A Comprehensive guide shipping from China to South Korea
This guide equips you with all the information you need while shipping goods from China to South Korea.
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Low cost Freight shipping from China to South Korea: Best customer guide
Imports to South Korea from China are a multi-billion dollar industry. In every year people purchase thousands of products from China. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to get started.
DFH Logistics is large enough to handle any shipping job but small enough to care about your needs. Our goal is to tailor shipping solutions for all kinds of clients. Whether it’s express freight, railway freight, or air freight from China, we’re here to help you get started today.
Contact us for a freight quote so we can get you in business!
How to get started for shipping from China to South Korea:
Handling international shipments is a complicated process. It involves coordinating not only the actual shipments but getting the items through Chinese and South Korean customs while making sure your company follows all regulations and doesn’t violate any restrictions. This takes background knowledge, experience, and the ability to stay informed about changes in the industry. That’s why choosing the right freight forwarder for your company is essential. Before you’re ready to export goods from China to South Korea, it’s important to factor in the following:
- Both countries’ customs regulations
- Each country’s Import and export policies and restrictions
- Shipping documents
- Suitable modes of transportation for the goods being shipped
- The appropriate shipping routes used by the chosen mode of transportation
Finding a China-based carrier with good rates and that can effectively handle your shipping project will ensure your needs are met, both with regards to maximizing your company’s profit and maintaining the integrity of your inventory. Even though you won’t be handling this process yourself, it’s important to know a little about how the process works so you can work through logistics and potential pitfalls with your forwarder.
8 Steps for Importing from China
Step 1: Check trade laws in China and South Korea
Make sure you’re aware of current regulations and restrictions when exporting from China and importing to South Korea. Both countries have different policies which can change often, so it’s important to stay informed. This is also the time in the process to find out what documents you’ll need to have ready for your goods to pass smoothly through customs.
Step 2: Decide what to import
You probably already have an idea of what merchandise your company is well-equipped to offer. From a business standpoint, it’s vital to make sure there will be a demand for your products in South Korea. Check what items currently sell well there. Research levels of demand for products so you know how much you should import and roughly how much it will cost you to produce, market, and deliver those goods to your customers. This is a business venture, after all – you want to make sure at the end of the day, you’re still able to turn a profit after factoring in expenses.
Step 3: Choose a shipping method
Before shipping your products you have to choose a shipping method. Shipping method depends on your types of merchandise. If you don’t know which shipping method is perfect for you then we will give you a good suggestions. Shipping methods vary depending on the weight and quantity of the products.
Step 4: Find a supplier
After you’ve decided what you want to offer your customers, an internet search can put you in touch with Chinese suppliers looking to sell just that. By developing a mutually-beneficial relationship with your suppliers, you can provide quality goods for your customers while creating beneficial business for yourself and your supplier.
Where can I find China Suppliers?
As we know, a good supplier is equal to a good client, so it is very important to find the right China supplier before we do business. Here are some methods for your search for the right suppliers from China as your business partners.
- A famous business-to-business website from China is a good place for you to choose suppliers.
- Famous business to clients’ website from China is the second place for you to choose China suppliers.
- Visiting different kinds of Chinese business fairs is a good method for getting in contact with suppliers directly.
- Your freight forwarder can help recommend good suppliers for you, as they are Chinese. As a high-quality freight forwarder, they should have many different cooperating suppliers already. For example, if you choose DFH as your freight forwarder, we can help you as much as we can to get high-quality china manufactures.
- A Chinese sourcing company can help you to buy any goods directly from the suppliers if you don’t want to look for suppliers yourself. There are so many Chinese sourcing companies that do this job very well. It may be a better choice than buying directly from China. Click here to check the top 50 China Sourcing companies.
- You can search for suppliers directly on Google. You’ll find a wide variety of reliable Chinese suppliers for you to choose from.
If you find yourself struggling with price negotiations with your new-found supplier, contact us. We can talk you through the process and help you get the best price for your merchandise. It’s just one more way DFH Logistics is here for you from beginning to end.
