China Import Surcharges – Unfair or Downright Criminal?

If you are new to importing from China the following information may put you off importing altogether, but read on – because there is a solution

There was a time when almost all exports from China were sold on FOB terms. The importer was free to choose a freight company to arrange the shipping and control their costs. This did not suit some of the freight agents in China as they wanted to control the cargo and get larger discounts from the shipping lines. The only way they could control the volumes was to get the shippers to book directly with them (this meant in many cases paying the shipper to move their cargo through them). Many shippers changed their terms to C&F and will quote nominal freight charges to the importers. These freight charges are way below market rates so it is impossible for the freight companies at the destination to compete

Then comes the sting: once the goods arrive at the destination port the breakbulk agent will issue inflated destination charges along with new made up charges such as ‘China Import Surcharge’ and ‘Rate of Exchange Differential’. These charges are more than you would pay your local forwarder for arranging the whole shipment. You can argue with the breakbulk agent that the charges are too high, but they are set in China and cannot be changed

So what is the solution?

Firstly, get the shipper to confirm the destination charges to you. These have already been agreed between the shipper and the freight agent in China

Contact your freight forwarder and ask them to quote you for an FOB shipment from the port in China plus local charges at the destination. In most cases their price will be lower than you will pay in breakbulk charges alone

Tell the shipper that you will be using your freight company

We have helped many companies save on imports from China and would like to see this practice wiped out

If you have been a victim of this crime and we do believe it to be a crime, please get in touch with us or leave a comment (PLEASE DO NOT MENTION COMPANIES BY NAME)

B, BMFQ Team

Being More Guy Martin

It’s hard not to like Guy Martin. He’s full of enthusiasm and drive, whatever he does. Despite his success he genuinely doesn’t seem to have an ego and people respond well to him, earning him the respect of other bikers and sportsmen such as Formula One’s David Coulthard. Thanks to his approach to life he has come back from massive injuries to achieve numerous challenging and dangerous speed records

If you’re not sure who he is, he’s the eccentric British motorcyclist with Wolverine facial hair, an adrenalin junkie who pushes himself to the limit and beyond. The many TV programmes about him are well worth a look

The thing is, despite doing all this mad stuff he always does his research, always gets the information and the help he needs from everyone before he does the crazy stuff. That I really respect

I see he’s got a book out, ‘When You Dead, You Dead’ (great title). If anyone’s stuck for a Fathers Day present, I reckon that would hit the spot

We can all learn a bit from him. Sure, we all want to get things done, but it’s easier if you plan ahead and other people feel like helping you. So go on, be a bit more Guy Martin!

P, BMFQ Team

Size matters

Really? Does everyone have the same size box?

Check the ‘volume’ calculation when you add your dimensions. If it looks too high, it probably is

The most frequent set of dimensions we get is 100 x 100 x 100cm

When you look at the screen above, you’ll see that the system has calculated the ‘volume’ of the cargo as 167kg, and this is the weight you will be quoted on. The thing is, unless you are shipping marshmallows or something equally lightweight you are probably getting the wrong price

For example, here:

the system has been given smaller dimensions and the volume is immediately halved. Even these dims are quite large for the weight, and cargo can often be more dense than this. See below:

In this last scenario, the weight you would be quoted for is the deadweight of 50kg. Some sites work on deadweight only, so it’s always best to estimate dimensions as closely as possible to get an accurate pricing

So what else do we suggest? If you don’t have the actual (or fairly close) dimensions, just call us with the weight and tell us what the item is so that you get your pricing more quickly and accurately, allowing you to make a real comparison with other rates you have been given

And yes, before you ask, we have actually shipped sponges before, so we realise there are exceptions to the rules…

P, BMFQ Team

Put The Kettle On, Petal

We’re a small team, here at BMFQ’s London office. We’ve all worked together a long time  and we work really closely. So when our driver was recently off sick for nine weeks, everyone felt it. Of course, most of our collections and deliveries are sub-contracted to keep the costs down, but we keep one vehicle on the road for airport transfers, local collections and deliveries where help is required and emergency out of hours work

We’re very happy to say that the team is once again complete and it’s been a real pleasure to have him fit again and back in at work this week. He’s straight back into the routine of putting the coffee on in the morning, and checking the van and forklift are in good order

So, thank you to all the regular customers who asked after him and sent their good wishes. He really appreciated them and he looks forward to seeing you all

P, BMFQ Team


Who doesn’t love flower shows? I mean, I could be a better gardener, but I love to see what’s new

 So it is always nice to get involved in importing perfect specimens, grown by people who know what they’re doing.  And right now we are Customs clearing and delivering orchids for Malvern’s Royal Three Counties Show and we’ve done similar work for various RHS shows in Westminster and for various Chelsea exhibitors

The important thing is to get your paperwork right in advance and to allow time for clearance and delivery before the show. And be available for any questions your clearance agent may need to ask

P, BMFQ team