Sea Freight Forward Shipping :Ultimate Guide

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Written By Sharline

Sharline is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

The import of the products safely and legally is a crucial issue which most of the importers face while buying the products from China.

Therefore, selecting a reliable and accurate shipment method is necessary for the safe delivery of the products.

Sea freight is the most common, cheapest, and popular mode of transport. Most of the traders choose sea freight when the products have to be transported over long distances, and time is not an issue.

The sea freight offers you several benefits over other modes of transport. Therefore most of the traders prefer the transportation of their goods through the sea freight.

If you are going to import the products from China and get to know about sea freight, you are in the right place. Continue the reading and get the benefit from this ultimate guide.

Sea Freight Forward

Four Common Terms Of Sea Freight When Buying From China

China is well famous all over the world by providing cheap products. Therefore, most of the traders used to import from China.

Sea freight services further decrease the price of the products. Therefore, the profit margin for sellers increases multiple times.

Therefore, China has become the most favorable place to get unique and excellent products at economical prices.

The shipping by sea from China lets you get the best ways to get the best quality products from China at the low prices. The following are the most common terms which are used during the shipping by sea from China.

· Exw

The EXW stands for the EX works; according to this term, the seller must ensure that the buyer will get all the required products on time. But in return, the buyer will have to pay for all the charges.

EXW is one of the current incoterms. Once the buyers have got the process, they will be responsible for all types of losses, such as loading into the trucks, shipments, and unloading.

The EX work is just like a contract between the seller and the buyer. The seller has to manage the preparation of the products, their packaging, and safe delivery.

The buyer will be responsible for any sort of damage or loss that happens during the shipment.

· Fob

The FOB term stands for the Free On Board. The term is used to depict that the ownership has been transferred from the seller to the buyer.

The free on board shipping is used along with a physical location. The designation determines who will handle the payment of freight at the time shipment is passed from the seller to the buyer.

· Cif

The CIF stands for Cost, Insurance, and Freight. The term shows that the seller has to check and monitor all the arrangements for delivering goods through sea freight.

The seller will also provide all the required documents. These documents are required by the buyer so that he can get the products from the carrier.

· Dap

The term Dap stands for the delivery at the place. It is the term which is used at the international level. The term depicts the seller will bear all the losses.

For instance, if any breakage or damage happens during the delivery of products.

Beside it, the seller will have to pay all the costa and will make sure the delivery of the products at a specific location.

How To Calculate The Costs About Sea Freight?

When it comes to shipping from China, sea cargo appears as the best option.

It is a fact that sea freight is the cheap and best way to get products from China.

But before you go for sea freight, it would be better to calculate the price of the sea freight.

1. Fcl Rates

The price of the full container load depends on the shipping containers. You will have to pay the flat fee on all the primary container sizes.

It includes the 20’ containers, 40’ containers, and 40’ high cube containers. Therefore, it is imperative to know the shipping containers dimensions if you want to calculate the FCL rates.

The money you have to pay depends on different factors. For instance, from where the container is coming, its destination, time of the years, and many others.

You can also contact the sea freight forwarders. They can help you to get cheap services, just according to your requirements.

Fcl Rates

2. Lcl Rates

It is highly recommended to notice the rate of sea freight. The LCL price of goods depends on the volume of the products. The weight of the goods does not play any role in this regard.

You can calculate the ocean charges by checking the insurance and other terminal handling charges, customs breakage, pickup, and delivery of the products.

Beside it, you can also check the price of the custom security charges and container freight station. All of these will let you know the real cost of the LCL.

3. Door To Door Rates

In the door to door shipping, the freight forwarders ensure you that products will be shipped from the supplier and will be quickly delivered at the door of the buyer.

Therefore, it is a little bit difficult form of sea freight. Because the product is collected from specific addresses and then delivered at a specific location; no one knows the about the cities have covered to reach the destination.

The following are the factors involved in the calculation of the door to door rates.

Transportation To Port Of Loading

The freight forwarder has to collect the products from the supplier. Therefore, it can charge you a massive amount.

The freight forwarder will get the products from the supplier and then drop them at the port. The ad then, they will ship the products towards the final destination.

Export Customs Declaration

The customs declaration is not an easy job, where besides the documents, a considerable amount of money is also required.

Therefore, you will have to pay for this. You can also get different policies or cargo insurance to ensure the safest delivery of your goods.

Or Else, you will have to bear all the losses or damages in case of any mishap.

Loading Port Fees

After the custom declaration, the loading of the products is the next step. The freight forwarder will also hire the labor to do this job.

