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Supply Chain

Your deadlines and quality standards are important. Our vendor management and supply chain assistance ensure production and shipments are processed on-time and up to standard. GPSOURCES can help reduce your number of suppliers and lower overall handling costs. We also offer warehouse services and inventory management for growing businesses.


There are three primary methods of shipping your freight: ocean freight, air freight, and small package.  Each option has unique advantages and disadvantages, so we’ll break them down here to understand them better. 

Ocean Freight

You may already be familiar with ocean freight, it’s the standard ocean shipping method that’s most frequently used. In this method, your goods get packed into shipping containers (massive steel storage boxes seen across every shipping yard), before loading the containers onto sea vessels that carry them across the ocean.

Containers are available in multiple sizes that help determine the type of shipment you’ll need: 20 foot, 40 foot standard, or 40 foot “high cube” containers are our primarily used sizes. If your volume is large enough to fill a container, you would ship using an FCL (or Full Container Load). If your goods are only a few CBMs (Cubic Meters), you would ship using an LCL (or Less than Container Load) shipment.


LCL shipments tend to be more expensive on a per CBM basis, and often take 10 to 14 days longer than FCL shipments. Since, in LCL, you would share a container with other importers, the goods would need to be consolidated at the original port then deconsolidated at the destination port. The packing and organization process requires a separate third party, called a groupage company, to complete.


Your forwarder or sourcing company normally manages most of the paperwork required to clear your goods through customs. They’ll also pay the haulage fees necessary to deliver the items to your door or warehouse.


For most importers, shipping by sea is preferred. Since Sea Freight is the least expensive shipping method, it’s the best way to generate strong ROI. But, it’s important to note that the process requires patience. Depending on the origin and destination ports, you should expect 30 – 45 days between departure and arrival times.

Small Package - Expedited

The fastest and least complicated shipping method, although more expensive than ocean freight, is small package – expedited . Shipping by small package is a service we’re all familiar with, we use it on a day-to-day basis to send packages overseas. When you ship with UPS, you utilize this shipping method. Other familiar companies shipping by air include DHL, UPS, and FedEx.


Small package is a “door-to-door” service: you simply book the shipment, sit back, and wait for it to arrive. The carrier handles all paperwork, and will invoice you for any “customs duties.” If duties apply, the cost will vary depending on your country and the type of goods you are importing.


Small package is a fast, convenient option most suitable for either high-value/low-volume products, or goods needed urgently. Anytime you need goods delivered by air, and the total weight of your shipment is below 400 kilograms, you should opt for the small package shipping method.

Air Freight

If you’ve got a ton (literally) of goods that need to be delivered fast, you may be interested in sending it via Air Freight.


Essentially, this method is commercial air shipping. It is vastly more expensive than Sea Freight, but offers a more timely turnaround. Air Freight is an airport-to-airport service and does not handle deliveries, so you’ll need to pay separate haulage fees to arrange delivery from the airport to your doorstep. Unlike small package shipping, there are no companies involved like UPS, FedEx, or DHL to take care of customs for you. You’ll need to arrange a customs broker to clear the goods through customs, and should expect a small handful of additional charges in your total. A good forwarder can provide you with an all-in-one quote.  Don’t worry!  GPSOURCES has got you covered and can accomplish all of this for you. 


We recommend this method only rarely — when your goods in China are extremely heavy (exceeding the maximum 400 kilograms recommended for small package), and when you need your goods on hand, fast. Otherwise, if your goods fall below 400 kilograms, sending by small package is the better option.

What’s the Difference Between LCL and FCL?

LCL and FCL are acronyms that refer to whether your goods occupy an entire shipping container. LCL stands for Less than Container Load, and FCL for Full Container Load. Of the two, FCL is more time efficient and less costly for a number of reasons, but assumes your volume will require its own container.


GPSOURCES usually uses only three container sizes: 20 foot, 40 foot standard, or 40 foot “high cube” containers. A single 20 foot container holds up to 28 CBM of goods. In our experience, we’ve found that once your volume of goods reaches the 15-16 CBM mark, it makes more sense to opt for an FCL, even if your container is not entirely full. At 15-16 CMBs, the costs for LCL rise, making less economic sense. When you switch to FCL in this scenario, benefits like faster shipping and less opportunity for damage outweigh the menial price difference.

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