100+ China Shipping Agents: How to Find the Reliable One?

Jan 24, 2024 Chapter 5. Shipping

Logistics plays a key role in global sourcing, but the process itself can be daunting. There are many laws, tariffs and acronyms involved, and many choices to be made. That’s why it’s so important to conduct research, make sure you understand the process and work with a China shipping agent you trust.



How Does a China Shipping Agent Work?

China shipping agent plays a crucial role in facilitating the international movement of goods from China to other countries. They act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, handling various aspects of the shipping process, including booking cargo space, preparing shipping documents, negotiating rates, arranging customs clearance, and tracking shipments.


Types of China Shipping Agents:

1. Freight Forwarders: Freight forwarders are the most common type of China shipping agent. They act as an intermediary between shippers and carriers, managing the entire shipping process from origin to destination. Freight forwarders typically do not own their own vessels or aircraft but instead utilize the services of various carriers to transport cargo. They specialize in handling complex shipments, negotiating rates, and providing comprehensive logistics solutions.

2. Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs): NVOCCs are similar to freight forwarders but own their own container lines. They act as a carrier, issuing their own bills of lading and providing their own shipping schedules. NVOCCs often have a strong network of partnerships with various carriers, enabling them to offer competitive rates and flexible routing options.

3. Customs Brokers: Customs brokers specialize in handling the customs clearance process for imported goods. They are experts in customs regulations, tariffs, and import procedures, ensuring that shipments comply with all customs requirements. Customs brokers can assist with preparing customs documentation, classifying goods, and representing importers in customs audits and investigations.

4. Logistics Service Providers: Logistics providers offer a broader range of services beyond just shipping. They handle the entire supply chain management process, including collect shipments, warehousing service, quality control, distribution, inventory management, and transportation. Logistics providers can provide customized solutions tailored to the specific needs of their clients, optimizing their supply chains for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

5. Specialized Agents: Specialized China shipping agents focus on specific industries or products, catering to the unique requirements of those sectors. For instance, there are agents specializing in shipping electronics, apparel, hazardous materials, liquid, powder or perishable goods. These agents possess in-depth knowledge of industry regulations, packaging requirements, and handling procedures for specific commodities.



Benefits of Cooperating with Good China Shipping Agent:

Key Takeaways:

  • China shipping agents eliminate language barriers and streamline communication.

  • Their experience and expertise reduce shipping time and minimize delays.

  • Bulk discounts through China shipping agents result in cost-effective solutions.

  • Customs clearance expertise ensures efficient and timely delivery.

  • Cargo protection and compensation options safeguard your goods.



The Incoterms You Should Know

Shipping incoterms refer to international standard codes that determine when and where the cargo will be transferred between the supplier and the importer.

There are trade terms that are being published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). These terms are usually used in international and domestic trade contracts. There are some common Incoterms you should be familiar with: FOB, DDP, CIF, EXW… 






100+ Best China Shipping Agents List:

Below I have listed some freight forwarders in China, but the advantageous transportation routes of each agent are different. So, you need to ask for more information.


Company Service Location

Supplyia Shipping

Consolidation Shipping, Inspection, 3PL prep Services Yiwu/Shenzhen


Free pre-shipment inspection + Arrange shipping Yiwu/Shanghai

Fulfillment Bridge

Global Fulfillment Solutions Hongkong


 Drop shipping services Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Hongkong/Shenzhen


China shipping company Shenzhen

Super International Shipping

China shipping company Hongkong


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Ningbo


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shanghai


China Shipping agent Chicago


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent US


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent China, US


China Shipping company Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


China Shipping agent Shenzhen


Shipping agent in China Netherlands






How to Select the Best China Shipping Agents?

With over 100,000 freight forwarders worldwide, you need to define your key selection criteria. The following are the most common factors to consider.


supplyia shipping service
A good forwarder will give you some good advice before shipping and know how to try to protect your goods from arriving safely and reducing damage.



1. Specialized Transportation Requirements

Many freight forwarders do not handle bulk commodities such as vehicles, household moves, wheat, or oversized shipments. Each China shipping agent has its own advantages in different fields, such as machinery, dangerous goods, oversized, sensitive goods, before inquiring to confirm whether they can ship your items.


2. Identify Freight Forwarder Size

Name brand global freight forwarders have the ability to secure preferential freight rates and preferential treatment from large air and ocean carriers, as well as a broader global physical footprint. This means they will attract larger customers who will naturally receive preferential treatment. 