It can cost you a massive amount. Therefore, you will have toad this amount to get the exact amount of door to door rates.

Ocean Freight Charge

After the loading, the next step is delivering the products from the port of China towards the final destination.

The ocean freight can vary depending o =n various factors, for instance, the country where the products have been prepared and the country where the products are being supplied. Beside it, the time of the year also matters a lot.

For instance, if you import the products at peak times, you have to pay a considerable amount of money. But if it is not the peak time, you can get the products at cheap rates.


To ensure the safety of the products, you can also get insurance policies. The cargo insurance can give you real peace of mind and ensure the safest delivery of your products.

The company will have to bear all the losses in case of damage or accidents. In this way, you will get the products safely on time.

Suggested reading:Best Cargo Insurance Service In China: Ultimate Guide

shipping insurance

Destination Port Fees

After the safest delivery of the products at the destination ports, the very next step is the unloading of the products.

At this step, you will have to pay a massive amount for the unloading of the products. Beside it, you will also pay for the customs clearance.

Import Customs Clearance

After reaching the destination, you will have to pay a considerable amount to declare the customs clearance. You need to consider this amount in the door to door rates.

Customs Duty/Tax

Besides all of the costs mentioned earlier, you need to pay for the customs duties or other taxes.

The custom clearance not only requires a lot of physical efforts but also a massive amount of money.

It is not possible to get the products without getting clearance from the custom. Therefore, you need to pay this payment at any cost.

Transportation From The Port Of Destination

The last step of this trek is the transportation of the products to the door of your customers.

Here again, you will have to pay for the loading and unloading of the products.

Door To Door

Top 8 Biggest Ports In China

Sea freight is the best option to transport you from China. China is the largest exporter of this world.

The Chinese economy has shown swift growth over the most massive few years. Therefore, you can see Chinese products all around you.

China has overtaken the United States America because of its largest economy.

That’s why everyone tries to get the Chinese products. The Chinese products are unique and cheap; therefore, they offer a huge profit margin.

You can import different products from China, such as clothes, electronics, toys.

Beside it, you can also get the food, fuel, medical equipment, chemicals, and many more.

You can see exponential growth in international trade at the international level over the last 15 years.

The key reason for this rapid growth is the quality and price of the Chine goods. You can get the best quality goods at a low price.

Beside it, the cost of the shipment is meager, and several suppliers can provide you a free shipment.

It can further reduce the cost price of the products and increase your profit margin. And ultimately, all of these collectively make the Chinese products an undeniable option.

Based on this factor, the coast of China has been equipped with modern seaports, enabling the constant flow of the products worldwide.

· Shanghai

Currently, the Shanghai International Port is managing the pot of Shanghai. The Shanghai International Port is a public company which is owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government. It is the busiest port of this world.

The Shanghai Port is comprised of three ports, i.e., Wusongkuo, Waigaqiao, and Yangshan.

In addition to it, the Shanghai port also contains several terminals like Coal Branch, Baoshan Terminal, and Zhanghuabang Company.

Shanghai port

· Ningbo-Zhoushan

This port has played a very important role in the rapid growth of the Chinese economy. It is located at the mid of the Chinese coast, south of Shanghai.

It is the exit point for all those who are exporting the products from Zhejiang. It is one of the major cities in China for the import of products.

The port can handle about 17 million TEUs. There are about five terminals and 309 berths.

· Shenzhen

The Shenzhen is located at the South of the Pearl River Delta, in the province of the Guandong.

The port has been extended up to 260 Km and has two ports, i.e., East and West.

More than 39 shipping companies are involved in this port, making it the most crucial part of China.

The fusion of this port with Hong Kong has been expected, which will make it the most the first seaport of the world.


The shipping by sea is a good option, which can benefit you in several ways.

For instance, the cost of sea freight is relatively low. Therefore, most of the people choose the sea freight while importing from China.

It is located in the Guangdong and is operated by the Guangzhou. At present, it is the largest and one of the busiest ports of China.

Xiamen port

· Qingdao

The Qingdao Port Group controls the Qingdao port. It is located in the south of the Shadong peninsula.

The Qingdao port controls the import or export of the iron, petroleum, and many other products at the international level.

According to estimation, more than 400 million tons of petroleum are passed through this port. Therefore, it is among the top 10 largest and busiest ports in the world.

· Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Port is the only connection between Asia and western countries. The portlet all the traffic to pass through which face any sort of conflicts with China.

