Shipping motorcycles from China to your country
An intrinsic part of getting your motorcycles and other vehicles (or in fact, any products) from China is the shipping and freight. Different companies have different methods of organizing their logistics; here C2W presents the lowdown on getting the products to your door.
Work with a freight forwarder based in China
This is by far the most popular option for businesses importing Chinese motorcycles and can be arranged by your Chinese motorcycle manufacturer or agent.
The advantage is speed. There is no need for an account manager, based in the importing country, to ask questions to his agent in Chongqing (for example) and to wait for a response. But the problem of the extra expense (on top for the agent in the importing country) is still present.
Work with a freight forwarder on each side
This option is to be in direct contact with each party. For example, a Cape Town importer will be in touch with a forwarder in Cape Town, another one in Ningbo, and so on (depending on the provenance of the goods). These agents are put in contact on a per project basis, and it generally works fine — they are used to cooperating this way. This is probably the right choice for importers that want to keep costs down and it allows for a higher degree of control, too. You can see who will be processing your shipments which is pretty important.
Work with a freight forwarder in your country
This is what most importers do, it seems. It is the most convenient option, provided the importer has direct access to an account manager.
Be careful who you work with. What often happens with large forwarders such as DHL is that the buyer doesn’t have access to an account manager. So what happens is this: small importers try to work with a forwarder of the right size, who cares about their business. But these small forwarders don’t always have their own office in China. They usually work with local agents, and add their margin on top of that agent’s fee. So this is not the cheapest option.
Do it all internally
I have only seen big or very experienced motorcycle companies follow this strategy. They book space directly with shipping lines, airlines, trucking companies… and they manage Customs declarations on both sides (the exporting and the importing countries). I don’t think this is a viable option for small and medium sized enterprises.
in the 14 years I have been in China I have personally known of 2 container ships full of motorcycles lost on the journey from Chongqing to Shanghai (thankfully only the products were lost and not human lives). Insurance is normally around 0.4% of total goods value and covers you for all kinds of damage.