I started to register my 1st Facebook account in June.2021. I was excited in the beginning as I have got a lot of friends worldwide of different skin, some were old friends /customers through multiple emails communications in the previous years already, some were new and always friendly for me. I have been dedicated to the logistics freight forwarding industry since 2006 until 2016 I started my own eCommerce freight forwarding company in Shanghai, I was one of the luckiest to see how fast and big e-commerce has been growing.
Recently, I felt lucky to be approved to join the group of the "Helium 10 members" finally, it gave me enough chance to read, understand and study how our client's requirements and what are they suffering. Apparently, "China forwarder and logistics cost" are one of the hottest topics among us in the recent period, unfortunately, most of which are "complaint" "suspicious "and" inconceivable".
As a local Chinese and an experienced owner of "FBA forwarder", I am frustrated, because I see teams are working professionally, hard, and honestly .but why have never been appreciated by clients still?
I am thinking of the reasons as below:
Big shortage of international logistics talents in the market since 2020.
China's exports rose sharply in March while imports growth surged to the highest in four years in yet another boost to the nation's economic recovery, signaling improving global demand amid progress in worldwide COVID-19 vaccination. accompany with the trading export boost, freight forwarders in China, especially the operators are busiest since they ever they have been worked in this industry. We've seen limited trailer facilities in China, a late response from the shipping line contact window, overtime work of our customer service and operators even by midnight 02:00 ( almost 3 days a week ). This is a disaster for some young people who were born after 1995, someones even quit because of the huge workload. Because you can't imagine that after a whole week's hard work, you need to still pick up some goods from a factory because there is"a valuable space" just been released by the shipping line, do you have a reason to reject it? Big demands of freight from China are growing faster than talents grow, people are tired of have less spirit to explain any more patient especially we need to always "smile" to the shipping line and seeking for space already…
Generally low education background in FBA forwarder
Compared to the traditional logistics industry, let's say Kuehne-Nagel was founded in 1890, Schenker was founded in 1872. Ecommerce shipping has started the industry only in 2014-2017. They see a very good prospect for this industry, customers sent thousands of packages to the warehouse even without asking for a quote. Therefore, many new and new guys joined it, most of them once was doing a business by rent a small room handling DHL/FEDEX/UPS packages, buying 30% discount but selling 50% discount to clients. They don't understand what are logistics process, incoterms, seller/buyers responsibility, the spirit of contract and long-terms relationship etc. How did they serve westerns once cooperated with Kuehne-Nagel or Schenker before? Different sense.
Culture's difference between Chinese and Westerns:
Chinese prefer to send advice directly because they thought it is the best option ( because they have already filtered the un-qualified options )—Like "It is economic for 58CBM send by 40HQ, pls accept rates USD12000"
Westerns are not trusting it until they are offered 1-3 options –like "The 1st option, f we send by FCL, the rats are USD 12000, transit time 25 days; the 2nd option, if we send by LCL, the rates are USD 240 X 58cbm=USD 13920 transit time 28-30 days; the 3rd option if we send by railways, the rates are USD1.8/kg X 11000KGS = USD 19800, transit time 20 days, which options will you prefer to choose?"
What's more and important are changeable regulations and rates in FBA /E-Commerce delivery
Sharply increased cost by shipping line without prior notice, because space is chased in line by 10 forwarders, you don't have 1 minute to consider, but just confirm whatever increased NOW
Amazon's new limited delivery notice was announced after vessel/flight departs, causing a huge backlog of cargo in forwarder's warehouse in hurry, less manpower in LA warehouses.
Very slow working efficiency in USA/EU main port yard, cause very difficult to pick up containers even booked many days ago, forwarder needs to prepare any time that loss for demurrage and detentions thousands of dollars.
So, who are we?
However !! I am 100% sure that most Chinese forwarders are friendly and trustable, they never have any intention to cheat anything, because of the culture, poor English, or not trained well logistics knowledge that is causing some misunderstanding. but we are kind, simple, and hardworking.