If you are importing goods from China for the first time and unfamiliar with overseas shipping, you might believe that full container shipping is your only real option? Of course if you have sufficient amounts of cargo to load into a 20ft or 40ft container then this would undoubtedly be the most cost effective shipping method, however more often than not – for first time importers filling a full container is just not an option.
You would therefore require a Less than Container Load (LCL) or sometimes referred to as a Part Container Load service, whereby your cargo is consolidated (or grouped together) with other people’s cargo which is travelling to the same destination. The beauty of an LCL sea freight service is that it offers fantastic pricing for small to medium sized cargo consignments and without doubt is the most cost effective way of shipping goods from China to the UK.
Typically speaking the process for shipping goods using a Part Container Load service is straight forward and hassle free and is usually arranged by your appointed freight forwarder, whether this is via a UK based freight forwarder dealing with their counterparts in China or where you are dealing directly with the freight company in China. Pricing is calculated on a “per cbm” basis (cbm = cubic metre) and therefore depending on the size of your cargo consignment, will determine how much your shipping charges will be from China to the UK. Do also bear in mind that as well as having to pay for ocean freight from port of origin to port of destination, certain other charges will apply such as:
These fees will usually apply to FOB (Free On Board) consignments being shipped from most Chinese origins, such as Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Dalian and Guangzhou to name a few.
If you are purchasing goods from China under different incoterms, such as C&F, CIF, CFR etc. then additional charges may apply at both origin and destination points and generally speaking, will mean you are paying more for your shipping from China than you really need to be.
I would always recommend you discuss the options available to you when shipping goods by Part Container Load from China. Never automatically assume because you are receiving a “cheap ocean freight” price from the Chinese manufacturer/freight forwarder – this will mean the best shipping option for your business. Consider purchasing your goods FOB instead, which can make a considerable cost saving to your business and also means most importantly, you know exactly how much money the shipping of the goods will cost from start to finish.
Most freight forwarders will be able to give you impartial advice on this and answer any questions you may have about shipping goods from China to the UK.