Companies start planning for the winter holidays in the second half of the year— import volumes rise sharply, as do ocean and air tariffs. Big, unpredictable prices, rolled freight, trucking delays, and other interruptions are notorious for peak season, as it is called.
The peak season of 2018 started early this year. (What importers should know about shipping during peak season Plan ahead Air: book 6-7 days in advance of the Cargo Ready Date (CRD) if you want to keep a close eye on ocean / air prices, check out our regular market alerts or subscribe here!).
Ocean FCL: Book ahead of the CRD 3-4 weeks.
LCL: Note that LCL shipments will have a transit time of 7-10 days longer than FCL shipments.
When necessary, stop shipping 45′ HC containers— they are more likely to be broken.
Extremely congested ports and warehouses— take more time to load / unload at the origin and destination.
Preparing for additional charges Tariffs would usually be up for both air and ocean exports.
Longer wait times for truckers, who will pay trucking waiting fees, means congested ports.
Many ports and rail ramps are facing shortages of chassis, which can lead to split charges for chassis.
Try choosing a service with a slightly longer transit time. It is more likely that the shortest transit-time services will be overbooked; if you choose a transit time that is longer by, say, a few days, your cargo is less likely to be rolled up to the next week.
Be flexible about the discharge port if your cargo travels inland. This is likely to result in a slightly longer transit time, but when selecting a sailing it will allow more choices.
Get ready for Golden Week (October 1-10) In order for ocean shipments to arrive in time for the winter holidays, they must be booked before Golden Week— especially if you are shipping to the East Coast.
If it’s your first time shipping with Prime Freight to Amazon, please read our Amazon guide.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday: If you are shipping to Amazon for Black Friday (November 23) or Cyber Monday (November 26), your delivery will arrive at Amazon before the deadline.
Winter holidays: a cutoff date for holiday delivery will also be announced by Amazon.
Be sure to plan and tag your FBA shipments before sailing Get your Customs ducks in a row Include HTS codes on the Commercial Invoice, especially for new goods you’ve never shipped before.
Ensure the quality of CI line items Assign a fair value to all FOC items on CIs (free of charge), even if they are not paid. No line items worth $0 will be approved by US Customs.