Machine Shipping from China

Machine Shipping from China: The Definitive Guide

This guide will take you through the machine shipping from China process.

It’s starts by helping you identify the machine, evaluate costs, choose Incoterms to actual shipping process.

By the end of this guide, you can easily ship any machine from China.

Keep reading.

Identify the Machine to Import from China

The machine manufacturers in China have invested in technology, human capital, and general capacity building.

This makes it easy for many importers to procure machinery from China.

Even so, it is vital to confirm the type of machinery you’re seeking to import from China.

You must identify your area of specialization.

Picking the wrong machine is a complete waste of resources and time.

Where possible, you can obtain product information, test reports, and descriptive literature.

It could be pharmaceutical, food processing, milling packaging, packaging, and home improvement, among others.

Capsule filling machine

It is the only way of ensuring you get equipment, which meets your demands.

Some of the common machines you can import from this country include the following;

  • Agriculture/food production machines
  • Compressors
  • Welding machines
  • Engines
  • Packaging and printing machinery
  • 3D printers
  • Lathe machines
  • Pharmaceutical machines
  • Roll forming machines
  • Refrigerator and air conditioner
  • Turbines
  • Brewery equipment
  • Washing machine
  • Injection molding machines
  • Industrial sewing machines
  • Milling machines
  • Wheel loaders
  • Floor care machines
  • Labeling machines
  • Vending machines
  • CNC machines
  • Laser cutting machines

Other than the machines, you can as well find different components and accessories for the same.

It is vital since it enhances efficiency in the overall operation.

Find a Machine Supplier in China

It is arguably the most critical aspect of importing machinery from China.

Finding the supplier is what determines whether or not your efforts, resources, and time will be worthwhile.

You must do thorough background research of your preferred suppliers.

You must delve into details to identify various elements revolving around their modus operandi.

You can find a supplier by searching online.

Most of them have webpages, which you can easily access and asses on the internet.

You can as well choose to visit the warehouse physically.

It will enable you to find and negotiate with the supplier on the ground without involving third party.

Most machinery suppliers are located in the eastern provinces of China.

If you’d wish to visit them, you can fly to Shanghai and connect the provincial cities with a high-speed train.

If you’re unfamiliar with the exercise, it would be ideal to hire services of a sourcing agent.

It is the best approach to consider, especially if you do not understand the dynamics of this trade.

If you are looking for a reliable and reputable machine sourcing agent in China, you may consider Bansar.

Upon finding your preferred one, you will agree on various basis regarding the payment methods and suitable incoterms.

It then allows you to initiate the buying process, which eventually leads to shipping and delivery of the machine.

Know the Location of the Machine

While finding the supplier, it is imperative also to know the exact location of the machine.

The manufacturers are spread in various regions of the country.

You thus need to ensure you determine where the warehouse is situated when buying the machinery.

It enhances efficiency, particularly when you are visiting the place physically.

It also helps to organize various logistics, especially for inland transportation.

While determining the location of machinery also figure out whether or not it is acceptable in your country.

Ensure your Country Permits the Importation of the Machine from China

Some governments have banned the importation of certain equipment on various grounds.

Before importing any type of machine from China, establish whether or not it is acceptable in your country.

As an importer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the machinery conforms to the specific rules and regulations.

Transporting excavator for shipping

The machines you are importing must also exhibit compliance with the safety and health code requirements.

Compliance with local machinery regulations is binding.

Importing machinery, which violates restrictions, might culminate in a costly and inconvenient affair.

You’ll end up paying hefty fines and penalties.

In some instances, importing non-compliant machinery often results in seizure of the units by customs authorities.

At times, the equipment may face a forced recall and probably destroyed.

Also, make sure the machine meets the required mechanical and electrical quality standards a country or market has set for the units.

For instance, the European Union has a CE Machinery Directive (MD), applicable to any type of equipment manufactured in the EU region or imported to the region.

The machinery must also be compliant to the mechanical and electrical regulations.

Also, the supplier must provide a declaration of conformity and technical certification.

