Shipping Logistics and Customs Clearance

Total Logistics and Customs Management

Successful planning for shipping logistics includes container procurement, consolidated shipping (when applicable), freight tracking, customs clearance, and drayage to the final shipping destination. Mistakes or unexpected problems can delay shipping for months, which can tie up capital and can make businesses miss out on periods of high consumer demand. 

If your business wants the comfort of knowing your products will arrive on time, without the headache of managing shipping logistics yourself, and at the most cost-effective prices, then partner with Kanary. We manage the entire line of shipping logistics, including organizing consolidated shipping, preparing customs documents, and supervising product shipments from beginning to end.   

Shipping Logistics and Customs Clearance Step by Step

Schedule Shipment Date

Kanary schedules the shipment date as early as possible, usually about two weeks out from when mass production is scheduled to end. For sea freight, our logistics experts book containers based on factory lead times, and we hold suppliers accountable to stay on schedule to avoid shipping delays. 

Consolidate Shipment

If applicable, Kanary coordinates between multiple suppliers in order to consolidate your shipment. Our logistics experts make sure inventory is delivered to warehouses for temporary storage and will ensure that your shipments are full-container loads (FCL) in order to save you money.

Preparation of Shipping Documentation

Before and during shipment, Kanary prepares shipping documentation required for exporting and import customs clearance. While specific documentation varies depending on your product type, Kanary will handle all of it. Common documentation we provide to clients include:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • HS and HTS Codes (as well as research to ensure those codes are correct)

Customs Clearance

Kanary manages the customs clearance process once your products arrive at port. Our customs experts provide additional documentation as needed and troubleshoot customs issues if they arrive. Our team also communicates unavoidable delays (like random X-rays), and updates new shipping expectations to our clients in real time.

Drayage to Final Destination

Kanary coordinates the pick up of your products with local freight partners before you clear customs. Once your order clears customs, local freight partners will already be waiting on standby to pick up and deliver your products to their final destination. Kanary continues to supervise your order until the final delivery is complete.

Shipping Logistics and Customs Clearance Fees

Kanary charges a flat shipping fee that is only applicable to full-container shipments delivered via sea freight.  All necessary tasks associated with delivering shipping containers are covered in the flat fee, which is charged per container. 

If you only need help shipping your container, Kanary can get it done. If you're interested in our full-suite of services outside of container shipping, let us know, and we can create a supply chain strategy catered specifically to your business. 

Shipping Logistics and Customs Experts

Shipping logistics and clearing customs are an enormous undertaking, but partnering with Kanary makes the process hassle-free. Our team handles the entire process, including booking containers, scheduling shipping dates, organizing consolidated shipping, preparing customs paperwork, and overseeing the entire shipping process. Our involvement starts when inventory leaves the factory and ends when the shipment arrives at its final destination.
If you want to have a hassle-free, hands-off experience with shipping logistics and clearing customs, we'd love to speak to you. You can reach out to Kanary through our online form, and our team will get to work creating a shipping logistics plan that is catered to your specific wants and needs. 

Words from our clients

I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I was surprised that Kanary was able to help find us machines for a 1/3 of the cost compared with US and European manufacturers. What I really enjoy with Kanary is that they constantly keep me in the loop and get back to me almost instantaneously. What’s also great is that they kept me in the loop with the shipping, customs clearance, delivery, and also arrange travels for engineers from the factory to install our equipment.  The quality has been outstanding and I’m in the process of building out a new facility with them.
Hidden for Privacy
Hidden for Privacy
I’ve been in the construction industry for over 30 years. We’ve always bought from US distributors. I reached out to Kanary out of curiosity to see if we could find similar construction materials of high quality. I did not think they were going to make much progress and so I was shocked when they found the exact manufacturer that my distributors have been buying from within 2 weeks. They were able to make contact and have the factory send me samples within a week.  By connecting directly with the factory, we’re looking at savings of over 30%.
Hidden for Privacy
Hidden for Privacy
We’ve done quite a few different packaging projects with Kanary in the past (Child-resistant packaging, glass jars, plastic bags, shipper boxes, etc.). We sent AI files to Kanary, who then worked directly with the factory's design team to make prototypes of the packaging. Our in-house designer is very particular about our designs and Kanary was really flexible and worked with us when our designers wanted to make changes in the packaging development process. They were able to manufacture different prototypes at different price points, which gave us options when making our final decision.
Hidden for Privacy
Hidden for Privacy

Shipping Logistics and Customs Resources

Learn more about clearing customs and shipping logistics from China by clicking an article below...

How Long Does Customs Clearance Take?

The Kanary Experts give unique insight into how long it takes to clear customs, and what businesses can do to clear customs faster.
Read more

What Is Causing Port Congestion?

What's causing port congestion? The Kanary Experts review unique factors (and common factors) contributing to port congestion inside.
Read more

What is Consolidated Shipping?

Are you curious about consolidated shipping and how it can benefit your business? The Kanary Team explains what consolidated shipping is and the logistics that make it work!
Read more

Logistics & Customs Clearance FAQs

What is consolidated shipping?

Consolidated shipping is a logistics strategy for sea freight shipping. In this strategy, products are sent to temporary warehouses until there is enough inventory to fill a sea freight container, which makes a full-container load (FCL). 

