Importing From China For Christmas – Dates You Need To Know For Sea Freight

The Christmas season is likely to be the most profitable time of the year for importers who sell products online..... But you need to act quickly! From China, goods need to be on the water before the end of October to make the most of the Christmas market.

If you’re an online seller, the holiday season is probably – no, definitely – one of the most important parts of your year. You’re preparing to see sales booming, profits soaring and stats the like of which you’ve only ever dreamed of. The only issue is how you’re going to get all of your goods here and ensure that they arrive on time. Christmas is an absolute goldmine, which means that you need to know how to take advantage – so today we’re talking about when you need to import by to make sure that your goods arrive in time.

See that annual bump in the chart? That could be your earnings – if you get ahead and sort yourself out in time for the seasonal boom.

Dates You Need To Know

If your goods are coming from Northern China (8 weeks on the water), to get them by Friday 1st December* here are the rough dates to know:

Lead/Production Time of 0 days: October 6th

Lead/Production Time of 7 days: September 29th

Lead/Production Time of 14 days: September 22nd

Lead/Production Time of 30 days: September 8th

If your goods are coming from Mid China (7 weeks on the water), to get them by Friday 1st December* here are the rough dates to know:

Lead/Production Time of 0 days: October 13th

Lead/Production Time of 7 days: October 6th

Lead/Production Time of 14 days: September 29th

Lead/Production Time of 30 days: September 15th

If your goods are coming from Southern China (6 weeks on the water), to get them by Friday 1st December* here are the rough dates to know:

Lead/Production Time of 0 days: October 20th

Lead/Production Time of 7 days: October 13th

Lead/Production Time of 14 days: October 6th

Lead/Production Time of 30 days: September 22nd

*This doesn’t factor in possible delays.

How To Work Out When You Need To Order Products From China To Get Them In Time For Christmas INFOGRAPHIC

Importing Stock From China In Time For Christmas Infographic - Transit Times and Things That Affect Transit Time (Factors Of Sea Freight)

Our Top Tips For Holiday Season Importing

For Early December Delivery, Get Your Goods On The Water Between The 17th and 28th October

For delivery in early December, goods from China need to be ready and booked onto a vessel between the 17th October and the 28th October. This is dependent on where in China the supplier is located (it takes longer to ship from Northern China than Southern China).

The Earlier The Better

Although we may be starting to creep into the holiday season, the earlier you can import your goods, the better. There is more space on ships during the non-peak periods, which in turn means the rates cost much less because the shipping lines need to price their rates attractively to bring in customers. Make sure to try to get your goods shipped out with time to spare so that you can avoid that Autumn price bump. If you’re ordering goods now, the prices are already starting to creep up – so don’t delay! Don’t waste any more time and see your freight costs rocket.

If Possible, Import Quickly Manufactured Products

If you’re not sure what products to import and you’re just looking for stock as opposed to specific products, remember that some products take longer to make than others. This makes sense; some things are carefully assembled by hand and some things are popped straight out of a machine. Manufacturers aren’t going to have 1,000s of the product you want just lying around taking up space – a vast majority of products are made to order. So you order and pay, then the goods are made and finally shipped. This all contributes to the time it takes your goods to reach your door – and then you have to package them and send them out again.

You can streamline this process by choosing more quickly made products, which ensures that they’ll be sent out much sooner. Ask your supplier for an estimation of how long it will be before they can get your goods out of their door.

Seriously, ORDER AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE

We’ve already included this tip from a financial point of view – but we’re including it again from an efficiency one. You know how the ships you use to transport your goods get busier over the Christmas period, which in turn means they bump up their prices because you really have no choice other than to pay? Well, the same can go for suppliers.

Suppliers receive a massive influx of business too. This means that whereas you can usually negotiate and haggle prices with them, they’re much less likely to be willing. However, even worse, the orders they have to fulfil can build up and become backlogged. So during this period your order, regardless of how fast it can usually be made and shipped out, can take far longer to even get made let alone shipped out of the country.

Make Sure Your Goods Can Get In ASAP

Customs. It’s a tip we probably share every post – but that’s because it’s a biggie. You need to make sure your goods can clear customs – and that they can do it quickly. When importing for the seasonal traffic, you don’t have time to lose! Having them held, tested and eventually released by customs is just adding time to an already tight deadline.

If you want further explanation about Customs, we’ve already written a post explaining clearing UK Customs to you and telling you how to make sure your goods are viable to enter the country fast and painlessly.

Just a quick tip – here are a few products that customs are very likely to hold and test:

  • Hoverboards/Segways
  • Electronics
  • Any type of food
  • Medicines or supplements

If you want your goods to arrive in time, October is the very latest you need them ordered. On average, it takes about 7 weeks for goods to reach the UK from overseas and mid-to-late October is the latest we would recommend pushing it if you want your goods on time. What does this mean? You need to act now!

If you’re interested in importing goods for Christmas, want to know if it’s too late (it’s not!) or just want some advice, contact us!


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