In the US, ASTM is the commonly used standard for most imported machinery.

Different ASTM standards apply to different types of product units.

Additionally, the machine you are importing can as well be subjected to other consensus standards administered by various organizations.

Such standards include UL, ANSI, RIA, and ISA, among others.

Nevertheless, in Australia and New Zealand, imported machinery is not necessarily regulated by a uniform set of standards.

Evens so, various directives apply to different types of product units.

Some of the common standards, however, include AS/NZS and ERAC Equipment Certification System, among others.

Most countries, in general, accept machinery, which complies with American and European standards.

Some of the common machinery quality standards include ISO, CE, SGS, RoHS, and HQTS, among others.

The compliance rates in some industries can be as low as 5%.

Therefore, you must understand the directive and standards relevant to the market you are importing to.

Choose Mode of Machine Shipping from China

In essence, the meticulousness helps to make sure the machine stays safe and in right position during transportation.

This prevents it from possibility of damaging during the transit process.

When importing machinery from China, there are three major modes of transport you may want to consider.

They include the following;

· Sea Freight from China

It involves using water vessels to ship the machinery from loading port in China to the destination port in your country.

Upon clearance, the machinery is packed in containers then loaded into the sea vessels.

You can opt for an LCL or FCL container depending on the size and quantity of the machinery.

You can as well choose either based on your budget and urgency for the shipment delivery.

The choice for an ideal sea freight carrier from China depends on numerous factors.

You need to consider whether or not it plies your route.

You must also consider the overall cost for the carrier before settling on one.

Some of the popular sea freight carriers you’d need to consider for this service include the following;

COSCO Shipping Line

  • Evergreen Line
  • Yang Ming Marine Transport
  • Ocean Network Express
  • CMA- CGM
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company
  • APM-Maersk
  • Hapag-Lloyd

Sea freight is comparatively cheaper than any other mode of machine shipping you may think of.

Secondly, this shipping mode allows you to carry bulk items conveniently. Most machines are designed to be bulky or come in numerous pieces and accessories.

It is thus imperative to consider sea freight since it guarantees safer and convenient shipping for any quantity, size, or type of machine.

Even so, it is a bit slow, and in some cases, it can take up to about 60 days to reach the destination port.

It is thus essential to always work with a reliable schedule to prevent a last-minute rush.

Also, sea freight needs a competent freight forwarder to enhance efficiency of the entire process.

· Air Freight from China

China southern cargo

It merely entails use of cargo planes to transport machinery from China to the country of destination.

These airlines have a subsidiary entirely dedicated for transporting cargo by air.

Airfreight is arguably the fastest mode you can utilize for machine shipping.

Upon clearance of the unit, it is transported to the airport via trucking then loaded to the cargo plane.

Several cargo carriers provide air freight services for shipping different types of machines.

Some of the popular ones you can use to ship equipment from China include the following;

  • China Southern Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Air China Cargo
  • Qatar Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • American Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Xiamen Air
  • Air Cargo Global
  • Qantas Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Airlines

Some of the aspects to look into when choosing air freight carrier include convenience, cost, time-taken, and specific routes they ply.

One advantage of using air freight is swiftness.

You get your consignment within the shortest time possible.

In some instances, you can receive the units within hours, depending on your destination.

This is vital, especially if you have a tight deadline, which you have to meet.

It is also a safer option to consider for shipping machines.

However, air freight for machine shipping never comes cheaply.

It is an expensive option to consider, particularly if your destination is a bit far from China.

Airfreight is often charged based on the weight of the consignment.

Machines are typically, heavy and it thus means you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money.

The second shortcoming of this machine shipping mode is space limitation.

Ideally, the size and quantity of machines you are shipping is limited to availability of air craft’s space.

The bottom line is if you have a flexible budget and in need of the machines urgently, you may consider air freight.

But ideally, it is not necessarily the best mode for shipping machines

· Rail Freight from China

It involves using a cargo train to transport machines from China to the destination country.

Rail freight is also reasonably affordable compared to air freight.

However, one of its limitations is that it is restricted to specific regions.