How does consolidated shipping save my business money?

Consolidated shipping can save businesses money and resources in a variety of ways:
  • Lower shipping costs: It is far less expensive to ship a single, FCL container than it is to ship multiple, smaller, LCL containers.
  • Easier to dock at ports: Since FCL containers typically don't have products unloaded (the container is moved onto truck or rail freight), there is a special place for FCL containers to be unloaded. This is usually less crowded, since most shipments are LCL, so businesses will have an easier time getting through the ports. 
  • Easier customs clearance process: In an LCL shipment, if any order gets flagged by customs, the entire container will be delayed. Since an FCL shipment only has your order, there's less of a chance that you'll be delayed in customs. 

What are the challenges of consolidated shipping from China?

Consolidated shipping has incredible benefits, but it's not without its challenges. Businesses need to be prepared to address:
  • Communication issues: Consolidate shipping requires extensive communication between suppliers, temporary storage locations, and export docks. If your team can't communicate in Mandarin, you may struggle to implement and follow a consolidated shipping plan.
  • Logistical complexity: Even without a language barrier, consolidated shipping is complex. You need to know how to coordinate lead times between suppliers, where to store products, and how to match lead times with shipping availability.
  • Container availability: If containers are in short supply (like they were during the COVID-19 pandemic), containers may be in short supply. This means you'll need to book containers far in advance (weeks, sometimes months) in order to have a container available for when your products are ready to ship.
Many businesses feel that they are not equipped to manage the challenges of consolidated shipping, so they reach out to a third-party to manage the logistics for them, like Kanary.

How do I clear customs when ordering from China?

Clearing customs from China requires correct documentation. The majority of customs delays when importing from China are the result of having incomplete paperwork, so businesses need to make sure that all documentation is complete and accurate. This includes:
  • Bill of lading
  • Packing invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • HS and HTS codes

How long does sea freight shipping take from China?

Sea freight shipping times from China will vary depending on where you ship from and where you ship to. In general, if you ship from Shanghai, sea freight shipments will arrive at west coast ports within 2-3 weeks, while shipments to the east coast can take 30-35 days.

Keep in mind that these shipping times are estimates and do not account for delays caused by supply chain disruptions. 

What are common mistakes when organizing sea freight shipping logistics?

Some common mistakes when organizing sea freight shipping logistics include:
  • Booking a container too late, causing a shipping delay
  • Booking the wrong-sized container, which can cause delays and extra charges if the container was too small, and wasted money and time if the container is too large.
  • Not utilizing consolidated shipping, when applicable
  • Allowing suppliers to research and apply HS and HTS codes for customs clearance

When should I book a shipping container from China?

Generally, you want to book a shipping container close to when mass production begins with your China supplier. If there is a shipping container shortage, you may need to book a container even earlier than that.

How much does it cost to ship from China?

The cost of shipping from China will vary widely on a number of factors, including:
  • What kind of shipping is used: Sea freight shipping is generally less expensive than air freight
  • The product being shipped: Product weight will have a huge impact on air freight shipping costs (though it's much less of a factor in sea freight)
  • The size of the product being shipped: Large products will be charged more when shipped via air freight, even if they are lightweight. For sea freight, large products means you may need to order a larger container size, which will increase shipping costs. 
  • The volume of your total order: The more products you ship, the more you'll pay in shipping costs
  • How many containers you need to ship: The more containers you need, the more your shipping costs will be. This is why businesses often follow a consolidated shipping strategy, because it's less expensive to fill one large container than it is to partially fill multiple small containers. 
  • here products are being shipped to: Generally, the further away the final destination is, the more it will cost to ship your products.

How can I get the best sea freight shipping rates?

The best way to get excellent sea freight shipping rates is to book your shipping container well in advance and follow a consolidated shipping strategy (if your product volume is high enough to fill a container). 

What does logistics mean in shipping?

Logistics refers to planning when and how products are shipped. For example, shipping logistics from China include:
  • When products will be delivered from the factory to temporary storage or a shipping port
  • Booking shipping containers
  • Monitoring freight shipping
  • Organizing order pickup from the ports
  • Delivery to the final destination

How long does it take to clear customs?

Clearing customs can take as little as 24 hours, but there are a lot of reasons it can take longer, like:
  • Congested ports
  • Incomplete paperwork
  • Random x-ray screenings
  • Order issues in an LCL shipment

What are HS and HTS codes?

An HS code (or Harmonized System code) is a six-digit number used to determine tariffs or duties when exporting products. An HTS code (or Harmonized Tariff Schedule code) is 10-digits, and is used to determine tariffs when importing products. HTS codes are country specific (for example, HTS codes for the United States will be different than the United Kingdom).

These codes are extremely important for businesses to have correct. If you choose the wrong code and pay too much tax, then you're paying more money than you need to (and customs will not correct you). If you end up paying too little, it will give the appearance that you are trying to avoid taxes, and you'll have to pay the difference and a fine. 

If you aren't sure whether your HS or HTS codes are correct, working with a third-party with export and import expertise (like Kanary) can help avoid tariff issues. 

Get Connected

Complete the form below to contact us and our team will be in touch within 24-48 hours.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.