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How to make money with international shipping

Updated on October 3, 2013

Many people are making easy money from international shipping which is not as expensive and as difficult as you imagine. It is something an invidual can easily handle as a passive income. There are many Asian countries in demand for typical western decorated ornaments or traditional kitchenware/crockery and pottery. Even some of the unwanted items that may be lying around in your kitchen can fetch a desent value in many asian countries. Japan and Korea for example sell imported chocolate bars for 3,4x the price of the UK/USA. Japan does have it's own range of chocolate/sweets which are a much better quality but a lot of people will pay more for something different/new/international.

Wooden handcrafted items that are almost worthless in the west, maybe sitting in some rich persons home in Japan. I have found quite of few sources in Japan and Korea they will buy woodcraft from you in cash. It doesn't make a killing but an easy passive income is nothing to complain about.

How to ship abroad

  • First of all you'll need to find a buyer. You can very easily show a sample of your items to guys on the street market during your stay in Asia on a temp Visa. If they are interested exchange details and become aquainted.
  • Customs clearance can be tricky. The best thing to do is to approach an international moving company and ask them who their customs broker is. Speak to the broker directly for the exporting procedures. It maybe a good idea to consult with a freight forwarder who will take your items from customs and place them onto the next appropriate vessel for you.
  • You will also need to contact the same moving company in the destination country to find out what the regulations are in terms of importing.
  • Also in the destination country you will want to look find a good customs broker to received the goods. Ask around moving companies
  • Finally source for a cheap trucking company that can collect the shipment from the port for you and your're done.

Types of Shipping

  • FCL is a full container load - the cost is same no matter how much the container is. The is beneficial if you have around 10 cubic meters or more. There are 3 type of container, 20ft (33 cbm), 40ft (66 cbm) and 40ft High Cube (75 cbm)
  • LCL is Less than container load - the items are spilt into lift vans (wooden crates around 3-4 cbm). They are then place into containers mixed with other peoples items. The cost of shipping is per cubic meter and is usually used for shipping less then 10 cbm.
  • AIR is the fastest but most expensive most people send 1-3cbm for of items only.

Shipping weights

For containers, even though the items are not weighed. A weight is always noted on the shipping documents. The is volumetric weight. This is calculated by using a common density factor multiplied by the volume and costs are usually based on this weight.

E.g. 20 cubic metres x 35.3147 = 706 cubic feet x 6.5 (density factor) gives 4,590lbs. Most company will invoice you per 100lbs.


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