For instance, the Silk train route covers specific countries between China and Europe.

The other shortcoming of rail freight is it crisscrosses different countries’ borders.

Every country has its rules and regulations regarding imports and exports.

Some countries where the train transverses may not approve the machines you are importing due to various directives, rules, and restrictions.

The bottom line is there is flexibility when it comes to finding the ideal shipping modes for machines from China.

Importantly, is to determine the most efficient method, which meets your demands.

In most instances, though, sea freight is seemingly the perfect choice for machine shipping from China.

Know the Airport/Port of Departure and Airport/Port of Destination

Machine shipping involves transportation of the units to the relevant airport or port of departure.

It also entails transporting the machinery from the airport or port of destination to the buyers’ factory or warehouse.

These are usually referred to as inland transportation.

It is imperative to know these two types of ports.

In China, you can choose to use different airports and sea ports, depending on the location of your supplier.

For machinery, ports and airports attached to cities in eastern provinces would suffice.

More than 50% of China’s machinery exports come from cities in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang.

Some of the major airports of departure in China you may consider using include,

  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
  • Shenyang Taoxian International Airport
  • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
  • Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport
  • Ningbo Lishe International Airport
  • Wenzhou Longwan International Airport
  • Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport
  • Qingdao Liuting International Airport
  • Sunan Shuofang International Airport
  • Yancheng Nanyang International Airport
  • Yantai Penglai International Airport

The common sea ports of departure you are likely to use for machine shipping in China include the following;

  • Port of Weihai
  • Port of Suzhou
  • Port of Shanghai
  • Yangshan Port
  • Port of Yantai
  • Port of Shenzhen
  • Port of Guangzhou
  • Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Qingdao Port
  • Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal

The specific choice is subject to various regulations and government directives regarding machinery exports.

In essence, this knowledge helps in reducing transportation costs.

Machines are typically, heavy and you’ll need to pay more for longer distances.

But the airport or port of destination would entirely depend on several factors.

For example, your government directive for such imports and distance from your warehouse, processing plant, or factory.

On the other hand, sea port or airport of destination is entirely dependent on your preference and your government directives.

Some countries must use a single airport or sea port for all imports.

If otherwise, you may as well consider checking with your customs department to determine the best one.

Knowing the airport and sea port of both ends helps in cutting costs and unnecessary inconveniences significantly.

Calculate Cost of Machine Shipping from China

If you understand the tenets of machine shipping, you can project a rough estimate of the total cost.

Some of the elements, which you need to figure out when calculating cost of machine shipping include these;

1. Tips for Reducing Cost of China Heavy Machinery Shipping

You have to know how to cut costs when shipping heavy machinery.

You may consider the following;

  • Pick a regional carrier
  • Negotiate with different carriers to determine the cost-effective option
  • Use online shipping services where applicable
  • Ensure your suppliers are using your shipping account number
  • Obtain an insurance cover for the heavy machinery shipment
  • Invest in a prepaid shipping system
  • Use the service of a reliable shipping agent

2. Choose Appropriate Incoterms for Machine Shipping from China

For machinery, you have to be particular when it comes to choice of incoterms you are using.

It plays a significant role in determining the overall cost of shipping.

You must negotiate with the supplier to determine the feasible incoterm for shipping heavy machinery.

Some of the ideal options include the following;

To reduce shipping costs, it is advisable to order on FOB terms from your supplier and DAP shipment from your forwarder.

Where possible, avoid using CIF terms.

It entails several hidden charges, which in the long run, tend to inflate the overall landed cost.

3. Calculate Duty/Taxes during Machine Shipping from China

Duty or taxes for machine shipping vary from one country to another.

You have to know the category of the machinery you are importing to calculate duty.

The customs authority in every country determines evaluation of taxes and duty for machinery.

Duty is determined as a percentage of the customs value of the product unit.

4. Know the Cost of the Mode of Shipping

Each shipping mode for machine shipment is priced differently.

The choice is always dependent on various variables.

However, for heavy machinery, sea freight is relatively cost-effective.

