There will always be companies that feel squeezing every penny from every part of an order is the best way to run a business. Unfortunately, these companies also think this will work with freight from overseas suppliers. However, one of the most misunderstood and frustrating components is shipping.
Most Asian manufacturers will make a blanket statement that they'll handle all shipping to the agreed upon U.S. port. At the time, this will seem like a no-brainer - sure, handle it, tell me when it arrives. But then, the troubles begin. The factory used the cheapest possible way to get it to the shipping company to load into a container, which means:
- The product was palletized with other items and wasn't secured properly
- The paperwork listed from the factory on the packing list is different from the Bill of Lading.
- The Import documents are incorrect
- The insurance on the shipment didn't cover any damage that occurred.
- The factory said they handled Customs fees, but they didn't (now you are stuck)
- The cartons on the pallet aren't labeled, or they are labeled incorrectly...resulting in Customs HOLD.
- Your products need to be checked by Customs and your paperwork doesn't match.
- The pallets your product were shipped on collapsed and all of your product is loose in a container...resulting in damage and cleaning fees and possible fines.
I could go on and on. What sounds like a good idea and a great way to save a few pennies now costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fees, fines and delays. Do yourself a favor, and find a reputable freight forwarder.
You'll have complete transparency over your orders and all your paperwork in advance. You'll know what container and what ship your material is on. You'll also know when it will arrive, and you can make arrangements in advance to have your product unloaded and shipped whenever and wherever you want.