How to choose the most cost-effective shipping method

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For international trade, the common transport channels are sea shipping, land shipping, air shipping, and express delivery. For socks import, which channel is more cost-effective? This article will analyze the four channels from the perspectives of time efficiency, price, and taxation, hoping to help those companies who intend to import socks from China.

Common shipping methods include sea shipping, air shipping, express shipping, and railway shipping. So which is the most cost-effective one? It will be affected by the weight and volume of your goods. For goods over 100kg, normally sea shipping or sea DDP shipping will save a lot of money. For 50kg goods, you can only chose air or air DDP or express shipping, and cost maybe similar, while express will be fater than normal air or air DDP shipping.

Sea shipping

Traditional shipping is divided into LCL and full container transportation, which is generally not restricted by roads. As long as there is a river and sea, it can reach the destination port smoothly (this year’s Suez Canal incident is a special case, know more here). This mode of transport is popular with all cargo owners because of its low cost, high freight volume, and the fact that it has few restrictions on the cargo.

Although there are no restrictions on the weight and volume of goods by sea, it is not cost-effective for small quantities. Because the volume of goods less than one cubic meter will be calculated the same as one cubic meter, it is recommended to reach more than one CBM by sea. If the volume of goods is large, such as a 20 or 40 container, it is more cost-effective to go by sea. Usually, the price of a container to the United States may be about three thousand to five thousand dollars.

socks shipping by sea 1

In terms of timeframe, the general shipping time to Europe and the United States is about one month, and an additional half a month so if you need to get to the doorstep. Therefore, if you need to get a batch of urgent socks, you’d better choose another option.
Nowadays online shopping is more popular, so a separate shipping line to Amazon warehouses has been opened, also known as DDP sea shipment.
Most of the cargo on the ship is sent to the Amazon address, and the surrounding addresses can also be delivered, but it will take longer time.
Also, this channel is for customs clearance of the whole shipment and is tax-free through a special channel, but no tax invoice can be provided.
The time limit is about 30 days, including the delivery time, which is faster than the traditional sea freight, and the price is also suitable.
However, this kind of channel also has weight requirements, which need to be above 100kg, and less than 100kg is also charged by this weight.

Air shipping

Air shipping is fast, safe, and not easily affected by ground conditions. However, it is relatively expensive and has a limited cargo capacity, making it costs more to transport. However, air transport is susceptible to weather conditions, which can affect the final delivery time.
This shipment will be delivered to the destination airport and delivery can also be requested like the sea shipping. There are no restrictions on weight, but below 20kg the price may be more advantageous to go by express, as air freight is slightly slower than express, generally around 7-10 days, excluding delivery time.
Now there is also DDP way of air freight which is similar to the sea DDP, and shipping time is around 10-15 days to the Amazon warehouse, few days more to nearby addresses. The weight requirement will be around 50kg.

socks ship by air

Express

Express delivery is a well-known mode of transportation, the four major expresses are FEDEX, DHL, TNT and UPS.
This mode of transportation is fast, the fastest to the United States can be delivered within 1-2 working days, other countries will basically be delivered in about 3-5 working days.
There is no limit on weight, but the price is higher, which is more expensive than air transportation. In addition, there is no tax channel for this kind of shipping. So if the time is in a hurry, you can choose to use express shipment. Or you can choose the express shipping when you get out part of the socks in advance.

Railway shipment


Land transport is one of the oldest ways of international transportation, and it is mainly divided into rail and road transport. The first one is more common and will not be affected by the weather. The general delivery time is similar to that of sea shiping, around 40-50 days, including delivery time.
The railway is also generally DDP to the door and, again, does not provide a formal tax receipt, which is more suitable for Amazon sellers. The weight requirement is recommended to be above 50kg for Asian and European countries.

socks ship by railway
Below I have made a comparison picture of the 4 channels for reference.
socks ship by different chanels

Our factory has several year-round cooperating freight forwarders, which will provide customers with the most cost-effective channels before shipping, and will also provide multiple channels for comparison. If you have questions about exporting socks, please feel free to contact us – Jiaxing Max Hosiery.

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