What should you look out for when importing from China?
There has been an continuous exchange of product between China and The Netherlands for more than two hundred years, and not without a reason. Next to the fact that import prices from China are very low compared to other countries, the favourable and easily accessible location of both the Dutch and Chinese ports ensures a continuous flow of imports and exports. In 2021, Dutch companies imported approximately 53.6 billion euros worth of products from China, according to the figures of Statistics Netherlands (CBS). And as our technology and international communications continue to evolve, this figure will continue to rise in the coming years.
What is the best way to import your goods from China?
There are a number of options and each comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Figuring out the best option for your situation depends entirely on your specific requirements. In order to make a well-informed choice, read the list of options below and a summary of their unique advantages and disadvantages.
All in all, it seems like a good idea to ship your products from China to the Netherlands. Suppose you have a great product in mind that you want to develop in China, or you have seen a promising product on the Chinese market that you would like to bring to the Netherlands to sell in your own webshop or store. In that case, you naturally want to import this from China as quickly and as cheaply as possible. But what should you pay attention to if you decide to import your products from abroad? And which mode of transport is the best option for your product and budget? For example, are you going to use shipping by parcel post, by sea freight, or perhaps you need (part of) a sea container? We will answer all these questions in this article, so continue reading.
How do you import goods from China?
Broadly speaking, there are a number of options for importing products from China to the Netherlands, each with additional advantages and disadvantages. Which solution is most beneficial for your situation depends on a number of factors, including the product you want to ship, your budget, and your own personal preferences. It is good to keep in mind that importing products from China may include additional costs. An example of this is a mandatory import levy. This levy consists of a few percent (often 2-5%) of the purchase value of the product you ship. On the website of the Dutch Customs you will find an overview of different product types and the import duties that are involved.
To enable you to make a well-considered choice, you can find a summary of the options with the advantages and disadvantages that come with different modes of transport below.
Shipping by courier service/parcel post
If you choose to import a product in small quantities, the first thought is often to send it via DHL, UPS or FedEx, for example. The prices of these services are based, among other things, on the basis of the weight and dimensions of the packages that are imported. The costs for this method of transport can add up very quickly, based on the weight of your product. For example, for a package of 40 kilos you would have to pay € 70 euros each.
In addition, the number of days before your package arrives can vary greatly. For example, it can only take about six days for your package to arrive in the Netherlands, but it also occurs that packages are on the road for about 5 weeks because they remained in a distribution center during the transport process. This can badly impact your business if its success depends on a fast delivery time. The number of days for delivery can also differ per supplier. In addition, you must also take into account the possible import duties that are involved when importing products from China and the Netherlands.
Import by Air Freight via Schiphol
Are you planning to transport more products at the same time and larger packages? Then air freight (Air Freight) can be a solution for you. The costs are lower than shipping via parcel services such as DHL and UPS. The disadvantage of air freight is that the shipment will take a few days longer than shipment by parcel post. Here too you are responsible for the correct customs formalities and costs related to the import of your product.
Import by sea freight
A very cost-effective and flexible way of importing products from China is shipping by sea freight. You can send pallets, sea containers and bulk goods by sea freight, which is ideal if you want to import large and heavy packages. To reduce costs, you can rent part of a sea container, which you share with other shipments. In that case, you can opt for, for example, half pallets, which can save you quite some money.
The shipping time can also vary enormously with sea freight. For example, a ship that is about to depart may still have a place available for your shipment, so that your shipment will arrive in the Netherlands within a few days. If this is not the case, it can take up to several weeks before your package arrives. Shipping prices vary and depend in particular on the dollar price and supply and demand. Upon arrival of your container, pallet or bulk in the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Vlissingen, the necessary formalities still have to be completed with customs. Additional costs may also be charged here.
Use a freight forwarder for your import from China
It is clear that there are a lot of formalities and costs involved when importing products from China. Your own wishes and requirements also play a role in deciding which import method is best for you. In addition, you must provide the necessary documents for customs, among other things. Think of a so-called commercial invoice, a copy of an identity document, proof of payment, and possibly a photo of the imported products.
Most companies, therefore, choose to use a forwarding- or shipping agent, such as Ademar from Rotterdam. A good forwarder relieves you of all concerns and can advise you on the cheapest or the most efficient method of transport and import for your personal situation. In addition, a forwarding agent takes care of all formal actions involved in importing goods, such as clearing goods. Clearing means that the forwarder takes care of paying the import duties, so that goods can be brought into the European market. In addition, a forwarding agent also takes care of:
All kinds of damage can occur during the transport of your goods. A forwarder checks the cargo on your behalf and makes a report in the event of damage. Most insurance parties require such a check. Ademar B.V. has good contacts in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, which means we can carry out this check very efficiently.
The storage and transshipment
Do your goods need to be (temporarily) stored? You can also contact your forwarding agent for this. They have the right storage location for every type of goods. You can periodically check whether all goods are actually present and in good condition. This process is also known as stock accounting.
Do you want to start importing from China or do you have a question about importing goods?
Ademar BV has over 34 years of experience in importing goods, products, and bulk. From small SMEs, multinationals or a specialist product such as wood, we have the right solution for everything. And we are happy to share this knowledge with you. Do you have a question about import or export? Or would you like to see if we are cheaper or more efficient in importing your product? Do not hesitate and call us by telephone number +31(0)10 429 96 00 or contact us by email.