The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Footwear from China

A vital part in planning a budget to launch your new line of shoes, international shipping can make or break a business. If not planned well, it can snowball into an exorbitant cost that catches many startups off guard. It doesn’t necessarily mean international shipping of footwear costs an arm and a leg, the truth is, many variables and factors come into play in an accurate shipping quote. As with many other aspects of getting your line of shoes manufactured in China, it needs a solid groundwork to be fully prepared.

International shipping fee should be taken into account in the early stage so it can work into your budget. However, at the beginning stage, you might only be able to get an estimate of shipping cost, with constant fluctuations of shipping fees affected by various factors like routes, fuel prices, demands due to important national holidays such as Chinese New Year, and other unexpected circumstances.

The best time to reevaluate your initial shipping budget is in the midway of your shoes production process when you’re able to tell more exactly the shipping time, and packing list to get a more accurate, confirmed quote. Though in the early stage you might be able to request a quote, however, you’ll risk making a wrong business plan if done too early, unpredictable factors such as delay of delivery time as it happens a lot. For example, your supplier might tell you one key component they sourced from downstream supplier would take an extra few days to arrive, or there’re some prominent quality issues found in the quality inspection process, and the factory needs an extra week to correct all the mistakes.

Most factories in China don’t charge warehousing fee even if your shipper picks up the goods a few weeks later, however, most carriers or shipping agents do apply warehousing fee if your goods are kept in the warehouse longer than the free period they provide. Most carriers or shipping agents do provide free warehousing if you use their service, but most free warehousing is available for 1-3 days. If you footwear are shipped in 5 days, an additional warehousing fee would incur. Whatever warehousing options, it’s vital to understand when the warehousing fee would be applied, and schedule shipping to minimize your costs.

About to import wholesale shoes from China? The following are some major models of shipping to take into consideration when shipping footwear from China.

By Air

Door to Door

The most expensive and fastest way of shipping, air courier is the second to none choice for small volume urgent deliveries. With express international shipping provided by carriers like DHL, UPS, EMS and FEDEX, the goods can arrive at your doorstep within 3-5 business days from your shoes factory in China. As is easily noticeable, the biggest perk is the goods are picked up from your doorstep and then deliver directly to the customers’, however, the biggest tradeoff is exorbitant shipping fees. If you ship frequently, be sure to consult the courier directly or contact their first grade agent, usually they can give you a much discounted rate for bulk orders.

Airport to Airport

A cheaper alternative to express shipping, air freight ships from airport to airport, and takes around 5-10 business days. As you can tell from the name, the greatest pitfall is you have to arrange delivery to the airport, and then pick up from destination airport. It’s a more alternative option for those who crave for a faster delivery time than shipping by sea but can not afford the exorbitant price of shipping from door to door. The shipping cost for a pair of footwear from China to USA by air freight, is somewhere from USD $8-20.

By Truck

Most start ups tend to not be aware of the shipping costs by truck especially when shipping from airport to airport or by sea. Trucking is an integral part of both shipping methods as you have to arrange a truck to transport the goods either to a warehouse in the airport or directly to the port. When the goods arrive at the destination airport or port, you’ll also need a trucking service to discharge all the goods. In some circumstances, the trucking fee is not included in the shipment quote. It’s always safe to double check with your carrier whether the trucking fee is included or not, as sometimes it can be a huge amount if your footwear factory is in Zhongshan while the shipping port is in Guangzhou. Worse, it’s during peak season of Chinese New Year when the cost can ridiculously skyrocketed to twice or three times more than what it actually costs at normal time.

As each shipping method has its ins and outs, and it’s not uncommon for some companies to use various shipping methods across a single order production. For example, samples used for marketing purpose will be shipped by express shipping while the mass order will go by sea. Knowing which method best suits your business schedule is the key. A well-planned, organized shipping will lead to a more cost-effective, timely delivery.

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