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Thread: How do I arrange an import via sea freight?

  1. #1
    Bronze Member robinsonwang's Avatar
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    cape town
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    How do I arrange an import via sea freight?

    Hi All,

    I would appreciate it if someone could shed a little light or point me in the right direction.

    I've been importing small quantities (compared to some of you guys/girls importing container loads) of items from China and Taiwan for a couple of years now however I've always had my suppliers arrange the transport via air (door to door). Now that I've tested the water and have a couple of suppliers I'm happy with I would like to start having some goods shipped in via sea freight.

    I won't be importing any ware near a container load, it would just be about 10-20 boxes 0.3m2

    My questions are, how would I go about this and what are my options?
    Are there any risks involved with sea freight of small shipments like the above?

    Is it possible for my supplier to arrange a door to door service when transporting via sea freight? or is it best I arrange it myself? What are the pros and cons? what usually works out cheaper? etc

    Any guidance or a link to some info would be much appreciated

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Durban, South Africa
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    I think what you're looking for is someone who does break-bulk shipping.
    Seeing opportunity changes nothing. Seizing opportunity and running with it changes lives.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
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    Its common. We sometimes import by LCL (low container load) which tends to be boxes like you are talking about, often packed on pallets. Several different importers will share the same container. Its a little bit more expensive per unit than filling your own container because it has to be packed and unpacked with all the different orders.

    Sea freight also takes quite a bit longer than airfreight. 4-6 weeks from China.

    We have a mixture of suppliers, some who we pay CIF which means they get the the shipment all the way to Durban harbour. Others we pay FOB which means our transporter collects the goods from a foreign port and delivers it to us. Either way is fine.

    However you will in both cases need a clearing agent which is commonly also the transporter. They help you with all the customs documentation, shipping documentation and duties and taxes. I don't think the foreign company can easily deliver to your door. There are too many issues with customs. It just means you need to control it using your own clearing agent.

    Did you not have someone dealing with your airfreight shipments already?

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