Find and compare rates from different carriers before settling on one.

The cost of, course will vary depending on the port of destination from the port of loading in China.

5. Factor in Logistics Cost during Machine Shipping from China

Logistics costs primarily involve the charges for other special services in machine shipping.

Lift-gate and inland transportation form the major expenses of logistics from the warehouse to port of loading.

On the other end, loading and trucking of the consignment to supplier’s warehouse also form logistic expenses.

Ideally, you have to factor in all these plus other minor expenses involved in the process.

It enables you to determine the approximate cost for machine shipping.

6. Calculate Landed Cost in China Heavy Machinery Shipping

Landed cost is generally the total price of the shipment once it arrives at the importer’s warehouse or doorstep.

Landed cost, in other words, is the actual amount of money the importer spends to acquire the machinery to their warehouse.

It gives you the final figure of the amount it cost you to import the machinery from China.

How Freight Forwarder Help Reduce Cost of Machine Shipping from China

In general, the entire machine shipping process can be a costly exercise.

A freight forwarding agent can help you to cut on the overall cost in the following ways;

  • Preventing delays and detention of shipments

There is no shipment, which is immune to delays. Several aspects often result in delays of a consignment.

However, as normal as it may sound, the worst bit arises from the chargeable fees for goods after Last Free Day (LFD).

A freight forwarder is more likely to hasten the process and prevent the consignment from delaying beyond deadline.

They monitor the progress and turn of events as they keep their eyes on the deadline date.

· Providing more Affordable Shipping Solutions

A freight forwarder like Bansar deals with hundreds of shipping carriers.

It becomes easy for the agent to suggest and provide a relatively cheap carrier if you are on a tight budget.

In a great way, it helps in reducing cost, which possibly you wouldn’t have foreseen.

· Facilitating Advance Customs Clearance

A freight forwarder knows how to deal with all the demands at the customs.

It will save you time and resources moving from one office to another, trying to clear with the customs department.

· Determining the Right Container

A freight forwarder will assess the size of the cargo and suggest the right type of container, which suits it.

Container sizes usually vary, so is the cost.

It will allow you to save on cost and time as well, depending on the quantity of your shipment.

· Facilitating Special Services

Special services in machine shipping include lift-gate, inland pick-up, and delivery, as well as limited access, among others.

These services can be relatively expensive since you’ll possibly be dealing with independent providers of the same.

A freight forwarder often works with such service providers quite often.

It thus becomes easy to seek, find, and negotiate with some of the best ones at affordable rates.

Conducting Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for the Machine

The ideal way to conduct a FAT for the machine is by performing an on-site quality inspection.

You can choose to do it yourself or hire an inspecting agent based in China.

While performing FAT, you should never limit it to a simple component checklist and visual control.

Ensure you involve actual functional testing.

If the minor defects and functional errors are detected, the factory workers can resolve them immediately.

Functionality inspection is a significant part when importing machines from China.

Always verify the machine is fully functional.

Also, ensure it is compliant with your quality demands before shipping.

In China, it is almost impossible to return defective items.

The Chinese customs authority will hardly allow them to get back to the country.

And in a few instances, they agree, a refund from the supplier is never guaranteed.

The best would be to revamp and re-ship it to you after paying all the relevant costs.

Documents for Machine Shipping from China

Machine shipping documents from China are quite a number.

However, in some instances, they tend to vary depending on different policies for different countries.

Shipping document

Several nations also have wide-ranging bilateral agreements with China as far as importation of machinery is concerned.

In most cases, this leads to exemptions in terms of paperwork requirements for machine shipping.

Nonetheless, the standard documents you must always have in this case, include the following;

  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of lading
  • Packing list
  • Bill of entry
  • Insurance certificate
  • Technical write-up
  • Test report
  • Import license
  • Country of origin certificate

Understanding and Evaluating Liability Limits for Machine Shipping from China

Liability limits refer to a concept, which allows a carrier to limit the liability for claims.

The liability claims are limited up to a specific sum irrespective of the actual monetary value of the claim.