Take the latest annual mystery shopping survey. All of the top 20 freight forwarders were asked for quotes, but only seven were willing to quote to small businesses. You should probably avoid using any of the larger freight forwarders for small orders;

If your total shipping costs around $1-$800, In contrast, smaller freight forwarders typically have more time to spend on smaller shipments and work with smaller customers, but they may have less attractive pricing.


3. Evaluate Shipping Experience and Price

Making decisions based on price alone can be a flawed strategy, especially if you are trying to save $200 on a shipment worth $200,000. For example, some freight forwarders discount the first shipment to win the sale, but give it back in subsequent shipments.

In addition, some freight forwarders hide fees in their terms and conditions to make their offers seem more attractive than those from more honest competitors. Price leading freight forwarders almost certainly do so at the expense of service. This may not be a problem, for example, if those services you don’t need. So, if one offer is much cheaper than the others, be very careful and see if you can figure out why


4. Analyze Service Level and capabilities

Your shipment can grow your business, so you need a trusted responsible person to coordinate with air freight, ocean shipping and (especially) customs agents who will not accept incorrect, incomplete or late paperwork. If your freight forwarder is not on top of your shipment, you may have to pay more than you bargained for.

A good early indicator of a good freight forwarder’s level of customer service is how long it takes them to respond to your request for a quote. If it takes a week or more, then regular and transparent communication during the shipment process doesn’t bode well.






How to Get a Shipping Quotation?

The next thing you need to know is What do you need to get a shipping quotation? 

Freight forwarders require the following information before they can provide a quotation.

  • Shipping method: Air or ocean

  • Total Cargo Volume (cbm)/Total Weight (kg)

  • Each Carton of weight and Dim

  • Freight Term: EXW Factory or FOB

  • Pick address: factory address or port name

  • Delivery address

  • Insurance (Yes / No)

  • Freight Quote normally does not include: Duty & Tax


So be sure to have this information prepared when you ask for a Cheap shipping quote. As such, the final freight cost can only be ‘confirmed’ once the products are manufactured and packed. But you can still get an estimate by providing this information.



Importer’s Guide for Finding China Shipping Company Checklist


Make sure goods are tightly and carefully packed. This saves on cost and prevents cargo getting destroyed along the way. Smaller packaging also means lower freight costs.


They regulate where you assume shipping responsibility from the seller, as per the sales contract. For example, FOB means you take control after loading on the ship or plane while EXW means you coordinate shipping directly from their warehouse.

Cargo Insurance

Insist on comprehensive cargo insurance. Most carrier liability only covers a small percent of your cargo’s value … and ship does happen.


Have you supplier send you a copy of the Commercial Invoice and Packing List. These documents contain some of the information you will need when requesting quotes.


Come prepared with the origin, destination, import mode, size of goods, value, and other core details to both make requesting the quote easier, and confine communications.


Decide which forwarders to request quotes from, based on referrals or past experience


Request quotes (or use Alibaba Freight to instantly compare quotes).


Make sure they got it right on the quote. For example, some forwarders have a tendency to forget trucking on either side, or might forget customs.


Accepting a quote is almost as simple as it sounds but don’t choose solely on price!


Congratulations. Time to send documentation (SLI, etc) to your new forwarder.

Next Steps

Your shipment is now booked … but your shipment is just starting.




Navigating the World of China Shipping Agents: A Comprehensive Guide


Where to Find a Reputable China Shipping Agent?

  1. Online Research: Leverage the vast resources of the internet to identify potential shipping agents. Utilize industry directories, business reviews, and search engines to locate reputable companies.

  2. Alibaba for Specialized Recommendations: Seek more specific results by exploring Alibaba’s platform. Access a comprehensive list of licensed and accredited shipping agents in China. Review agent recommendations, history, and transaction information to make informed decisions.

  3. Word-of-Mouth Recommendations: Tap into your network of friends, family, and acquaintances to seek recommendations for reliable shipping agents. Their firsthand experiences provide valuable insights into various freight forwarders in China.

  4. Attending Trade Fairs: Immerse yourself in China’s vibrant trade fair scene. Attend exhibitions and expositions where representatives of reputable shipping companies showcase their services. Engaging directly with potential agents provides a deeper understanding of their capabilities.

  5. Social Media Engagement: Monitor social media platforms to gauge the reputation of potential shipping agents. Engage in online group forums to gather feedback from previous and current customers.


