According to figures from the Hungarian Central Statistics Office (KSH), in 2020 Hungary's imports from China rose by more than a fifth in forint terms vs. 2019. In 2020, 6.1% of Hungarian imports came from China. That made China Hungary’s second largest trading partner after Germany, which had a 25.3% share of Hungarian imports. Most of the shipments from China to Hungary are transported by sea.
The Covid-19 lockdown associated market restrictions forced numerous Hungarian companies to develop new solutions and remodel their supply chains. Even those who were relying exclusively on rail or air transport began to use sea transportation. Sea transport is typically chosen by importers who care about high load capacities and optimized savings.
“The decisive factors for a sea transport scheme are timing and load size. Regarding timing, the AsstrA team recommends using sea freight for loads that are not expected to arrive earlier than 30 days from the moment of departure from the Chinese port. The goods should not spoil during this time, i.e. they should not be sensitive to the environment. The second issue is the size of the cargo. We consider both of these factors when deciding whether to recommend transporting the goods in a full container (FCL) or less than full (LCL) container,” comments Botond Kovács-Máté, AsstrA Hungary Branch & Country Manager.
Moreover, the transport of goods by sea enables the delivery of any type of cargo, both FCL and LCL, of practically any weight. While the waiting time for the delivery of products by this method is the longest, costs are far lower than by rail or air freight.
It is worth remembering that payment for FCL loads is expected for the full container regardless of whether it is used fully or not. For LCL loads, payment is made only for the actual weight or volume of goods being transported. Therefore the LCL option is more appropriate when sending smaller amounts of goods. In LCL shipments, goods for numerous recipients are consolidated into one container at a port warehouse.
The following types of specialized containers can be used for loads with specific requirements or parameters:
- reefer (RF) containers with cooling systems;
- open top (OT) containers without roofs that are covered with tarpaulins;
- flatrack (FT, FTR) containers with flat platforms for the transport of oversize, out-of-gauge (OOG) loads.
For sea shipments, the key document is a bill of lading which is printed by the line agent when the load departs the port of loading. An original bill of lading is usually printed in 3 copies. On the basis of this document, the owner is may collect the container when it arrives in Hungary. The bill of lading is accompanied by an invoice, a packing list, a certificate of origin, and any other required documents such as CE certificates, fumigation certifications, policies, etc.
“Sea freight from China to Hungary involves a list of documents that is definitely long but not endless. That’s why it is so important to work with an experienced logistics partner who takes care of completing all formalities and who can efficiently guide the Customer through all procedures,” concludes Botond Kovács-Máté.