Finding the Right Logistics Partner
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right means of transport in the supply chain. The sourcing process can be complex and overwhelming, especially if this is the first time you are shipping your products, and you don’t have a strategic plan for your global sourcing needs.
After sourcing the products, the next difficulty you face is how to choose the best means of transport and the variable factors to consider. In this article, we’ll provide you with some insights which could help you in your decisions.
The One-Item Transport
The transport of a product sold in a B2C e-commerce website such as Amazon or eBay is very simple: buyer pays for the item, plus the shipping cost, and the seller will then use FedEx, DHL or other third-party couriers to deliver the item. If the buyer is happy with the service, he or she will give the seller’s account a positive rating for its quick delivery.
Shipping Concerns after Sourcing Product
But when it comes to large-quantity orders, e.g., B2B business, including bulk or custom-made items imported from different global sourcing origins, the transportation rate or tariff is one of the most important factors to consider in logistics. As Donald Waters, author of several well-known logistics books, put it, “At the heart of logistics are transport vehicles moving goods between suppliers and customers.”
While FedEx or EMS couriers can deliver the items to your designated location, the cost and tariff can be extremely high and this shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you’re sourcing clothing and accessories in China. The challenge for you is: what type of transport should you choose?
Commonly Used Transport from China to the West
- Container carrier- Almost 90% of the overseas trade is shipped by sea. Global importers take advantage of rivers and canals, as well as developed coastlines in countries like Hong Kong and New York. These cities have huge deep-water ports, ideal for moving large and bulk freight at lower cost. You need to be aware of their sailing schedules, available ports and routes.
- Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) – you may know them by the name, these are companies or organizations that act as freight forwarders or freight agents, arranging all the necessary processes of distribution and documentation for the import and export of goods. In a nutshell, they take care of the goods movement, starting from documentation to custom clearance and more. However, remember to negotiate the price with the agents and be clear about the insurance terms and the lead time for each shipment.
To help you decide which shipping companies would best suit your logistics needs, take note of the following:
- Cost of tariffs and external factors
- Schedule and lead-time
- Speed and consistency of delivery
- Size, volume, quantity of goods
- Insurance policies of carriers
- Reliability on delivery time
In the end, it still depends on the type of goods and materials that you need to ship. You may have to consider many or all of the factors instead of just the cost.