Step 5: Estimate your tax liability for importing goods from China to South Korea
South Korean customs will apply a 10% value-added tax on their import. Other taxes and fees may apply depending on the type of items you’re shipping. It’s vital to stay well-informed about Chinese and South Korean trade regulations so you know ahead of time what fees and taxes you should expect to pay. This will prevent unhappy and expensive surprises down the road. It will also help prevent you from running into unforeseen problems at South Korean customs.
If you want to import from China but are unable to pay taxes, DFH Logistics can help you solve this problem. Our door-to-door shipping services include customs clearance and taxes in our price quotes. And no matter what shipping method you choose, we can help you navigate tax information.
Step 6: Define your shipment’s Incoterms
If you’ve never shipped anything internationally before, you might not be familiar with the term “Incoterm.” Incoterms are internationally-recognized rules and terms that distribute responsibilities and liabilities between buyers and sellers when importing and exporting goods. They address who’s responsible for making payments on and monitoring shipments, obtaining insurance, preparing shipping and customs documents, and other shipping-related tasks. They’re industry-standard, so they’re important to be familiar with. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these and define your shipping’s Incoterms before moving forward.
Step 7: Customs clearance from China to South Korea
Basically, one of the most necessary processes in customs that is done by the owner of the products or its legal representative is called clearance of goods. The terms customs, which is used for importing and exporting a goods during a customs. Stages of customs clearance are expressed in the below:
- Entering information for the system
- Printing and declaration
- Assessing the goods
- Obtaining the necessary permits
- Paying the cost
- Going to the warehousing
- Exit of goods
Step 8: Hire a freight forwarder
As you can see, shipping items across the world is a complicated process that can get messy if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why it’s so important to hire a reliable and experienced freight forwarder. A good freight forwarder will handle the transportation of your inventory from the time it leaves your factory until it arrives at its final destination. This is the service DFH Global Logistics has years of experience handling. Don’t hesitate; reach out today so we can get to work helping with your shipment.
South Korea already imports a variety of goods from around the world. Reviewing their current top imports is a great starting place when determining what your company can offer.
Photo lab equipment
Office machine parts
Knowing what already has an existing market and demand in South Korea can give you a good idea of what you might be suited to provide for your prospective customers.
If you’re unsure where to start, check Alibaba.com. Alibaba is a Chinese business-to-business website that helps companies find merchandise to sell in other countries. Here’s just a handful of the types of items you can find on Alibaba.com to import to South Korea:
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
Cell phone cases
Professional gaming headsets
Pre-packaged snack foods
Scarves and shawls
Bus parts and accessories
Luggage and travel bags
Water treatment supplies and appliances
Cables for electronics
Now is also the time to determine whether any items you’re considering importing are prohibited or restricted by the South Korean government. If they are, delve into the current regulations that apply to those specific items. The last thing you want is to realize your cargo isn’t allowed into the country and you have to figure out what to do with a container-load of inventory.
Beverages and spirits
Dangerous goods, comb materials
Weapons and parts of weapons
Opium, Marijuana, Cocaine
Plants and seeds
Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive and can change often, so check current regulations every time you decide to ship a new type of item to South Korea.
Not sure where to start?
If you want to start doing business but still don’t know where to start, send us an inquiry. We can teach you the step-by-step process and help you source products. We’re so confident you’ll love our service, we want to start working with you before you’re even ready to start shipping inventory. We can make most suitable shipping offer for each of your shipment depends on our shipping experience and your shipping requirement. Matter how unorthodox the shipment, we’ll do whatever it takes to fit your needs.
Shipping Methods from China to South Korea:
We can provide cost estimates and explain the pros and cons of each shipping method in your specific situation. However, it’s best to have some background knowledge of these methods beforehand as well. The main options are express shipping by courier service, airfreight, train railway freight, and sea freight. In this section, we’ll provide a quick overview of how each method works as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Express Shipping freight From China to South Korea:
This is the fastest option to ship goods to South Korea. With Express shipping, your merchandise can reach its destination within 3 business days. With Express shipping courier services see your packages from door-to-door – that is, from your supplier factory to the items’ end destination.
