your destination airport, then your freight forwarder has to help to arrange pickup from the airport and customs clearance.

Note: Air Transportation of Hazardous Materials
All airlines have strict rules about shipping hazardous materials as cargo.  These materials include materials that more easily burn or have the possibility to ignite or explode.  Although most people will not be importing these explosive type materials, there is a common hazardous material that many import which is batteries.  Most small parcel shippers will not allow shipments of items with batteries in them such as China Post, or EMS.  When shipping hazardous materials by Air Freight your forwarder needs to provide special documentation for the goods that need to be shipped.  These goods generally can only be shipped on cargo airplanes rather than the cargo area of passenger jets.  For more information about shipping hazardous materials by air you should consult with a freight forwarder.


4. Less than Container Load Sea Shipments(LCL)

LCL sea shipment is the most economical way when your cargo is 2+ cubic square meters.  Sea shipment doesn’t make sense for very small quantities because there are high fixed costs at the ports to load and unload the containers and clear customs.

Sea freight is usually arranged from port to port, so it’s important to have your freight forwarder arrange shipment from the port to your final destination. It’s important to choose ports that will be closer to your end destination because sea shipment is usually cheaper than shipping goods by land.


5. Full Container Load Sea Shipping (FCL)

Full container load sea shipment will almost always be the cheapest way to ship goods to from China.  We’ve listed below  the basic capacity of the three most common containers:

  • 20GP 5 ton           26CBM
  • 40GP 22 ton        54CBM
  • 40HQ 22 ton       68CBM

Shipping by full container load is the same process in which LCL is shipped.


6.Railway Shipment to Europe -Yixin’ou Rail Shipping Line

Yixin’ou Railway Line was opened in Nov. 2014.  It connects China with many countries in Europe by land. This line starts in Yiwu, China, then travels via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally arrives in Madrid, Spain.

Railway shipment from China to Europe

Before it was opened, goods traded between China and Europe needed at least 1 month of sea shipment, but now the time has been cut down to 15-20 days by rail. The freight fee is around 3-4 times higher than sea shipment, but is still significantly cheaper than air freight which can be between 10-15 times higher than sea shipment.

The Yixin’ou railway line offers an option for shipment in-between sea and air shipment with a good balance between cost and speed.

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