A Guide Through Sea Freight ShippingFBAforward
Most of our customers decide to ship their products via sea freight because it is cheaper than air freight or air express. However, the process of shipping via sea freight can be complicated and confusing if you are not familiar with the process of importing from China. It takes the longest (2-4 weeks port to port) and it involves many steps that require detailed attention. Here are the different steps you have to go through when shipping via sea freight.
You begin the process by selecting a shipping company. You can either go with a Chinese or an American shipping company. Chinese companies typically have cheaper rates but are less reliable. They are harder to communicate with because of language barriers and time differences which makes it easier for them to scam customers or charge them high fees to release shipments.
Next you have to select a customs broker. The customs broker needs to be based in the U.S. and will require you to have an Employer Identification Number or EIN. Anybody importing into the U.S. needs to have an EIN. If you are a non U.S. importer you can follow this link to get instructions on how to get one http://fbaforward.com/blog/foreign-ein/.
Before your shipment leaves China, your customs broker needs to file an Importer Security Filing or ISF form. Failure to file this from properly prior to the ship leaving can result in fines up to $10,000. They will also need you to provide them with a commercial invoice and packing list to file necessary forms.
Shipping times usually take around 2-4 weeks from China to the port of Long Beach. Once the shipment gets to its port of destination it will be unloaded from the container ship and transported to a bonded customs warehouse. Once the shipment is in the customs warehouse the customs broker files the documents to release it. The Customs and Border Protection Agency inspects the shipment and clears it so it is ready to be picked up.
If you are looking for a completely hands-off approach and still ship via sea freight we offer our Turnkey Solution. When you use the TurnKey solution, our shipping agents in China will contact your supplier directly, arrange shipping from China. We will work with the customs broker directly to file all necessary documents throughout the import process, arrange a pickup at the port of Long Beach once the goods have cleared customs, process and prep your shipment according to FBA standards, and send it on to Amazon. We take care of every last detail, so you can spend your valuable time growing your business, not worrying about logistics.