How to Ship Products From China
- 1). Visit the factory producing your products to find out which shipping companies have the best track records for performance, safety and documentation. Products fabricated in China take a circuitous route on myriad carriers to get merchandise from the factory floor to your loading dock in the U.S.
- 2). Contact several freight companies in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Quindao or Hong Kong if you're uncomfortable leaving carrier selection decisions to factory supervisors, even if they offer you solid recommendations. Talk with other American business owners importing goods from China for their recommendations so that you can compare their experiences to evaluate the track records of their picks.
- 3). Select a carrier that's equipped to handle all facets of your product's transfer: factory to truck to shipping container to freight offload to domestic truck or train that takes your merchandise from the port to your factory. Verify the carrier's fleet size to make certain it's equipped for all types of shipments requiring boxcars, containers, flat cars, hoppers, warehousing and distribution conduits. Ask for verification of their on-time delivery record.
- 4). Request proof of insurance from your carrier before you consign your products to the shipper. Make sure you're indemnified against loss, damage and piracy under either the U.S. Carriage of Goods by Sea Act or Rotterdam Rules. These laws were drawn up in 2009 to govern maritime transport of goods under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods by Sea.
- 5). Become a stickler for paperwork so that there's no question about documents accompanying your products once they reach U.S. Customs. Make certain your cargo manifests are in the hands of port authority officials no later than 24 hours prior to your product being offloaded from the ship. Anticipate random inspections of containers that could delay receipt of your goods; you'll likely share a container with others, and their paperwork problems can become yours.
- 6). Inventory your products the moment they land at your loading dock to verify the number and type of products listed on the manifest. Check for broken and damaged goods and flaws immediately so that you're able to stop production in China or request replacement products to fill the void created by the merchandise in your warehouse that's too damaged to sell.