shipping from China to Nigeria

Step-by-Step Guide: Shipping from China to Nigeria

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Obikoya Jeremiah

Last updated: 26th June, 2024

China is the top manufacturing country in the world due to the abundance of lower-wage workers, making it cost-effective to purchase products directly from China.

But how do we get these goods down to Nigeria after purchasing them?

This article answers this question by providing a step-by-step guide to shipping your goods or cargo from China to Nigeria in a budget-friendly process (you don’t need to travel to China unless you want to).

Step-by-Step Guide to Shipping Goods from China  To Nigeria.

Step 1: Find a Reliable Supplier in China:

To ship goods from China, you need to get a supplier or manufacturer from whom you can purchase the goods. You have to source the product in China’s market, evaluate all the available suppliers/manufacturers and negotiate to find the best fit for your product needs.

Once you find a supplier you want to work with, you also need to inspect their product and ensure the best product quality, but you don't need to travel to China to do this.

Contact us here in Nigeria and we will send our team in China to perform the quality assurance for you.

Don’t know how to find a supplier in China? Check out our guide on product sourcing and let us know if you need any help.

You might also want to check out our strategies for purchasing high-quality products at a lower cost.

Step 2: Choose the Right Shipping Method:

Now that you have someone to supply the goods for you, you need to choose a suitable shipping method. This mostly depends on the product you are shipping, the time at your disposal and your budget.

There are only 2 shipping methods that you can use to transport your product from China to Nigeria.

1. Air Freight:

Air freight is the fastest shipping method. Our clients using this shipping method usually get their product within a week of placing the order. For this reason, air freight is the most expensive method.

We only advise our client to use this method when the product is urgently needed, time-sensitive, small in volume or high-valued. Only then is the freight forwarding worth the investment.

2. Sea Freight:

Sea Freight as an alternative to Air Freight is used most of the time when the goods transported are too heavy to be carried by an aircraft or in cases when you want to save cost as this method is less expensive than air freight.

With sea freight, the expected delivery time is 90 days.

There are two different options for sea freight:

A. Full Container Load (FCL):
In sea freight, goods are usually packed and arranged in containers, which are then placed on the vessel for shipment.

In cases where the quantity of goods you are shipping fills up a standard 20ft or 40ft shipping container, then the FCL option is used.

You pay for the whole container and we help you ship it to Nigeria.

B. Less than Container Load (LCL): 
The Less than Container Load (LCL) option is available to those whose goods cannot fill up a standard shipping container.

In the LCL options, you share the space in the shipping containers with other people shipping from China to Nigeria at the same time as you.

With this, you only have to pay for the space your goods occupy in the shipping container while the others pay the rest.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Shipping Method.

Use Air freight:
Use Sea freight:
1.Shipment Volume and Weight
Ideal for small, lightweight, or high-value goods.
Suitable for large, heavy, and bulky shipments.
2.Transit Time
Typically faster, suitable for urgent shipments.
Slower, and better for non-time-sensitive cargo.
Generally more expensive per unit weight or volume.
More cost-effective for large, heavy, or bulky shipments.
4.Nature of Goods
Better for perishable, fragile, or high-value items.
Suitable for durable and less perishable goods.
5.Urgency and Delivery Deadlines
Preferred for time-sensitive shipments requiring quick delivery.
Suitable for shipments with flexible delivery timelines.

Step 3: Documentation

After choosing a shipping method for your goods, you must prepare the necessary documents required for the shipping process.

These documents will vary depending on the type of goods you are shipping and the shipping method you chose in the previous step.

The common documents you will need are:
  • Packing list.
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Shipper’s letter of instruction.
  • Certificate of origin.
  • Bill of Lading.
  • Dangerous Goods Declaration Forms and so on.
We have a guide on shipping documents that explains the documents for air and sea freight and the information you need to put in each of them. 

Our experienced team can help you create these documents to avoid customs issues.

Step 4: Understand Shipping Costs:

You have your supplier and the necessary shipping documents; How much will it cost to complete the whole shipping process?

Generally, shipping costs are calculated using the weight and size of your goods. For air freight, it is calculated per kilogram (KG) and for sea freight, it is calculated per cubic meter (CBM).

Breakdown Of Air Freight Shipping Costs:

Goods Type
Shipping Cost per KG
Non-battery Iaden goods
$8 - $9
10 days
Battery Iaden goods
$8 - $9
10-15 days
Phones, power banks, Liquid, magnetic and cosmetic goods
$18 - $19
10-15 days

Breakdown Of Sea Freight Shipping Costs:

Goods Type
Shipping Cost per CBM
Non-battery Iaden goods
$300 - $320
90 days
Battery Iaden goods
$570 - $590
90 days
Sensitive goods (Liquids)
 $350 - $370
90 days

Note: These shipping costs change from time to time. Contact us to get the current shipping cost specifically for your goods.

Other potential expenses include:
  • Customs duties and taxes.
  • Customs clearance fees.
  • Port and terminal charges.
  • Insurance.
  • Warehouse storage fee.
  • Packaging costs.
  • Other logistics.

Step 5: Compliance Review:

Before initiating the shipping transit, there is one more step we recommend you take: Compliance Review.

The main purpose of this step is to ensure that you adhere to every regulation guiding the shipping of goods from China to Nigeria.

You have to ensure that all the required documents are ready for the customs clearance process especially if you are shipping sensitive/dangerous goods and most importantly ensure that the goods you are about to ship are not prohibited for import/export under the law.

After a successful review, you can begin to ship your cargo to Nigeria, but there is still one more step to take.

Step 6: Managing Logistics And Other Processes:

Looking at these steps above, it is clear that there is more to shipping than just transporting your goods with a vehicle from China to Nigeria.

You have to manage product sourcing, shipping document creation, shipping tracking, customs clearance, warehousing, and other port-to-door logistics.

For the best shipping performance for your supply chain, we advise that you work with a freight forwarder who is experienced in shipping goods from China to Nigeria efficiently in a more cost-effective way.

A freight forwarder manages the whole shipping process from start to finish and delivers the goods to you here in Nigeria.

Check out our guide on how to choose a good freight forwarder today.

How Long Does It Take To Ship From China To Nigeria?

This depends on the shipping method you choose as explained in the steps above.

For Air Freight the expected time of arrival in Nigeria is 7-10 days.

For Sea Freight the expected time of arrival in Nigeria is 90  days.

Ship Your Goods With SARA.

Looking for the best help to ship your goods from China to Nigeria?

For 20+ years, we have helped over a thousand businesses to ship goods from China through our subsidiary brand, ChinatoLagos, having a large network of suppliers and carriers in China.

Contact us today, let's discuss your shipping needs and ship it to you.

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Obikoya Jeremiah

Jeremiah Obikoya is a dedicated content writer at SARA, where he engages in daily research and development to craft innovative solutions for the procurement challenges you encounter.


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