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Old April 29, 2017, 05:11 AM
Dien Rice Dien Rice is offline
Onwards and upwards!
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,478
Default The opportunities and hazards of importing and exporting...

Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post
But you? Have at it. I suggest Dien Rice might be a good contact to start with, he has the connections, and may be willing to offer some consulting if you waved enough Benjamins under his nose.

MY best advice, do due diligence, and get a handle on what the business is all about before you dive in because some guy on the Internet claims he got rich and is going to show you how to do it too.
There are big bucks to be made in import/export... But potentially big risks too, as the expenses can be high! Especially if you're the one paying for shipping, customs duty, etc.

However, Alibaba has really changed the game. If you're an exporter, you can find a buyer on Alibaba before you even put the goods in a container. You can sell it F.O.B. your nearest shipping container terminal (port) - that means that the buyer will pay for the shipping, and also for customs on their end.

There's a lot of paperwork to be done when it comes to shipping. We've used a freight forwarder to do the paperwork for us.

Gordon had experience with importing, whereas my experience has been with both exporting and importing (as we've dealt with both ends, where we exported the goods, and then sold them in our own store in the destination country).

If you're importing, don't forget that you'll have to pay customs duty. I heard a story of a guy who shipped a container to an African port... He was new to the game, and he had forgotten to account for customs duty! He couldn't pay it... Every day your container sits in the port (because you can't get it out, for example, because you haven't paid customs duty), they charge you more money. In the end, as he got further and further into the red, he was less and less able to pay it. Eventually, the government seized his container, and sold its contents, since he couldn't pay his bills!

Finally, if you are exporting to various parts of the world, you need a trustworthy local partner who has experience in this. If you don't, in many places, you'll lose your shirt. (Corruption at the ports is very common in many countries... However, experienced locals know how to deal with it.)

Oh, one last point... If you are doing your own shipping, you'll also want to get shipping insurance. Containers have been known to slide off the ship (and sink to the bottom of the ocean) in very stormy weather!

Best wishes,

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