Why should we import from China?

Home to the world’s second-largest market, China is an economic powerhouse. It’s low labor costs and advanced technology makes it one of the world’s largest producers, and it’s safe to say a great deal of products currently being sold around the world either originated wholly from or have parts that were produced in China. Importing from China provides tons of business opportunities and should be part of any importer’s strategy.

Beneficial it may be, importing from China has its complexities, especially given the difference in language, culture, and working style. It’s important to read up on the finer details of how to import from China before starting on your journey.

Container shipping rates for your import from China

Given the many strategically placed and large ports in China, your options for obtaining competitive container shipping rates from China are basically endless. Some popular ocean routes to import from China include:

iContainers also offers door-to-door services from China. If you’re importing from China to the US, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, or UAE, we operate in these places to provide you with the best service.

Ocean freight import from China

Ocean freight from China is one of the most common ways to import from China as it offers importers many choices to choose from. From FCL and LCL shipping to the different types of containers available, you will be able to fine-tune the details of your import from China to cater to your specific needs.

Documents needed to import from China

Generic documents

  • Bill of Lading: The Bill of Lading is a detailed list of information pertaining to your cargo, including origin and destination addresses and shipper and consignee details.
  • Packing list: The packing list specifies the description of your shipment, including weight, volume, and value.
  • Commercial invoice: The commercial invoice must have the exporter’s basic information, the importer’s fiscal information and the Incoterm under which the shipment is being sent.
  • Power of attorney: This needs to be correctly filled out, signed, and stamped.
  • Copy of personal identification
  • Copy of passport
  • Technical specifications of vehicle (if transporting vehicles)
  • Correct tariff classification of the merchandise

Specific documents

There are certain additional documents that may be needed for your import from China. Some of these include the Certificate of Origin, Form A, and other test reports that may be required for specific products according to each importing country’s regulation.

For more information on the specific documents you require for your merchandise and country destination, speak to your shipping agent at destination.

Incoterms for your import from China

Incoterms are international terms that govern the conditions under which an international transaction is conducted by determining the responsibilities of the importer and the exporter in each part of the process.

The Incoterm you choose for your import from China can greatly affect your overall shipping costs as there may be control over certain expenses that are out of your control. That said, it’s extremely important to know the specific conditions of the Incoterms available to you.

Imports from China tend to be done with the EXW, FOB, or CIF Incoterm. We recommend choosing the FOB Incoterm as even though you’re responsible for a large part of the transaction, it also puts you in control over costs. Read our article on FOB, EXW, or CIF Incoterm when importing from China for a better idea of these three Incoterms.

GRI when importing from China

The General Rate Increase, or GRI, are freight rate increases implemented by the shipping lines in response to market movements. These usually take effect at the beginning of the peak season and only once a year.

As you prepare your import from China, it’s best to do so well in advance to have the flexibility of avoiding a GRI by opting for an earlier vessel departure date. You may speak to our consultants to secure a rate over the medium term so that your rates are locked in and protected from the GRI. For more information about the GRI in China, you may give our article on how to prepare your China import Christmas campaign a read.

What are the main carriers that operate in China?

Given the market potential and volume of trade China does with the rest of the world, it should come as no surprise that all of the world’s top carriers operate in China.

Main carriers in China
Sinotrans CMA OOCL Arkas China Lines Evergreen
Hamburg Sud Yang Ming MSC Seago Transglory Maritima Davila
Maersk Safmarine Catalana del mar ACG Newtral Romeu Vanguard

How to book a shipment for your import from China

Booking a shipment for your import from China has never been easier. With iContainers’ easy-to-use platform, you can complete your reservation in minutes. Before proceeding, you should have the following information in hand to get the most accurate quote: port of origin in China, port/country of destination, type of container, and whether you’ll be shipping FCL or LCL.

After entering this information, you’ll get to choose from a list of rates that vary according to transit time and carrier. Once you’ve selected the rate and route that best suit your needs, choose the additional services that you may require and you may proceed to make payment. Our sales representatives will be in touch with you shortly to confirm your reservation and proceed with arranging your pick up.

Top 10 products to import from China

Product Value
Clothes and textiles $233B
Computers $173B
Broadcasting equipment $161B
Telephones $110B
Plastics and rubbers $87.5B
Integrated circuits $64.6B
Footwear and headwear $60.9B
Office machine parts $42.8B
Electrical transformers $29.7B
Vehicle parts $28.1B

Top 10 countries that import from China

Country Value
United States $436B
Japan $149B
Germany $99B
South Korea $87.2B
Mexico $63.7B
Vietnam $60B
United Kingdom $59.8B
India $58.9B
France $47.9B
Canada $46.7B

Additional resources for your import from China

Understanding the Chinese way of doing business is key for a successful import from China. The Chinese culture may be very different from yours, and it’s important to know how to orientate and adapt yourself to theirs to prevent accidentally offending them.

To understand the Chinese business and negotiation style, read our article on how to successfully negotiate with Chinese companies.