Now that everything is ready from the manufacturer, let's talk about the different shipping options that you can use for your shipment. Different logistics methods can have a drastic difference in transit time and freight charges, so it's crucial to understand which option is best for what you're trying to import. The first option is the express courier. This is my favorite option for my initial inventories where the product isn't super heavy and needs shorter turnaround time.
Examples of an express courier are DHL, UPS, and FedEx. These couriers can typically reach you within three to four days and can be tracked online with up-to-date information. The downside is that this is significantly more expensive than regular post. I recommend this option if your shipment is fairly lightweight and you need it quickly. The second option is air freight. If the inventory is too heavy for express couriers, air freight might be the most cost efficient method.
This method uses commercial airlines cargo spaces to transport the goods, so your shipment will depend on the airline's schedule and the capacity that the planes have. This means that transit time won't be as fast as the express couriers, but will be more reasonable because there are always planes coming into the United States. The downside to this option is that you'll be responsible for clearing customs and getting the shipment from the airport. This step can be handled by your freight forwarding companies.
The third option is sea freight. Transporting your cargo through the ocean can't take a very long time, but can carry a massive amount of inventory at a fairly low cost, which in turn would drive down the product costs. Sea freight could take anywhere from 24 to 60 days to arrive, but if you plan ahead, this could be the most favorable option. You're also responsible for clearing the customs and all the fees incurred after docking. Just like the air freight option, your freight forwarding companies can handle this process for you.
One of the most common questions about logistics is whether you should handle it yourself or hire a freight forwarding company. Typically, when you're just starting out, you could work with your suppliers to help manage the logistics for you. All you have to do is tell the suppliers to ship your products to your address and let them know what type of option you would like to pick. Using this method could be a little bit more expensive because typically your suppliers will try to make a profit off of the freight charges as well.
I'd like to recommend this for a first orders because your suppliers has established relationships with freight forwarding companies that understand the specifics of how to import your product, and it will allow you to observe how it works before you try it yourself.