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How to Reduce Your Import Charges (One Simple Step!)

The message is loud and clear from the buyer (importer) to request all applicable destination charges from the China supplier upfront.

Time and time again we are approached by New Zealand importers who, admittedly, have not done all the ground work. They leave the freight forwarding up to the shipper as the rates quoted for shipping are virtually unbelievable and simply unobtainable from this end.

The problem is the shipper is neither concerned nor even aware of the implications about the reduced / cheap ocean freight rate. The issue lies predominantly with the origin freight forwarder. Accordingly, the freight often arrives in New Zealand through the services of an operator who agrees to accept and rebate a margin back to origin!

When are New Zealand forwarders going to grow a spine and decline to these agents the option of rebates?

We are constantly approached by Chinese agents and requested to handle cargo in this format and then asked ‘What can we remit back to them?’ or ‘You will remit back to us . . . etc’. Such practices are giving all freight forwarders a bad name and first-time importers become one-time importers because of excessive and underhand billing levels and the unpleasant taste left.

When the consolidator is approached by the clearing agent or client for a please explain, the old chestnut of ‘These rates have been set from origin’ is invariably the standard response. The trouble is, you refuse to settle the applicable import charges, and you are unable to obtain the release of the cargo.

Just this week we were advised by a de-consolidator of a $75.54 ($14.12 per cubic metre) ‘local fuel surcharge fee’ on a CFR shipment clearly rated, on the bill of lading to Wellington CFS. What this is for, or how it can be justified, is beyond us. How we are to convey and explain it to the final consignee is near on impossible.

We have paid this fee as we need to obtain the release of the cargo for our client, but in the background, a flurry of e-mails goes back and forth, and invariably the main point of the issue appears lost in translation. The upshot is the client ends up paying ‘bogus’ import charges that are un-warranted and unjustified.

Source: NZ Shipping Gazette

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