· Tianjin

It is the biggest port in Northern China. It is the largest human-made port not only in China but also in the world.It is the only maritime gateway in China.

The port covers about 121 square kilometers on the land and about 31.9 Km on the sea.  The port is present at the western shore of China.

· Xiamen

The port is present on the island of the Xiamen. The island belongs to the province of Fujian, and it is opposite to Taiwan.

It is one of the first seaports which appeared for the transport of different products from China to the different parts of the world; after the Communist Revolution.

The port is very well famous for improving trading activities. It is one of the very first seaports which were opened for trade activities.

Guangzhou port

Packaging Issues You May Meet

The packaging of the products is a very crucial factor that no one can ignore. The safe and reliable packing of the products can ensure your safes delivery over long distances.

Therefore, most of the traders used to hire professionals for the packaging of the products.

But, in a few cases, the products are not packed properly. Therefore the buyer fails to get the product without being damaged.

The following are significant mistakes which most of the traders made during the packaging of the goods. You need to get through them all. So you can avoid them.

1. Damaged Or Low-Quality Cardboard Boxes

The cardboards should be rigid and robust enough to bear the weight of the products during their delivery over long distances.

If the cardboard is not strong enough, it may break up in the middle of the journey, and as a result, the product can get damages.

After packing the products in the boxes, try to wrap them properly. For this purpose, you can also use tapes or different other materials.

Damaged Or Low-Quality Cardboard Boxes

2. No Freight Pallets

The pallets are the flat structures utilized in the cargo containers to ship the products from one place to another. These containers can ensure the safest delivery of delicate products.

The products are placed in the pallets, and then they are secured by wrapping the products tightly.

It is the best way to restrict the movement of the products. If you are not using the pallets, it is might possible your products get damaged, especially delicate products.

3. Damaged Or Low-Quality Freight Pallets

In some cases, it has been observed the people use the pallets, but they are not of the required quality. For instance, the pallets are either damaged or of low quality.

In both of these situations, your products will be at a high risk of damage. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the products have been packed properly. It is the only thing which can guarantee the safest delivery over long distances.

Damaged Or Low-Quality Freight Pallets

4. Protective Plastic Missing

After completing the packing of your products, you need to wrap them with the plastic. If the supplier has not wrapped the products properly, do not accept that you will get the product safely.

To ensure the safest delivery of the products, the proper packing of the products is essential.

You can make sure the safety of your products only when they have been packed properly.

One thing more, always make sure that the packing material which you are using is of high quality.

Transportation Of Dangerous Goods With Sea Freight

The transportation of goods is a very critical step. Therefore you need to take exceptional care while importing the goods from China.

First of all, it is safer to know whether your products carry any dangerous substance or not.

And if the products contain any dangerous substances such as flammable compounds or something else, take exceptional care of your products.

What Is A Dangerous Product?

The dangerous products contain several chemicals, such as aerosols, explosive compounds, or some radioactive compounds.

If your product contains such types of compounds, you will have to take exceptional care during the transportation of these compounds.

The flammable compounds can catch fire very quickly, and therefore, they are at high risk.

Whenever you are transporting such compounds, it is better to mention that the products contain the flammable compounds on the label. So, keep this type of product away from fire.

How To Shipping Dangerous product By Sea

How To Check The Dangerous Product Through Labelling?

Before you pack your products for the shipment, it is very crucial to know whether your products contain a toxic or dangerous substance or not.

If the products contain some sort of hazardous substance, you will have to take exceptional care.

The following are the factors that can let you know whether your products are hazardous or not.

  1. Product Identifier

The product’s identifier is a combination of the numerical and alphabets. They are used to detect a specific number of products.

It can help to define the nature of the products. Therefore, the product identifier plays a very crucial role during the shipping of the products.

Beside it, the product identifier also lets the customers know about their product. That’s why the customers can also use their products during the shipments.

  1. Signal Words

The signal words determine the nature of the products. For instance, it is the best way to determine whether a product is dangerous or not.

If a product is dangerous, then it will handle with special care. You can get your products without any damage.

  1. Hazard Statement

The risk statement describes the nature of the products. The hazard statement determines the exact effects of the products n human beings.

Through hazard statements, you can mention whether a product is toxic, eye irritant, or dangerous when swallowed, cannot be sniffed, highly flammable, and many more.

It is the best way to beware of your shipper that he will have to take special care during the loading, unloading, and delivery of the products.

Precautionary Statement
  1. Precautionary Statement

According to product’s nature, you can also add precautionary statements. For instance, handle it with care, wear gloves, do not sniff, and many others.

