How do you save on freight costs when importing from China? Shall my shipment go by sea, train or air? Depending on your product and were you live there are options to consider. Freight costs are a substantial part of the cost when manufacturing and importing from China. Let’s look at the different factors that influence the freight charges when planning your companies logistics.

Air, Ship or Train Freight Costs When Importing from China

Air freight costs when importing from China has the clear advantage of being faster. The product may also not be charged the same customs fees as when sent by sea. Your imported products are also less likely to get damaged by air. When looking at the price this is usually more suited for small shipment quantities or large amounts of small items.

Train freight is the second fastest method of shipment for Europe. It is cheaper than air (about 50% less)  and faster than ocean taking 12-13 days. LCL and FCL transport is possible and door-to-door rail service between China and Europe by container train. This has become very popular in the last years with the “new silk road“ venture. China and Europe have invested billions into railways throughout Europe. With this method your product can be transported from China to London or Vienna within two weeks. This method of transport is cheaper than air but still more expensive than ship. Due to the movement of a cargo train it is better suited for shipments of non breakable product. The amount shipped per train is rising every year as prices for shipping decrease.

Ship freight costs when importing from China is still the most reasonable one for bulk shipments and is still the most popular method shipping.

FCL or LCL Container Load

There are two different terms when describing the type of container load on a cargo ship or train. FCL stands for „Full Container Load“ and LCL for „Less than Container Load“. 

FCL charges a flat rate for the whole container being shipped. This may be a safer way to ship your product since the container will only have your companies products. It will not be loaded with other products that may have been packaged poorly or have leakage.

LCL is normally used when shipping products that do not fill a container completely. These charges are by the cubic meter and will include product from several companies. One needs to discuss cost with a freight forwarder to see were the break even point is between FCL and LCL to determine the best financially and safest method for your shipment.

Optimize your Shipping Costs

To optimize and save on shipping costs remember higher quantities as well as optimized packaging can save money. Make sure that products are well packed to save space and reduce risk of damage to product.