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Luckybird Shipping ins and outs for our clients

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Dear Bid or buy members, I apologize if this post does not relevant to you however we generally don't have space on our adverts to explain this correctly.


Some issues about Shipping from China, We have read the forums and understand the few issues that constantly arise when people deal with companies in China, as i will try to explain how we have developed logistics systems to combat these issues head-on, and in doing so try to allay any anxiety that some clients may feel dealing with us. Some of these factors include;


  1. Long delivery Times
  2. Lost Post
  3. Returns & Warrentee
  4. Customs and Taxes (Hidden Costs)
  5. Trust
  6. High Cost of Shipping




When clients all over the world buy retail from a company in Hong Kong or China, via Ebay, Bid or buy or Drop shipping plans, for the most part the default way to ship these items is by using the standard postal services like SAPO in Hong Kong its called Hong Kong Post in China its called China Mail.


These parcels can be sent in one of two methods they are sent either as registered mail, which has a tracking number or by standard Airmail which is used most often for smaller items.


Although the cost for regular mail is relatively cheap it is charged at a rate per 10 grams registered mail is what we call partial tracking, this for some countries is full tracking but the South African Post office does not yet support full end to end Tracking. Other countries like UK and USA have these systems in place.


When post arrived in South Africa it must first pass customs, many small inexpensive gift items will pass customs without any costs, generally if the value is perceived to be lower than $60 They will have records of the tracking numbers for registered post having said that SAPO does not support tracking is a half truth you can call the call center of the post office give them the HK or CN tracking number and if it is released from customs they will be able to give you a new local tracking number, so the system is there its just not linked yet.


Once the post office has the item they will send it to the address on the package, should there be any fees like VAT and or customs charges they will send you a slip when you collect the parcel you will be required to pay these fees.


Some pitfalls, Often an item will be sitting at a post office because a client has not received a slip or the slip has been lost, in EVERY case where you have bought something from over seas you must visit your post office to see if something has arrived fro you, if you have not got a slip in your post box.


Please do not order expensive items using this method, if we sell an item over a certain value we do not allow Airmail as an option


one of our new services is the supply of small inexpensive items using this method where we can send small items from china from as low as R17, they take longer to arrive but they are really great bargains. they are sent without tracking.


Delivery time Expect your parcel anywhere from 8 days to 21 days depending on a number of factors, if you buying around peak season time expect even further delays




A faster more reliable service is courier service, they generally are more efficient and more personal they will hand deliver your parcel in a given time.


things to look out for however is cost no two courier companies are equal we have spend an enormous amount of money and patients finding the right company to partner with, you can choose the larger corporate firms like DHL, UPS, Fedex to name a few but remember their fees are generally extremely high even if you have accounts with them.


The infrastructure in China is not the same as the infrastructure in South Africa often one courier here will be sub contract to hundreds of different agents and your parcels could cost more or take longer. For importers who buy and have DHL deliver often it was not DHL who collected the goods, so it is important to know who is in the chain, as damaged goods can be very difficult to prove who is liable.


COSTS When a courier receives an item it still must pass customs if the item is deemed to be over $60 there will generally be a fee both from customs as well as the courier who must now go and do the paperwork and forward the clearance documentation. Sometimes however items pass through customs without any charge.


When a supplier omits these costs, its generally because they have no way to accurately predict the outcome of the clearance process or the systems, they are too random.


having said this there are many ways to avoid excessive costs, we have adopted some of these in our own logistic s processes. where we can avoid the client paying any fees on many commodities.


Also with contracts in place to deal with the costs to make them more predictable as well as relationships with local couriers to expedite quick and as low cost as possible delivery.


Generally Customs VAT is based on the cost inflated by 10% then 14% is added to that. this applies to all imported goods that we deal with. unless the item is under $60.


To blindly say my courier is better because they never charged while yours did is not really telling the full story as apples are not being compared to apples.


Air Freight


Our preferred method which offers our clients fast secure and traceable line of logistics at the best price possible is to use the Freight method, Freight is not handled in the same way as Courier essentially it works out cheaper but the individual logistics components are separated into functions from different parties if you have good working relationships with these parties you can really get optimal performance and price as well as predictable service for the most part.


Freight however is not for small consignments, you really need 100 or more kilograms of goods to make it viable, the more you have the cheaper your price is.


We use a Hybrid where items are sent by freight collectively then broken up and re-dispatched to our clients either by road freight, courier or Post office. We have found that there is much better service levels to first send the goods to south Africa ourselves then dispatch by post rather than rely on an array of agents and delays using airmail methods.


Our main advantage with our own service is we act as both the export company from china as well as the Import company from South Africa, hence for some commodities there are not nasty surprises or no hidden costs, we take care of customs, as we dont rely on luck but rather proper categorization according to the Harmonized Tariff codes for import duty purposes. also as the supply become s local the fees are generally lower for us.


Clients dont have to fear about returns as returns are to an Address in SA, this addresses the concern over warranty.


One problem we encounter is the concept of combined shipping, because the item is shipped by us leg 1 to south africa by air freight we have incurred a fee based one the greater between weight or volume, plus we have incurred a local administration and transport cost plus a post office cost, these are generally passed onto the client but it does mean that we charge more for multiple items.


Sea Freight


An even more complex mode of transport is sea transport here he have several links in the chain again and with those links come a series of cost, however the cost for sea vs air can be as much as 200X less up to 400x less for high cube containers.


Sea shipping is not as slow as one may think we send sea containers to Durban as well as Cape Town a trip to Durban can be as quick as 15 Days this excludes however planning procuring loading and offloading naturally the other factor is tracking, did you know we track our shipments using ship GPS positioning we can tell where the ship is on a minute by minute basis.


Just because seas shipping is cheaper does not make it the cheapest, there are several costs along the way and each has minimums, the minimum volume we accept for sea is 1 cubic meter but at R4500 for the first Cubic meter its still expensive R650 for the next cubic meter.


Another aspect is that 1 cubic meter represents allot more stock than what most people expect.


This is our preferred method for Packaging, we will soon be sending another container with packaging ad Christmas decorations in time for the Christmas period. Sea shipping is the best way to bring in large heavy or bulky items.


Costs are impossible to predict for sea shipping as they are based on supply and demand and literally change daily, some fees are fixed while others fluctuate, some are based on USD while others in ZAR so they also become Dependant on the current exchange rate.


We have built a small reputation on bid or buy over the past 9 months we do offer a fulfillments service that helps other sellers get the best deal for shipping from china by combining with our freight.


One last thing about both air and sea freight, if you were to import on your own you would need a importers code available from SARS with Customs. We take away this headache as we are also importers in SA and will do the full logistics and legal work, Some commodities however we cannot do.


In conclusion, I hope this article explains a few of the shipping options their pros and cons for suppliers dealing with China or clients do ask your supplier if that have contracts in place with South African firms. Communicate clearly your intentions as there is also a language barrier.


make sure you as the client do not get the short end of the stick and be sitting spending more than you bargained for.


please feel free to ask any questions of if you need any more details of the different available services or if you need advice, if you plan to import.

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