Therefore, through these precautionary statements, the shipper will be able to know the nature of your products.

  1. Supplier Information

You need to mention the supplier information. In case of an accident, the shipper can ask the supplier about the nature or composition of your product.

The information of the supplier plays a very crucial role during such type of incidents.

The shippers can contact the supplier and after getting the information about the products, handle it with special care.

  1. Ghs Pictograms (Diamond-Shaped Symbols)

The symbols can describe anything about your products. Various types of symbols show the nature of the product.

For instance, you can pass the symbols on whether your product is flammable, highly toxic, health hazardous, carcinogenic, and many others.

How To Shipping Dangerous product By Sea?

You can limit the risk factor. It is better to inform the supplier and other related persons about the chemical composition of the products to take special care of the products accordingly.

How Leeline Help You Shipping Goods From China By Sea

Leeline is a company that tries to sort out all of your problems. Furthermore, the company tries to provide you the best quality products from the Chinese markets at the best possible prices.

The company stands beside you at every step, so that you can get the required products on time without any problem.

1.Fast, Accurate, Obligation Free Quote

Leeline tries to provide you the best company for the transportation of your goods.

The company can provide you the fast and reliable transportation of your products. Furthermore, the Leeline will also help you in getting the obligation free quote.

The primary purpose of all these efforts is to ensure that you are getting the best quality goods at a low price.

Easy, Simple, Direct Online Booking Process

The company can also let you know about all those companies who can offer you are liable mode of shipment and the easy and simple booking process. The Leeline aims to offer you an easy and quick way to get the best services.

Therefore, the company will let you know about those companies which can offer you the best online booking program.

2.Competitive Sea Freight Rates On All Shipments

The company visits the market and then provides you with a list of the best companies in the market.

The primary purpose is to find those companies which provide you their services at the economical prices. The company wants to keep your money safe. So, in this way, you can get a higher profit margin.

3.Exclusive Access To All Your Related Shipment Documentation

The documentation is one of the most hectic processes. Therefore, Leeline will search for those companies which can handle all of your issues, and you may not have to work hard to get the required documents.

4.Delivered-To Worldwide Port

It is the most crucial factor, which can’t be ignored. Therefore, it would be better to check whether the sea freight would be possible for your country or not.

If the company can provide its services in your country, then Leeline will finalize the deal; others will search for another option.

There are many countries where the transportation of the products is not possible through the sea freight.

Therefore, it is essential to find whether you can get the products through sea freight or not.

Suggested reading:Best Freight Forward Service In China: Ultimate Guide

Delivered-To Worldwide Port

Final Thoughts On Sea Freight

China has become the largest economy in this world. Currently, the Chinese nation is supplying products to more than 200 countries all over the world.

The Chinese products are cheap in price and best in quality. Therefore, a tremendous rise in the demand for Chinese products has occurred over the last years.

The primary issue is the selection of the fright mode for the transportation of your products. Sea freight is the solution to all of your problems.

Sea freight is a cost-effective, secure, and reliable mode for the transportation of the products.

You can transport the products over long distances by just paying a small amount.

FAQ For Sea Freight

The following are the questions which most of the people used to ask regarding sea freight.

1.Is Sea Freight Always The Cheapest Option?

Sea freight is not only the most widespread but also a cost-effective way for the transportation of the products.

Through sea freight, you can transport the products over long distances without getting them damaged.

Sea freight is the best option for delivering larger shipments all around the world.

2.If Not A Full Container, Can I Also Ship Via Sea?

For the sea freight, you have two options, i.e., full container load (FCL) and less than container load (LCL). So, if you have not a container full of products, you can choose the less than container (LCL).

The LCL is the best option for all those who have to transport a small volume of products over long distances.

3.Lcl Rate = Total Ocean Cost?

Well, less than the container will charge you less as compared to the total ocean cost. Therefore, you can choose the total ocean cost.

4.How Many Cartons Per Pallet, How Many Pallets Per Container?

You can put about 1200 to 1400 cartons in a pallet. A 20 feet container can hold about 11 europallets in one-tier. The 40 feet container can hold up to 23 to 24 europallets in one-tier.

5.How Do You Get A Container From China?

To get the container from China, you will have to contact the supplier from the Chines markets. You will have to pay about $3000 to $5000 to get the container.

6.How Long Does Sea Freight Take From China To Usa?

The sea freight can take about 30 to 40 working days to transport the products from Chines markets to the United States America.

The ocean freight takes the longest time as compared to the freight modes. The reason is that the ships move at a languid pace.