There are too many importers that get caught out with possibly the biggest 'con' in shipping going, and it's really quite damaging to the industry. Prepaid Shipping.

Of course, Prepaid Shipping shouldn’t suggest that everyone that offers to include your freight is going to rip you off, as that’s simply not fair but, I would say there’s a 90% chance of it – unfortunately.

Why? Doesn’t sound like a con to me?

The supplier will charge you an amount included with your goods, or even show it separately for ‘shipping’ to your nearest port. It’ll purposely be made to look cheap so you think “What the hell, why not!”. The catch is, when it arrives 3/4 the way across the world to your nearest port such as Felixstowe or Southampton (UK) or Long Beach (California, USA), then you’ll be met with an astronomical high array of local charges just for getting your goods from the container, to it’s end destination.

Yes, a REBATE! They’d get paid by the Chinese supplier to take the booking

Customs Clearance fee’s are local charges consisting of the cost to complete the Customs Declaration by the freight forwarder, local port fee’s which vary depending on the port of arrival and optional delivery fee’s. Costs have a slight variation dependant on the forwarder, but for the most part average out around the same cost. However if the supplier ships the goods they will normally get a very low freight rate or even a rebate ‘YES A REBATE’ from their own agent in China, or in some cases the agent may even pay the supplier to take the booking so that they then have your cargo as leverage to make more money at destination. The agent in China will then instruct their destination agent to collect a set amount of charges which would be much higher that a typical fee for UK landside costs. These charges are not disclosed initially and by the time your goods arrive at port you have little option other than to pay the higher fees.

You get the picture.

These highly inflated landing charges get split between the freight agents, with the real proportion of freight going back to the Origin Freight company. They’ve had your booking, you’ve paid for the freight to your supplier, and you’ve paid over double again to the UK forwarder disguised as handling charges.

It’s important to note, it isn’t necessarily your suppliers fault. They too can get caught out by this con by simply being naive. They may actually think they are getting a great deal on your behalf and little do they know, you will get completely ripped off for local charges at destination. The blame lies with the forwarder in China and/or both them and the supplier if they are privy to what’s happening. Especially if they accept a rebate!

There is nothing you can do about it, other than learn not to do it again. You need to buy FOB terms, and appoint your own freight forwarder at destination. Get in touch with us to learn more about Westbound Logistics Services own weekly LCL service by Sea with no sub-contracted freight agents in the middle.