Shipping and handling

Shipping is an important step in any production. Typically, overseas shipment involves following parties:


  • shipper--usually the manufacturer or trading company representing the manufacturer
  • consignee--usually the client or importer representing client
  • notify party--can be client or a third party who either has interest in the freight or helps processing the shipment. 
  • shipping company--who actually moves the ocean and inland freights; note ocean and inland transportations are often carried by different companies
  • freight forwarder--the shipping agent coordinating the whole process including obtaining quote, booking shipment, and communicating with the shipping companies and clients
  • Customs broker--most freight forwarders are Customs brokers, but not necessary the other way around. Customs brokers government certified who would help clear Customs for the imported products

What you should do

Basically you should hire a freight forwarder to handle the shipment. Theoretically, any registered freight forwarder should be able to help; but given that each freight forwarder contracts with certain shipping companies in certain routes, not every forwarder provides the same services and price. 

So it may be worth to take time shopping around. Our advice is, if you don't know anyone, stick with the reputable names.


It doesn't mean, however, you are not involved once you designate a freight forwarder. Quite the opposite; communicating with freight forwarder alone can be frustrated if you don't have any experience. There are some documents you have to provide for each shipment, for example, including commercial invoice, packing list, and ISF form; in addition, you should know your shipping terms (ex factory, FOB, CIF, etc.), and you will need to coordinate with factory and shipping company for loading, trucking, and Customs processing.


We may help

The good news is, we are willing to help. First, we will help coordinate with various parties in the chain; second, as an option, we can handle the whole course of transportation including delivery to client's door. The practice is to use CEI as the Importer of Records (Customs term), or consignee on the shipping bill, so we can process directly with shipping and Customs. There is no extra charge for this service.

Import duty and tariff

Last but not least, your goods may be subject to import tax (Customs duty and/or tariff). While the Customs broker will help facilitate the clearance process, you are often asked to provide the HTS code and tax rate, if any. Here is a link for the Official Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.