If you are new to importing from China, you need to find a professional freight forwarder to handle your shipment. Finding a good freight forwarding partner will definitely save you time and money. Here are  7 tips to help you choose a freight forwarder in China.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Good English for Smooth Communication

Many sales agents in Chinese forwarding companies have bad English, especially when it comes to some professional words. Good English will increase your efficiency in communication and solve your problems quickly. Miscommunication and misunderstandings can be costly. The salesperson you contact must have good English. Poor English is a big red flag.

2. Look for a Professional Website

A professional website means the company pays attention to user experience. A better UX lets the visitors enjoy reading their content and builds trust in the company. Because the company pays attention to user experience, this means, they take more care of YOU, their customer.

3. Very Competitive Shipping Rate

Shipping cost may be the number one concern when choosing the forwarding company. Shipping rates from different forwarders may vary a lot. For example, shipping one 20’ container from Shanghai to Los Angeles, you may get quotes from $500 to $1000 during the normal season.

This is a difference of 100%!

Never ask for a quote from only ONE forwarder. Simply Google “best freight forwarder in China” and get rates from at least three different forwarders. Your forwarder should have the ability to get a competitive shipping rate from their carrier and help you reduce shipping costs.

4.  Professional Shipping Service Solutions

Shipping general products from China is not hard work, but if you are in the business to import big equipment or systems, shipping may be a big challenge for many forwarders.

For example, the system in below video:

Very few forwarders know how many containers you’ll need to ship the system. And it’s from these kinds of challenges that you’ll know if your forwarders are professional or not.

Find a professional freight forwarder and partner, who will solve all your problems when shipping from China– so you can just focus your business.

5.  Reply to Emails Quickly, 24/7

You may have had this experience:

You have an urgent problem with your product shipment and send an email to your forwarder.  It is during off-hours and no one replies to your email until the next day. The resulting handling delay causes you to lose money on your shipment. In import businesses, where margins are thin and capital reinvestment is high, this mistake could be crucial.

A quick reply is important in any international business. Some salespersons never open their work email after working hours, even in some big forwarding companies.  Because of the difference in time zone, you may be working when forwarders are off work in China. This may cause a big problem.

Consider “quick reply” agents, even if their shipping rate may be a little bit higher.

6. Able to Handle All Kinds of Goods and Ship from any Port of China to the World.

If you are a trading company, you may import many different kinds of goods from China. Your goods may have dangerous or regulated parts like batteries, which many complicate the shipping process. Here, you will need your forwarder’s help.

You may also have several suppliers in different cities all over China, say: Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Xinjiang. You need a forwarder with the ability to ship your goods from anywhere in China; this is very important. Your forwarder should have warehouses in different cities and collect your goods to their warehouse and then ship together.

7. Other Services Such as Goods Pickup, Customs Clearance, Product Classification, Container Loading Supervision, etc.

Your shipping operations often require additional services like pickup and delivery, customs clearance, product classifications, etc. A professional freight forwarder will be able to deal with these tasks. If you are dealing with a new supplier in China, you can even let your forwarder verify the factory and make container loading supervision.

A multi service forwarder will also save you a lot of time, and of course the shipping cost. You will appreciate your forwarding partner in China when you find a good one.

Conclusion

If you do not have a reliable freight forwarder, go ahead and use this 7-tip checklist to find your forwarding partner in China, and to skyrocket your importing business.

About the author: Sunny Sun is the co-founder of BanSar, a professional freight forwarder in China. He lives in Suzhou.

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