How to ship chemical products from China?

Once chemical importers have found the reliable and right chemical supplier, later order confirm is and payment arranged, there goes the shipment of chemicals from China to destination countries. The illustration above shows the 3 basic options for chemical shipment. 1. By Air 2. By Sea 3. Inland Shipping. We will break them down one by one right after.

1.By Air

The shipment by air normally applies to smaller quantities compared to the other 2 options, from grams to hundreds of kilos due to its high cost. Shipping chemicals by air (from airport to airport) would require a Certificate for the safe transport of goods or certificate of safe transport of chemical goods. There is more than one authority who can issue such certificates, such as DGM, SIMT, etc, Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry Testing Co., Ltd. You can check one copy of the certificate of safe air transport below for Iron dextran for your ref from SIMT.

certificate for safe transport needed to ship chemicals from China by air

Please note: all chemicals to be shipped by air would require such a certificate, one copy costs about 100usd. Some chemicals are not categorized as safe and suitable for air shipping, such as Type 3, 4 hazardous chemicals, we will show how chemicals are categorized in the next article.

1.1. By airplane (From Airport-To-Airport)

Shipment by airplane always requires formal customs declaration in China Customs. However small the value of the good is, exporters are required to provide the whole set of documents for customs declaration.

Shipping cost by airplane is comparatively lower than that of Courier Companies such as FedEx, DHL. It is not 100% true when FedEx or DHL gives a big discount for a certain period.

1.2. By Courier (From Door-To-Door)

1.2.1 FedEx: the most often chosen courier for international shipment of chemicals.

1). Punctual 2). On-time tracking 3). Competitive 4). Medium Customs Clearance Ability 5). Requiring Certificate of safe transport

1.2.2 DHL: our second favorite, slightly more expensive than FedEx but more punctual and easier import clearance. (In Dec. 2019, DHL from Hangzhou almost stopped shipping chemicals)

1.2.3 UPS: The most expensive one, we barely use.

1.2.4.TNT: Similar to FedEx on every aspect, we simply prefer FedEx :-).

1.2.5:EMS: 1) Very unpunctual 2) No On-time Tracking 3) similar cost for certain areas 4): Highest chance to pass customs 5) No certificate of safe transport needed (Dec. 2019, EMS stopped shipping route to many areas).

1.2.6: Aramex & Other: Their routes are very limited. They only to the middle-east areas and they also require a certificate of safe air transport. They seem to stop shipping chemicals nowadays.

The difference between Shipping by air from Courier is that Courier can either ship a very small quantity of chemicals informally or formally. Shipping by air requires a formal customs declaration for any amount of goods.

2. By Sea

We divide shipments by sea into 3 categories: FCL, LCL, and others.
The general process is as below:


2.1 Who chooses shipment by sea?

Sea freight is often chosen by importers buying chemicals by large quantities in bulk. Shipping by sea is the cheapest shipping method. If you’re importing a bulk amount of chemicals, sea freight should be the most cost-efficient option for you.

2.1 Sea Freight vs. Shipment by air.

Shipping chemicals by sea from China, a certain shipping company would require a Certificate of safe transport similar to that for air transport, but not all shipping companies, instead, they would ask for a Guarantee letter for non-dangerous goods from Shipper. 

As for hazardous or highly dangerous chemicals, there will be more requirements before goods are allowed to be loaded, such as UN packing, etc. But Hazardous goods from type 1~9 all can be shipped by sea. The courier could not ship hazardous goods, such as the most common types such as type 6, type 9, etc. Of course, the higher cost compared to common goods. Shipment by air, there are very able shipping-agents in China who can ship type1~9 by airplane.

3. Inland Shipping

For Inland shipping, it is suitable for inland neighboring countries not divided by oceans such as the railway connecting Europe and Asia.

It is the safest shipping method for chemicals among the 3, so theoretically you can ship any type of chemicals this way.
If you have any different ideas on those shipping methods, your comment will be highly appreciated..

Close Menu