A variety of well-known carriers offer these services, such as UPS, TNT, FedEx, and EMS. They all have good reputations for reliability, so you can rest easy knowing your items are quickly making their way to their destination. These carriers use a variety of methods (airfreight, sea freight, and train railway freight, which we’ll go into in greater depth later) to provide a hands-off, worry-free service. They can pick up your inventory at your door (or factory) and see it to a designated address, whether that be the warehouse in South Korea or directly to your South Korean customers.
Door-to-door express shipping handles items of all sizes and weights. Light items are generally air-freighted for speed and heavy items are sea-freighted, which involves a longer ship time. But since they come directly to your door, they are the most convenient option.
Upsides to express shipping: A fast, worry-free experience for you
Downsides to express shipping: More expensive than alternatives
Airfreight from China to South Korea:
The biggest advantage of airfreight is its speed. Items leaving China can arrive in South Korea within 2-3 days. This is optimal for high-value items since they spend less time in transit. However, there are a few trade-offs for that speed.
Airfreight is generally more expensive than rail or sea. It’s also better for small items because airlines have weight and volume restrictions. Airfreight also uses more fuel than alternatives, so if carbon footprint is a concern for you and your company ethic, you’ll want to opt for sea or rail freight.
Keep in mind that airfreight normally only involves delivering goods to an airport in South Korea, not to the inventory’s ultimate destination. Additional transportation accommodations must be made to get your shipment to its final destination. The exception, of course, is if you’ve arranged for door-to-door transportation. As discussed above, door-to-door delivery allows arrangements to be made to transport the goods from the airport to their end destination, as well as clearance through South Korean customs.
Airfreight is split into two categories: general cargo and special cargo. As the name suggests, most items are considered general cargo.
Examples of general cargo:
Personal accessories like watches, purses, etc.
Special cargo is subject to different regulations than general cargo, which can involve additional inspections.
Examples of special cargo:
Dangerous items, like certain chemicals
Items that need to be temperature-controlled, such as seafood
What is fragile items?
Fragile items includes anything that can be easily broken, from glassware to antiques and more. These delicate items can be made of any material, including crystal and ceramic, and need extra attention before shipping. DFH logistics provide a security over your fragile items.
Remember, some airlines have restrictions that prevent them from handling special cargo. When obtaining an estimate, make sure you mention any items that might fit into this category. The type of items you’re shipping can impact what airlines (and which airport destinations) your items can travel through. This, in turn, can affect the price you end up paying.
Top International Freight Airlines from China to South Korea:
Korean air cargo
Qatar airways cargo
All Nippon Airways
Top Chinese airports for exports to South Korea:
Beijing Capital International Airport
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport
Kunming Changshui International Airport
Shenzhen Baoan International Airport
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
South Korean international airports for imports:
Incheon international airport
Gimpo international airport
Yangyang international airport
Jeju international airport
Muan international airport
Upsides to airfreight: Fast
Downsides to airfreight: Expensive, high carbon footprint, constraints on what type of items can be shipped via air
When to use Air Freight from China to South Korea
Several elements would dictate choice of air freight for shipping products from China to South Korea. One of the factors is when you are shipping perishable goods. Such commodities need to get to the market somehow faster since they are likely to spoil in case they delay in transit. You may also need to consider air freight when you need to get the goods within shortest time possible. Ordinarily, air freight is the fastest means of cargo shipping.
Therefore, if you’re in hurried need of the commodities, it would be the best option to consider. Airfreight from China to South Korea would also be an ideal option when shipping relatively lightweight goods. Essentially, it would be cost-effective to ship light and compact commodities via air freight. Also, you may want to consider air freight from China to South Korea when shipping somewhat delicate goods. Utmost care is always a priority in this type of shipping; hence stands out as the best option for fragile commodities.
