It’s Spring, which means it’s time for the fun to start!

Spring is tied to many things – such as warmth, new life, and something to look forward to (summer). We’re in the second quarter, which means commerce is picking up just about everywhere, so this is also the time of year when shipments really start getting interesting.

I have a regular client who comes to me once a year – it’s a trading company that’s headquartered on the East coast. We deal with shipments from them where we export from the East, West, & Gulf Coasts to different Middle East & Mediterranean destinations for heavy construction equipment such as backhoes, excavators, and the like.

This year’s adventure did not fail to provide an interesting narrative. He wanted to know how to import from China to the US to Turkey.

The score:

This time they imported this heavy equipment from China into Long Beach – customs cleared – and delivered to our local warehouse for storage & inspection before the re-export to Mersin, Turkey.

So, we’re not just importing. We’re importing and re-exporting after a scheduled stop in the United States.

They mostly buy used equipment, which they steam clean for export, and have us, their international freight forwarder, handle the shipping.


Terms of Purchase from Chinese manufacturer:

FOB (free on board) Shanghai purchase of a large, new earth / soil compactor (What’s FOB shipping?)


NOTE: This soil compactor is over-sized & overweight for transport over the USA roads, which will come into play when we choose the RORO (roll-on, roll-off) service.

Pricing the import:

We tapped into our China freight network and contacted two of our larger freight agents, which gave competitive FOB bids to Long Beach. separate large freight agents to collect the FOB Shanghai information all the way to the shipping up to Long Beach. 

The discoveries:

We ascertain the pricing for the bulk / RO-RO service & discover that shipping using 1×40’ flat rack (special equipment) would lower the import shipping cost significantly, along with shortening the transit time by adding higher sailing frequency; a win / win situation for the customer.


The flat Rack option

A flat rack is a container 20’ or 40’ without the walls or the ceiling. You must stay within the length required, but, you can exceed the height and the width. It is important to note, all out of the flat racks and open-top containers must be returned on a special trailer/chassis and must be flipped upon return, which  may add another charge.

The RO-RO option

This is where we simply roll the vehicle on then off at the destination, and it is also commonly called “bulk service.” Only certain ships handle RO-RO, so going this route limits carriers, passages, and available boats.


The shipping leaves weekly from Shanghai & the estimated transit time was 24 days or so. The service surpasses the RO-RO / Bulk with lower rates & faster transit time for this particular commodity.


Other pricing considerations: 

The USA Import charges

We figured that since the customer wishes to re-export after several weeks, to clear the shipment on a temporary basis. This helped us save them money from having to pay duties.


Import bond

Import bonds are required by the USA customs & as a precaution to prevent the importer from defaulting paying their duties. Once the cargo (shipment) has cleared, the heavy lifting begins.


IMPORT Dray/Trans-load

Okay, so here’s what we’re dealing with

~ Unit soil compactor on 1×40’ flat rack

~ 26.7’ x 12.5’ x 12.5’ (LWH-ft.) – 61,729 lbs.

~ Oversize/Overweight Dray, use of double-drop trailer* (special trailer)

~ Fuel Surcharge

~ Permits (over-sized cargo requiring a permit over the road)

~ Trans-load (at the warehouse, unloading the soil compactor for storage)

~ Green Truck Fee (Long Beach port requires green truck fee)

~ Pier Pass Charges (Terminal Fee)

~ All out of gauge flat racks and open-top containers must be flipped to a special trailer/chassis



Everything from above PLUS

~ Terminal Chassis Charges (empty out/return)

~ Drayage charges

~ Customs

~ Ocean freight of soil compactor 



This was a complicated shipment with many additional twists and turns due to the nature of their cargo and the additional stop and layover in Long Beach they required.

It was unlike any of their other shipments, so they were smart, and relied on a well-networked freight forwarder to handle the heavy lifting. If you’re interested a quote for YOUR upcoming shipment, just ask ETC International Freight System!

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