Importing goods from China is the trend today, since manufacturing and labor in China cost less, and they manufacture just about everything. If you are starting a distribution or retail business wherein your supply comes from China, then you will need to find a reliable freight forwarder that will arrange for the shipping of the goods from China to your city.
Freight forwarders are not necessarily the shipping company that transports the goods through ocean freight or airfreight. These are companies that arrange the documents needed to track your items, from the manufacturing company, to the shipping company, to your warehouse. They also arrange for the customs transactions and approval of the transport of your items. Aside from paper and legal work, they also find the best arrangement for the physical container of your items to minimize cost without compromising the safety of the items being shipped.
To find a local freight forwarder in China, consider these tips, which may be helpful:
- Ask for recommendation and referrals from the import industry, preferably those that import similar products as yours. Different products are packaged and shipped in different ways, so it is best to talk to people involved in the same industry as you.
- Make a list of the freight companies in China and research on the companies—how long they have been in operation, who their clients are, what kinds of products they arrange for transport, do they have any pending complaint cases, and other points you may want to find out before entering into a contract with them.
- Local freight companies in China are said to charge cheaper compared to US freight services, so you need not pay much attention to the cost, but take a good look at the company’s efficiency and reliability.
- Find out whether the freight company has the proper insurance coverage in case the items being transported get lost or damaged. It is also very important that they have a customer service representative that you can always get in touch with anytime.
- Make sure the freight forwarder is registered with the Chinese government and has the necessary license and clearances to operate and do business with other countries.
- It is also best to check both US and Chinese government websites or other resources, for a list of blacklisted freight forwarders, so you can avoid them.
- When talking to a freight company’s client, find out how long that freight company has been providing services to the client. You will be able to see whether the client is satisfied with the services.
- Do not leave everything to chance. Be proactive and ask for details. Make sure the local freight forwarder provides you with all the information you need, especially the process on how your items are being shipped. Find out who are involved in the transport (the trucking company, shipping line, customs, etc.), so that in case there are problems, you know how to track the transactions.