Moreover, when the overall cost of shipping is less than 15-20% of your goods’ value, it would be ideal to choose air freight. Ultimately, it becomes cost-effective for such shipments in addition to the reliability, safety, and shorter transit time.
Sea Freight shipping service from China to South Korea:
Sea freight is the most common method of shipping items from China to South Korea, mainly because of its versatility and reliability. While rail and airfreight have constraints on what items they can carry, practically everything can be shipped by sea, including very large and heavy items (like cars). The main downside to sea freight is its timeline. While other shipping methods deliver cargo in a matter of days, sea freight takes weeks. Items usually take between 4-8 days to reach their destination, depending on the type of freight and the specific ports of departure and arrival.
Sea freight operates under the same FCL and LCL container system as train railway freight. Consider container sizes when choosing shipment sizes and when obtaining a price estimate, since prices for FCL and LCL are different. We can help to make commercial invoice, customs clearance and buy insurance for your shipment.
Top Chinese seaports for exports to South Korea:
Port of Busan
Port of Chinae
Port of Daesan
Port of Daipori
Port of Gunsan
Port of Incheon
Port of Jeju
Port of Masan
Upsides to sea freight: Inexpensive, lower carbon footprint than airfreight, can handle all items, FCL and LCL system lets you adapt to your business’s needs
Downsides to sea freight: Slow
When to use Ocean Freight from China to South Korea
Sea freight shipping option from China to South Korea is an ideal option when transporting large shipments. It offers more capacity compared to air freight hence an ideal choice for bulk shipments. Such shipments include cranes, heavy equipment, and project cargo, among others. Ideally, sea freight is a cost-effective approach for shipping bulk shipments since the option is relatively affordable than air freight. Another instance you can opt for this method is when shipping HAZMAT goods.
In many instances, shipping of some HAZMAT materials is usually restricted when it comes to air freight or trucking. Also, when you are not necessarily in urgent need to receive the commodities, sea freight tends to be a suitable option. IN essence, sea freight is relatively slow compared to air freight hence would be ideal for non-perishable products. This mode of shipping is also a suitable choice for commodities that are not necessarily delicate. You should consider this option when shipping products, which do not require detailed attention as far as safety is concerned.
If you are working on a tight budget or considering saving a significant amount of money, sea freight becomes the better option. This is arguably the cheapest means of shipping products from China to South Korea.
Shipping Cost from China to South Korea:
How can be cost calculated?
The rates for shipping air freight or cargo in a container from China to South Korea are dependent on several factors. DFH freight forwarder will usually take the following aspect into consideration before shipping your merchandise:
- Nature of goods
- Chosen mode of transfer
- Weight of cargo
- Dimensions of cargo
- Distance between origin and recipient
- Types of service
Busy times for Chinese exports are January (Chinese New Year) and the third quarter of the year (July-September). The latter is due to increased demand in anticipation of end-of-the-year holidays.
Keep in mind that quotes for FCL shipping are usually stable for up to 2 weeks, while LCL rates last up to a month. This is why it’s so important to 1) obtain a quote specific to each shipment, and 2) act quickly to place your shipment order after receiving a quote.
How can I reduce my shipping costs?
- Negotiate with multiple carriers
- Get suppliers to use your shipping account number
- Use packaging provided by your carrier
- Consider a regional carrier
- Use online shipping
- Invest in prepaid shipping
- Buy insurance from a third party
- Factor in all shipping fees before billing customers
- Consider hybrid services
- Ask about association discounts.
Shipping Time from China to South Korea:
|Express||Within 3 days|
|Air Freight||2-3 days|
|Sea Freight||4-8 days|
How to find the cheapest way to ship?
Minimizing cost is one of the areas you need to focus on when shipping. Remember, as an importer; you need to maximize your profits while reducing costs. One of the way you can do that it by finding the cheapest way. There are many ways you can cheaply ship your cargo from China to South Korea. Here are some of the ways you can safely find a cheap way to ship your cargo from China to South Korea.