Every machine shipment has limited liability coverage.

The carrier determines this amount and it depends on the type of machinery you are shipping.

In liability limitation for machine shipping, the carrier may be liable in principal.

However, the extent of its liability is reduced by this limitation.

Consider Safe Mode of Packaging for Machine Shipping from China

It is necessary to ensure your machinery is sufficiently packaged and wrapped before and during shipping.

It helps in protecting the unit from a dusty factory floor or damp warehouse.

Most suppliers tend to use substandard export packaging materials.

So you have to ensure your cargo is protected using the following checklist;

  • Five layers of inner cartons
  • Five layers of outer cartons
  • Plastic wrapping on the outer carton
  • Pallets
  • Printed freight remark on the outer carton

At this point, the supplier should have clear and explicit packaging specifications.

Never let any chance for their interpretation.

Other than export packaging for protection, you also need to take into account the regulations safeguarding the same.

Also, remember to consider the labeling aspect during packaging.

It comes in handy when the machine you’re shipping shares container space with cargo from other buyers.

You must also confirm the various shipping regulations applicable in your market and product unit.

Book Vessel/Space for Heavy Machinery Shipping from China

Ideally, the best mode of shipping machinery is sea freight considering they are bulky and heavy.

Whenever you’re shipping machinery, you have to ensure you book a vessel for the same.

Booking a vessel should be done in advance, especially if you are going for an LCL.

Heavy machinery is always treated as special hence the need for early booking.

It enables the carrier to preserve enough space for the shipment.

Several consignees are required for LCL; hence may take longer to book it.

If the machinery exceeds 12 cubic meters, it would be ideal to consider booking an FCL.

It is even cost-effective to go for this option.

Loading Machine Ready for Shipping from China

Loading container at the port

You can agree with the supplier to facilitate transportation of the machine to airport or sea port of loading.

Alternatively, you can task your shipping agent with this responsibility.

Once the consignment arrives at the port of loading, all the clearance formalities are undertaken.

The Chinese customs authority ensures details on the export documents match the content of the cargo.

Fortunately, you do not necessarily need to pay export taxes when importing from China.

Even so, other costs related to export clearance documents are chargeable at varying rates.

The consignment is loaded to the identified vessel as a way of preparing it for transit.

After loading, the consignment may take a few days awaiting the vessel to load cargo from other buyers.

Track Cargo During Machine Shipping from China

It is suitable to seek tracking assistance from independent service providers.

Machine shipping ordinarily takes time.

It is always appropriate to know the status of your cargo upon leaving the port of loading.

On the contrary, small businesses rarely deal directly with shipping lines.

Instead, it is outsourced from a freight forwarder, who seeks an ideal shipping line.

Tracking your cargo requires you to know the shipping line transporting it, booking number, container number, or document number.

All these details are available in the Bill of Lading.

If you do not find the container number, the Bill of Lading number should suffice tracking purposes.

Receive Machine at Airport/Seaport of Destination

Once the machine arrives at the airport or sea port of destination, the next cause of action is receiving it.

You may decide to either pick it up yourself at the port of destination or ask your shipping agent to do so.

However, the shipment has to go through the routine customs clearance procedures at the port of destination.

The clearance process for machinery is quite thorough.

The verifications are meticulous to ensure the machinery meets all the required quality, safety, and health standards.

You’ll also need to pay the import duty accordingly for customs clearance.

Transport Machine to Warehouse

The machine is loaded on a truck from the sea port or airport to your warehouse.

You can decide to pick it up yourself or seek the services of a shipping agent to coordinate transportation to your warehouse.

The cargo is transported and arrives in your warehouse in a specific location, as instructed.

You can then have your team to unload it from the truck.

Also, your team can inspect and test it to ensure it is functioning appropriately.

Moreover, you can assemble the machine if at all, it was imported while dismantled.


At Bansar, we offer an all-in-one machine shipping solution.

We assist you in seamless and effortless shipping of the machine from the supplier’s warehouse floor to your precise location.

Feel free to contact us for any machine shipping needs from China to any country in the world.

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