What’s happening in packaging

Stop Paying Full Fare for Sea Freight: How to Save 50%...Seriously

In September of 2021, the median price to ship a standard rectangular container from China to the West Coast came in at a cool $20,586. That was double the cost from July. And that was double the cost from January. These skyrocketing shipping costs represent a record high for the shipping industry — and it’s only getting worse.

There’s no way to sugar-coat it: the unprecedented global supply chain meltdown isn’t ending anytime soon, and it’s led to insane prices and outrageous lead times. Brands are waiting for 8, 10, or even 12 months just to get simple lids for spice bottles.

In spite of these bottlenecks, consumer spending is actually rising. This is no time to be caught with your pants down as we head into the holiday season. But how can you reasonably expect to fulfill consumer demand and achieve profitable margins with shipping costs on the moon?

Keep an Eye on Cancellations

No matter how high demand gets, or how much global brands are willing to shell out to get on a boat, the unthinkable does happen — shipments get canceled. There’s no way container brokers are going to let a ship leave port without a full load, so this is your window to act fast. Canceled containers are made instantly available at deeply discounted prices to guarantee they make it onto the boat.

Whenever a cancellation pops up, the early bird gets the worm (and better shipping container costs). Anyone in line and ready can snatch up the opening while saving thousands under the median cost. Container brokers send us emails every week to make ABC Packaging immediately aware of last-minute cancellations. One of our recent customers was able to secure a pair of 20-footers at $15,000 less than it would have cost to ship the same goods the normal way.

Best of all, it shipped right away. Plenty of people are waiting multiple months in line to get on a boat. When you take advantage of a cancellation, you cut the line and accelerate lead times well beyond the “new normal” of the global supply chain breakdown. 

It pays to have a partner with an ear to the ground (and boots on the ground) to dive on cancellations and get your products on the water, faster and for less. 

Leverage Every Port — Not Just the Big Ones

China only has a handful of primary ports, like Shenzhen and Tianjin, that handle most of the largest cargo ships and the big 40-foot metal containers. It’s hard to get aboard those ships. Multi-billion dollar brands are outmuscling everyone else and filling containers fast. 

A savvy partner with years of experience working in these overseas markets will know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many smaller ports along the Chinese coast that most domestic U.S. suppliers have never heard of. Often, these will handle smaller boats with 20-foot containers and provide a wealth of extra options as you’re looking for openings.

Stay Agile With Local Storage

Cancellations and cost-efficient opportunities can happen anywhere. The only surefire way to capitalize on these narrow windows is to have your products nearby and ready to deliver to the port at a moment’s notice.

ABC Packaging keeps all of our customers’ products at a conveniently located warehouse in the midst of the region with all of China’s major and minor ports. We’ll take your order, run it ahead, and stage it in our warehouse even before shipping has been finalized. This gives you the flexibility to head in any direction at a moment’s notice to snag a cancellation or other cost-effective opening, no matter which port it’s at, and get your product on the water.

With The Oversea Network from ABC Packaging, you have the boots on the ground to take advantage of every opportunity and ship your products faster, for less. Don’t let the record-high shipping containers costs from China to the U.S. spoil your holiday plans — take matters into your own hands and get in touch with us today.

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