Identify the product to import
You need to identify the product that you want to import from China to South Korea. Going to China with a clear head of what you are importing can help save your shipping cost. You won’t have to choose what to import randomly. Also it will help you to identify the budget you are going to use.
Negotiation with different suppliers
For you to have an edge when it comes to importation, you have to engage the different suppliers available. This will help you find a favourable deal for your importation. Some of the areas that you can negotiate on include price, quantity to supply and even the production time.
Negotiate with several carriers
Ultimately, you will have to ship your cargo from China to South Korea. As such you need to look for a carrier that will ship your cargo at favourable rates. You can negotiate on the cost of shipping an even number of tips it makes to your destination.
Use your forwarder packaging material
One of the ways you may end up paying a higher price for your shipping is by using your packaging materials. Some of the materials might add weight to your cargo which will increase your shipping cost. Remember that weight is a crucial determinant when it comes to calculating your shipping cost. Minimize this by using the packaging materials provide by your forwarder which are typically the standard ones.
The season of shipping
You will pay higher if you chose to ship during the pack season. During such times, there are a lot of activities taking place with many importers importing which increases the pricing. Not only you will pay higher but you will also have limited space meaning that your cargo may be damage. Minimize this by shipping during low season when there are fewer activities. You will able to ship at a lower price at the same time have a lot of space for your shipment.
How do I know what method is right for me?
This is just a summary to give you an idea of shipment methods. The only way to know what shipping method is the best choice for your specific needs, at the specific time of shipment, is to contact an experienced freight forwarder who can listen to your situation, provide cost estimates, and recommend the option that best fits your needs. At this point, it’s clear that this process is complicated and involves a lot of factors. That’s why it’s so important to get a quote that’s specific to you.
DFH Global Logistics has over 10 years of experience handling international shipment logistics, which means we have the know-how and ability to make sure each shipment reaches its destination safely and without complications. We have office in ShenZhen, GuangZhou, ShangHai and ZheJiang. No matter where your suppliers located, we can pick up goods within China Mainland within 3hours after getting your pick up authorization.
If you’re looking for a freight forwarder to coordinate your shipments from China to the South Korea, contact us for a free quote today.
Documents to prepare when shipping from China to South Korea
- Single Administrative Document. This is the declaration document that you write to customs.
- Bill of lading, also known as an air waybill, sea waybill, or courier waybill. This is required for every shipment and serves as a contract between you and the carrier.
- Entry summary declaration
- Certificates of Origin
- Packing list
- CIM consignment note
- Certificate of shipment
Not all of these are necessary in every case, and document requirements vary based on the shipping method. Staying well-informed about current regulations and consulting with your freight forwarder will help ensure you always have the proper documentation prepared for your shipment.
If you’re not sure what documents you need or feel lost when preparing your documents, contact us. We offer help preparing commercial invoices as well as import and export customs clearances for each shipment.
Advantages of Choosing DFH Logistics as Your Freight Forwarder
Why choose DFH Global Logistics limited as your freight forwarder from China?
We offer the following complimentary services for your convenience:
- Free charge to pick up goods from supplier factory.
- Free charge for warehousing your cartons if goods not rush to send out to the destination.
- Pick-up goods from different suppliers, and send out together to help save shipping cost.
- Free charge in repacking cartons from suppliers.
- Free charge to help take pictures of goods from suppliers.
- Free charge to help checking goods package and appearance before sending out goods.
- We can help to make commercial invoice if you don’t have time to make CI.
- We can help to do the export customs clearance for each of your shipment.
- We can help to do the import customs clearance for each of your shipment.
- We can help to buy insurance for your shipment
- We can help to make certificate for your shipments
- We can be reached 24/7
- Shipment: Large enough to handle, small enough to care. Our goal is to tailor shipping solution for different kinds of clients
- Whatever you want to move, where ever they need to go, we can meet the challenge.
- We also can help you to negotiate price with your supplier if need our help.