Common Scams Employed by China Shipping Agents

  1. Unusually Low Price Rates: Scammers capitalize on customers’ desire for cost-effective solutions. They offer suspiciously low rates compared to market averages, enticing businesses to overlook potential red flags.

  2. Diverting from Agreed Shipping Methods: After agreeing on a specific shipping method, scammers may switch to a slower, cheaper option without your knowledge. This intentional delay can lead to missed deadlines and costly disruptions.

  3. Withholding Bill of Lading: Scammers may withhold the bill of lading, a crucial document for cargo clearance. They may then demand additional fees to release the document, placing customers at a disadvantage.

  4. Incomplete or Misleading Documentation: Scammers may provide incomplete or inaccurate documentation, resulting in delays and potential cargo seizures at ports. They may then demand additional fees to rectify the situation.

  5. Concealing Sub-port Information: Shipping agents may withhold information about the specific sub-port where cargo is located. This lack of transparency can hinder tracking and increase the risk of cargo loss.

  6. Lack of Container Condition Documentation: Request photo proof of your cargo within the shipping container to ensure its condition. Scammers may avoid providing such documentation to conceal potential damage caused by subpar containers.

  7. Procrastination Tactics: Scammers may employ procrastination tactics to delay the shipping process, creating uncertainty and frustration. This can be used as a pretext for demanding additional fees or bribes.


Protecting Yourself from China Shipping Agent Scams

  1. Verify License and Accreditation: Always check the license and accreditation of potential shipping agents to ensure they operate legally and adhere to industry standards.

  2. Seek Recommendations and Reviews: Gather feedback from previous and current customers to assess the shipping agent’s reputation and performance.

  3. Conduct Background Checks: Utilize your network to inquire about the shipping agent’s reputation and conduct background checks. Seek information from individuals with industry knowledge or direct experience with the company.

  4. Evaluate Professionalism: Assess the professionalism of the shipping agent by reviewing their company website, logo, and social media presence. Ensure they maintain a professional online presence.

  5. Establish Clear Communication Channels: Maintain open and clear communication channels with the shipping agent throughout the entire process. Document all interactions and agreements.

  6. Seek Legal Counsel: If you encounter any issues or suspect fraudulent activities, consult with legal counsel to protect your rights and interests.



Alibaba Shipping Guide



Questions to Ask Chinese Shipping Agents Before Starting Work:

Before you work with a logistics agent in China, below the questions you can pick to ask them to avoid scams:

How Broad is Their Customer Base?

Generally speaking, a good shipping agent will have a good reputation and many customers. It is important to ask who their customers are and how many customers they have received in a month. This will let you know how good they are.

Can They Help with Customs Clearance?

Ask in advance whether the Chinese shipping agent will help with customs clearance. If they don’t provide this service, things may get complicated because you need to hire other people to help with this process.

If they agree to provide this service, see how they will do it. You can ask them what the procedure of the operation is, how quickly they can complete the operation, and so on.

Can They Provide Door-to-door Delivery in Your Country?

Do they have the option of door-to-door (DDP) delivery? Will they only leave the goods at the port of your country or ship them directly to the destination? You need to figure out these things in advance.

What Are the Specific Services Included?

As mentioned earlier, different freight forwarders can provide many services. When you request a quote from a shipping agent or company, be sure to know the exact service included in the package.

Most shipping agents provide a standard package, and the rest of the service needs to be purchased at a price. For example, choosing to store goods in the agent’s warehouse requires additional costs.

Are There Hidden Fees in His Price?

Beware of hidden costs. Write down the quotes for all services and state which services you will enjoy. Clear and transparent, everything is in order, and then China’s freight forwarders will have no hidden costs.

Do you Have a License to Operate a Shipping Business?

Before you consider looking for the best Chinese shipping agent, it is imperative to check the license. If they don’t show you the permit, don’t continue doing business with them. This means that they do not have a license, and there is no legal basis if something goes wrong. Unlicensed agents are generally liars.

Video Call for Detailed Information.

If you are not on-site (in most cases), request a video call so you can visit the facilities of the Chinese shipping agency. It will give you a good idea of ​​how professional they are.


China shipping agent pros&cons



Finding China Shipping Company Conclusion

When you find China forwarder for your business you should know exactly what kind of services you need, then compare different agents based on their services, fee, English skills, response time, and their order fulfillment software as well as hardware to ensure the order fulfillment in a short time.

If you need a shipping agent in China, you can submit the form about your goods information. We will reply to you within 12 hours.

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