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    10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 28, 2007 10:04 PM by gymrat

    How to import/container shipping?

    MetroGal Adventurer
      Does anybody out in the forums have experience importing items from Asia? I'm thinking of starting a bubble tea shop and thought it would be good to also sell tea. It would be great to buy the tea directly from Asia, but not sure how easy it is to bring back huge bags of tea! Does anybody have experience with imports and getting a container to ship back items to the U.S.? How expensive is it, and what are the logistics?
        • Re: How to import/container shipping?
          teacup Wayfarer

          I did a google and found a website called "Teachat" - -maybe you want to check that out!
          • Re: How to import/container shipping?
            DomainDiva Ranger
            You will need to find a broker/shipper. Apex Logistics in the DFW area can handle clients from all over the world. They will arrange shipping, get it through customs and delivered to you. Call Mike or Cathy at 817.424.3836. This company is family owned, they handle all of our aircraft engine shipping as well as other large aircraft inventory items. They are the best broker/logistics company I have ever worked with.
            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: How to import/container shipping?
              Lighthouse24 Ranger
              As already posted, you really need a shipping partner/broker. (I'll second the Apex endorsement for anyone importing large machinery -- don't know about tea.) As you probably know (since you asked the question), tea is especially tricky to bring in, because it is considered one of THE prime targets for bioterrorists.

              How much tea are you talking about? It seems like you would have to be importing a LOT to make the lower cost worthwhile, plus it requires careful storage and has a limited shelf life even then. Perhaps buying the teas you want from an American importer/wholesaler of tea, at least to begin with (until the business is stable), would be an option to consider. Your costs could be identified exactly, and you'd have no delays or surprises. If your business volume showed that importing it yourself was the way to go, you could always do that later -- and you'd have a crystal clear idea of what and how much you needed.

              Good luck!
              • Re: How to import/container shipping?
                MetroGal Adventurer
                The forum feedback was extremely helpful. Good idea to test the waters first (e.g. buy from an American import/wholesaler) & then consider making my own purchases once I understand the logistics and operations more. Yes, I would definitely need to share a container as I wouldn't be able to buy so much tea. Thanks again!
                  • Re: How to import/container shipping?
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger
                    I went out with a lady a few years back whose daughter worked in a teahouse in CA -- I happened to catch them at home just now and she thinks that TeaGschwendner in Chicago was their supplier (so at least you have a place to start).
                    • Re: How to import/container shipping?
                      gymrat Adventurer
                      I have contacts in China that can help you source tea. Although tea prices in China are cheaper, it is more difficult to deal with the people there. So you'll need someone you trust and do your homework on the company you are dealing with. Alternatively, you can buy from Hong Kong or Taiwan. Prices are a tad bit higher but transactions are smoother. As many threads have suggested, buying from a tea distributor in the US may be best to start off. When your business takes off, you can buy direct. Although most shipping companies will ship LCL, I don't think you'll need it as tea comes in small packages. A 60cm x 60cm box of tea could last you a few months. Using Fedex should suffice. Or are you supplying a chain of stores and need huge inventory? Los Angeles has a large Asian population so I think you can find good tea wholesalers there. Is bubble tea still popular in the US? I know it's not as popular in Asia as it was a couple of years ago.
                    • Re: How to import/container shipping?
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      There is a little know Chinese Web site called "Alibaba.com" that has become a significant
                      gateway for global trade. The site connects businesses in China with potential customers.
                      Good luck, LUCKIEST
                      • Re: How to import/container shipping?
                        Lighthouse24 Ranger
                        Alibaba.com is the largest B2B marketplace in the world (sort of like ebay with 24 million business members participating). Though some business owners have been ripped off by fraudulent vendors using the site (it seems like Alibaba is in the news weekly, deflecting complaints from the U.S. government and World Trade Organization), there are many people who praise it highly and shop it regularly. So, yes, it's definitely a place worth looking into for buying items from suppliers in China. Good suggestion.