Book your China shipments now!

It’s that easy.

If you’re reading this on Friday afternoon, you still have time to contact your States’-side freight forwarder.

Don’t delay one more moment to contact your freight forwarder and get the process underway.

Chinese New Year is Feb 5th.

That means you need for your sea shipments to leave in the next 10 days to 2 weeks.

But let’s do a hypothetical on a possible too-late-to-the-party to book on time.

Let’s say your shipment is finishing up in 5 days.

In 5 days, the quality inspection finishes and the goods are ready to go to the port.

That means the goods are ready to leave the factory loading dock on Jan 02, 18 – you still with me?

The goods will get to port on Jan 4th.

But since they get there on the 4th, the closing date, isn’t until THE NEXT Wed.

This means the goods get to port on 4th, clear customs on 9th (the closing date), then according to this scenario, the sailing date is Sunday the 13th.

This scenario is based on factual experience.

Usually “closing dates” are mid week.

And “sailing dates” are generally early week. Of course I realize this may vary.

Here’s the kicker.

If you’re hoping to catch that 13th vessel and your space is NOT already booked, chances are, the vessel is full!

That means, from you port, your FOB, you only have possibly 1 or 2 more weeks to catch a vessel prior to the bottle neck of the Chinese New Year.

Chances are also likely that those vessels are booked.

Especially if you’re sailing from a secondary or more obscure port.

This happened to us last year

You would think after so many years of China business and importing we wouldn’t get caught slipping.

But booking vessel space is tricky, especially around the holidays. The blob of busyness and shortened vessel space can sneak attack a business.

We were able to quickly pivot and move the goods and the FOB booking up to another port, thus finding available vessel space.

When it comes to sea shipment, here’s a few bulleted reminders:

  • Don’t underestimate that you’re always going to have space. Book as soon as possible. It’s better to change the booking than to be ready to ship and not have space.
  • Around the Chinese New Year all things connected to shipping, logistics and trucking is astronomically chaotic.
  • Remember that your closing date is usually 4 to 5 days before the sailing date. If you miss the closing date, you actually cannot sail until potential 10 to 12 days later.
  • Communicate and reminder and exhort your supplier to avoid arriving to port too close to the closing date. It seems the orders that arrive in the knick of time in China are the ones that get flagged for a customs inspection.
  • Make sure all of your documentation is consistent. The export name and consignee all line up with commercial invoices and packing lists. Inconsistencies seem to flag the US customs algorithms to flag your shipment for a check.

I should’ve done this post 2 weeks back. But I’m stretching for content ideas since I challenged self to blog everyday of December. Forgive me for my tardiness.

But the kernels of truth remain and hopefully they can propel other importers to be more timely in 2019.

Don’t delay in 2019 to do any task you are supposed to do.

Whether you delegate the responsibility or do it yourself.

Some of the biggest importing an sourcing snafus are simply because buyers or suppliers…waited.

We’re not far from the glory of 2019 arriving.

Make it your year.