The ocean freight to China is the access gate to the largest consumer market in the World. The People’s Republic of China has recently overtaken the USA as the largest economy; although its GDP per capita is far from the leading positions, its new economic plan is focused completely on the development of the domestic demanda. China not only is the largest exporter in the world, but also has become a major importer of food, fuel, mineral resources, medical equipment or chemicals, among many other products.
Its growing domestic demand, in addition to joining the main international trade regulation bodies, makes the ocean freight to China a priority option for every exporter.
Before finalizing the procedures for your ocean freight to China, you will have to choose between a Full Container Load (FCL) or a Less than a Container Load (LCL) - Groupage. FCL will allow you to use a container just for your cargo, without sharing it. This is especially suitable if the cargo volume lets you fill up a 20-foot container or 40-foot container, because each container can carry a total of 10 or 21 standard American pallets, respectively. The standard American pallet is 47.24 in. long x 39.37 in. wide.
In that way, you will take more advantage of the transportation cost, as FCL shipping begins to be more profitable when you fill up more than half of a container; besides, you will also benefit from a Full Container Load if you want to avoid any damage or contamination in case of sharing a container with other traders.
In other situations, the “groupage” - sharing a container - will let you save on shipping costs, in case the volume you need is not enough to fill up a container or you are not concerned about the risks associated to sharing the container. This way involves sharing the container with other goods belonging to other traders, but you pay only for the space used by your cargo, with great savings on your shipping costs.
The growth on the Chinese foreign trade has increased exponentially during the last 15 years. Imports in the year 2014 reached 1,960 billion dollars, which is 18.3% of the GDP, with an enormous growth margin. For that reason, the Chinese coast is being equipped with a large number of modern commercial seaports able to absorb the constant flow of goods entering and leaving the country.
The Port of Shanghai is currently managed by Shanghai International Port, a public company owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government. Since 2010, it has been the busiest commercial port in the world, exceeding the amount of 35 million TEUs per year in 2014.
This is both a sea and fluvial port, composed of three ports: Wusongkuo, Waigaoqiao and the deepwater port of Yangshan. Besides, it has a large number of terminals: Coal Branch (coal, sand and gravel), Zhanghuabang Company (steel, iron, heavy cargo and containers) and Baoshan Terminal Branch (general cargo and bulk), among others.
The Port of Ningbo has played a main role in relieving the congestion of the Port of Shanghai. It is located in the center of the Chinese coast, south of Shanghai, and is the exit port for all goods exported from Zhejiang, the second most important province in China. Its fusion with the Port of Zhoushan means a combined handling capacity of 17 million TEUs in the past exercises. It has 309 berths and 5 terminals: Beilun Port Area, Zhenhai Port Area, Ningbo Port Area, Daxie Port Area and Chuanshan Port Area.
Nowadays, the Port of Hong Kong acts as a connection between Asia and the Western world thanks to its legal framework, different to that of China; this allows receiving the traffic of all that cargo whose paperwork may imply any conflict between the Chinese authorities and the importing/exporting country.
The Deepwater Port of Shenzen is located south of the Pearl River Delta in the province of Guandong, extending along the coast for 260 kilometers and having two areas: East Port and West Port. The 39 shipping companies based on this port contributed to make it one of the most important in China and its fusion plan with the Port of Hong Kong will make them the first seaport in the world.
The Port of Qingdao is managed by the Qingdao Port Group and is south of the Shadong peninsula, being the port that handles the largest amounts of iron and petroleum in the world and China, respectively. More than 400 million tons pass through its premises each year, making it one of the 10 largest ports ever built.
The Port of Xiamen is in the island of the same name, belonging to the province of Fujian and opposite Taiwan. After the Communist Revolution, this was one of the first seaports that opened up foreign trade activities; this fact let it position itself as a port traffic site of great relevance.