Shipping Freight From China to the US
The flow of goods imported from China to the US via sea vessel is staggering. One of the biggest vessels in the world, The Benjamin Franklin, which first traveled to the US from Shanghai to Los Angeles in 2016, was carrying 18,000 containers on board that one voyage alone. The US receive somewhere in the ballpark of 17 million containers at their ports per year.
Navigating the ins and outs of this process, while avoiding pitfalls when shipping freight from China to the US, can be an overwhelming and monumental task for so many organizations. Here are some tips for a smooth sailing shipment.
Timing is Everything
When it comes to sea bound freight, always account for the possibility of delays. There are several reasons for these delays, some of which are beyond your control. For starters, storms and weather related incidents could impact the ship leaving on schedule. Sometimes scheduled vessels may not have space available when you need it, especially if it is during peak times like the holiday season rush. Booking your vessel enough time in advance will mitigate this risk. If you are working with a freight broker or logistics provider, they can arrange these logistical details to time your deliveries accordingly.
Full Container Shipping
Shipping a full container load – whenever possible –will be more budget friendly, as you generally pay a higher rate per unit for Less Than Container Load, known as LCL. The second challenge with not having sending a full container load, is sharing the container with other consignments that might be delayed, impacting your shipment as well. Also, check with the supplier in regards to appropriate packaging to avoid damage during transport.
Goods and Custom Clearance
Be sure that the products you are importing into the USA are legally permitted to enter the country. Prohibited items include dangerous toys and illegal substances like absinthe. Restricted items require special permits or licences, such as firearms, animal products and shipping fruits and vegetables. For all inbound ocean shipments, you’ll need to file an ISF Importer Security Filing. This information must be submitted to US Customs and Border Protection 24 hours prior to loading the vessel at the port of origin. Late or incomplete filing may result in a $5,000 penalty per ISF submission. You will also need documents such as the Bill of Landing, commercial invoice and packing list. See the US Customs and Border Protection website for more information.