At times people get confused about the different freight options available when importing from China to Ireland. Below I have outlined some useful information in relation to the different types of freight options that can be organised from China to Ireland, and some reasons why one myght be more suitable or effective than another. I hope this information will give readers a better understanding and enable them to make the correct choice of freight that best suits the products they want to ship.
Essentially there are two routes, Sea Freight and Air Freight. You can do a combination called Sea-Air, but this is less commonly used.
The Air route breaks down to two sub groups, Air Freight and Express Shipment
Air Freight is typically where a freight company can either buy available space on a passenger flight and ship goods in the hold of the plane, or in some cases charter a freight plane to make regular air shipments. For Ireland, there are no direct flights to/from China, so cargo will typically ship through Amsterdam, Paris or London. If the goods are urgent and being shipped on a passenger flight, there is a risk that the freight might be ‘bumped’ (not make the flight) as passengers luggage will get first priority and freight will only be loaded after luggage is loaded. Typical transit time from China to Ireland 4-7 business days.
Express Shipments are usually those by UPS, DHL, TNT etc. These are most suitable for small packages as they are normally the most expensive method of moving products. They are also normally the fastest. Typical transit time from China to Ireland 4-5 business days. Some express cariers ovver an ‘expedited service’ which is a little slower but is less costly.
Sea Freight also breaks down into two sub groups; Full Container Loads (FCL) and Less than Container Loads (LCL)
Full Container Loads (FCL): From China there are three different container sizes that are available for shipments. The smallest size is a 20ft container. This container can carry 28 cubic metres of product (approximately 28 pallet loads). The next standard size is a 40ft container. This container will carry 58 cubic metres of produce, (approximately 58 pallet loads) and the last of the three sizes is the 40ft Hi Cube container which is the same length and width as the 40ft standard contained but is taller, and has a capacity of about 66 cubic metres. It’s worth noting that if you are shipping pallets, it may not be any benefit to opt for a taller container.
Less than Container Load (LCL) As the name suggests, this is where your produce is shipped in a ‘shared’ container. This is a more expensive method than FCL, but less expensive than Air Freight for bulky less expensive products. The most important consideration when having produce shipped by LCL is to ensure that the Container will arrive intact in Ireland, and not be opened and broken out in some transit port. The less handling a shipment undergoes throughout its journey the less likely it will be damaged. Typical Transit times for Sea Freight from China are about 5 to 6 weeks.
I hope that this will clarify for people what their choices are and give a better understanding of the available freight options that can be used to get goods from China to Ireland.