1) What is the size and volume of your shipping?
2) How often do you do this?
3) How quickly do you need to get the items from the time they are shipped?
4) Finally, how do you cover customs clearance?
Shopping around definitely pays off but can take some effort on your part. Not all carriers price things the same way and you can save a lot of money from shopping around. This is true of all shipping domestic and international regardless of origin and destination countries.
If you can fill in some of these questions I might be able to give you some suggestions.
The packages will be sent about every week. Right now I`ve been using FedEx and their
25kg box (that`s 55lbs for those two or three countries that don’t use the
metric system. The dimensions are:
height 35cm, width 56cm, depth 44cm
21-9/16" x 16-9/16" x 13-3/16" (for our US, Liberian and Burmese friends)
I have one shipment from HK that will have about 20 of these boxes each weighing 9kg (20lbs). The other shipments will be weekly and will around the same dimensions and weight (25kg).
It would be good for the courier company to handle the customs clearance. As for timing, I don’t need three-day delivery. One to two weeks delivery would be fine.
I definitely would discuss with FedEx a discount on the weekly shipment and as for the bigger shipment I definitely would shop around - the price difference for a consignment that size can be amazingly high .
Edited to add: In my experience most exporters - especially in in far east do have shipping agents they work with to export their material - Have you ever thought about requesting a quote from your supplier for the material including freight ?
SunnyDays is right on several points here. You need to talk to the parcel carriers, all of them. Don`t limit your discussions with just one carrier. Parcel carriers like and are seeking out companies like yours, especially with those with your consistent international weekly volumes. So don`t be shy about this, shop around and be a hard negotiator. Make sure you tell them everything you have outlined here along with telling them you are looking for the best deal. Be honest and tell them just the facts. They sound good as they stand. Don’t fluff up your story trying to get a better deal, as this will backfire on you. It sounds like that is all it will take to get some better pricing.
In addition to this, SunnyDays makes a very good point about talking to your exporter and/or supplier. Many times they want your business so much they will work to cut you an even better deal. Do this for no other reason but to find out what all the alternatives are that you could seek out if they are not interested in helping.
One last point is you might check out the web site from one of SUN’s articles about doing business in
I hope this helps and good luck!
Their obviously have been some sophisticated logistics answers here, but the last one was THE best for saving money if time is not a huge factor. Especially if you start or already have multiple suppliers in one country. Whenever possible establish a consolidation point at a port and have your suppliers ship to that point and have your consolidator keep you informed of the material received so you can tell them when you have enough to send out. If you can ship by pallets, by air or ocean you will save TONS of money using a freight forwarder with offices in HK and Canada, who is also a customs broker. I agree strongly with Bert about the negotiating, be honest. I HATE to hear how much stuff someone has coming from China, it NEVER seems to be as much as we are promissed. I must disagree with SunnyDays on comingling freight costs and product costs. This will force your freight costs to be subject to any GST/Duty/Tax rates on your commodity. Freight ALWAYS needs to be a seperate line item on the commercial invoice, it does not matter if DDP or EXW terms are used. Good luck.