- We can help to check what on earth your China Supplier if needed.
- If you want to buy from china, but don’t know how to do, we can teach you step by step or introduce sourcing company products.
- Our price is super reasonable.
- We treat this job more important than ourselves.
- We have office in ShenZhen, GuangZhou, ShangHai, ZheJiang. No matter where your suppliers located, we can pick up goods within China Mainland within 3hours after getting your pick up authorization.
- We can make most suitable shipping offer for each of your shipment depends on our shipping experience and your shipping requirement. Matter how unorthodox the shipment, we’ll do whatever it takes to fit your needs.
Shipping From China to South Korea– Frequently Asked Questions:
What import taxes will I have to pay for South Korean customs?
South Korean customs apply a 10% value-added tax to nearly all imported items. You may also need to pay customs and excise duties, as well as other fees.
It’s Important to stay well-informed about current South Korean import fees and to disclose all the contents of your shipments to your freight forwarder so they can provide you with an accurate estimate.
If you don’t want to pay taxes by yourself, we have also shipping methods that including taxes, door to door, including all cost. You need only waiting the packages arrive after paying us the shipping cost, then we will handle it for you. That is a special shipping route from China to South Korea, including shipping fees, including taxes, including export customs clearance and including import customs clearance.
What’s the cheapest way to ship from China to South Korea?
Sea freight is the cheapest shipping option from China to South Korea. However, prices vary often based on several factors. Remember that prices for FCL and LCL are different, and which one is most economical for your situation will depend on the particularities of a specific shipment.
How can I reduce the cost of shipping?
If you are familiar with your country of destination, we invite you to consider to a door-to-port service. This is not possible for every destination though. You may choose to self-pack your inventory to lower origin costs. Please remember that your personally packed items must still be professionally loaded by our overseas movers. Packing your own shipment must also be for professional export shipping, and can only be insured for total loss.
What type of boxes should I use for household goods?
Always use new packing boxes and materials. Never used old or pre-used boxes to ship your items. Old supermarket boxes may cost nothing, but they are not well padded nor strong enough to withstand international shipping, and will often be responsible for damage to your items.
How can I make sure my goods arrive safely?
While we take all possible precautions, we encourage every customer to purchase insurance so your shipments are covered in case of damage or loss during transit. We’re happy to help you choose the right insurance for you. We can even walk you through the process.
What is the best way to protect fragile items
Ensure our overseas shipping crew is aware of your boxes containing your fragile items. Our team will inform you if your valuables should be packed in more protective boxes. Generally speaking, the heaver the item, the tighter the box around it should be. Label all fragile item containing boxes “FRAGILE”.
When will my payment be due?
Payment is due after goods ship. If you’re choosing to have us pick up your items at your supplier factory, payment is due after item pickup. We will send out and provide the tracking number which can let you track your goods shipping states online, at the time you can arrange to pay to our company account.
Which payment methods do you accept?
Cash in RMB (Chinese currency)
If I choose you to be my forwarder, how to begin to cooperate with you?
It is very simple, you need just email your china manufacture and send a copy to our email address to let the supplier know, DFH is the shipper for the shipment, DFH will be your freight forwarder, also confirm with us the shipping method after we make the shipping offer to you, then we will go ahead to arrange the next steps together with the manufacture, to let your shipments arrive safely and on time.
Can I track my order online?
We label each order with a track & trace code. You will receive it together with the shipping confirmation. You can also find the track & trace code in your account, under ‘my orders’.
What items not to ship?
We recommend not shipping the following:
- Important family documents.
- Seeds or live plants
- Open bottles
- Hazardous & flammable liquids
What should I do if my parcel is damage?
In case something went wrong with your order, please contact us through our contact from. If possible, please provide us your order number. We will do everything we can to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
If you want to import goods from China to South Korea and have other questions, please send us a message using the template below – or email us directly at email@example.com. It will be our pleasure to support you as you navigate shipments step by step.
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The Best Freight Forwarder in China