Sea Shipping – Shipping from China to Nigeria using Sea Shipping

Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Chuks Amobi

Someone may ask these questions with regards to sea shipping from China to Nigeria


  • Is Sea shipping the way forward now?
  • What does CBM mean and how can I calculate my shipping fee?
Firstly, let me correct an impression over shipping terms.
There are basically four shipping options for shipping from China to Nigeria.
  1. Sea shipping (Sea cargo)
  2. Air cargo (a. Normal Air Cargo & b. Hongkong Air cargo or what’s also known as sensitive shipping).
  3. Sea + Air shipping.
  4. Express shipping (Passenger’s air bill).
So, I believe that everything is clear to you now? Yes!
In this case, we are to highlight the following.
  1. What is Sea Shipping?
  2. What roles Sea shipping play?
  3. The benefits vs limitations.
  4. Comparison with other shipping options
  5. How to calculate your shipping costs
Then someone would be happy ?.

1. What is Sea Shipping from China to Nigeria?

We will be using China to Nigeria in this post as our point of reference. Sea shipping is not limited to Nigeria alone, you can use sea shipping to any country of your choice – Ghana, Kenya, Zambia etc.
Now, back to our topic.
Sea shipping involves transporting goods from one country to the another, one region to the another through water.
Water could be sea, ocean, lake as long as transportation through that medium is involved.
Just the same way goods are shipped with a cargo plane through the air or the space, that same way goods are shipped with a ship through the sea, ocean or lake.
That’s the concept of sea shipping – shipping done on sea.
Air shipping – shipping done on air.
You get the point now? Else….?.
What roles do sea shipping play in Importation?
Please allow me to digress a little bit now.
In air shipping, goods are arranged and shipped as groupage. Groupage is also available in sea shipping.

What’s groupage?


Probably group + page right? ?
Groupage simply means combining more smaller items together to form a single shipment.
Have you heard about consolidation? No? or Yes?
The No has it ?.

What is consolidation in shipping?


Consolidation means bringing smaller items together and packing them together before shipping.
This is very significant when buying smaller quantities from different sellers.
Let’s 1pc from seller A, 2qty from seller B, 5pcs from seller C.
So, instead of shipping each items separately, you have to wait and receive them all, pack them together in a single carton let’s say carton A.
This way, the 8pcs of what you bought are now packed in one carton called carton A.
That’s still in the similitude of groupage. The only difference between groupage and consolidation is
Groupage – Different smaller goods from different customers are packed and shipped together. It is like four girls sharing a self con in Lekki.
Consolidation – different smaller goods you purchased from different sellers are packed together before they’re being taken to the airport for shipping. It is like four sisters sharing a self con in Lekki.
You gerrit? Else…?
Where are we? Omg!

2. What roles do sea shipping play in Importation?


Just like I have explained, you can deduce from my illustration that sea Shipping is efficient when shipping bigger items.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ship with sea using smaller goods but the need is visibly significant when you ship a large quantity of goods.
If you decide to ship a 2kg item using sea, you may end up paying 5000naira. But you have to wait for about 45-60 days.
That’s 2 months.
A 2kg air shipping could be around 12,000 but you get it within 7 days.
The difference in cost is 12000-5000= 7000naira.
That’s you have to wait for a 2 months or even more just to save 7000naira.
Afterall, the country is hard?.
But come to think of it, the business implication is not too wise.
One can ship up to 8 times using air cargo within the 60 days of saving for 7000naira.
But in case where your goods weigh 5kg below, it is safe to wait only when it is for personal use or agreeable with your customers.
If you need to sell off and flip it over then air cargo is a good choice. Better still, buy local dealers.
But if your goods are 10kg upwards, and considering the market value of the goods, then you may consider sea shipping.
Phone cases do not really weight much – 40-80grams. If you’re to buy 100 pieces of it.
That’s 4kg – 8kg right.
Cost price might be 500-800naira depending.
Selling price in Nigeria is about 1200-1500 depending. It’s relative to the designs and phone models.
When you subtract 500 from 1200, you would get 700naira.
This is between your gain and the shipping cost.

3. The benefits vs limitations


If you’re to use Air shipping, it would cost around 27,112 – 54224 to clear this 4kg – 8kg phone cases.
To get the actual shipping cost for each case, you get 27naira – 54naira.
500+27= 527
500+54= 554
800+27 = 827
800+54= 854.

4. Comparison with other shipping options


If you bought it for 500 and you’re to sell this case for 1200, your profit will be 1200-527 = 673naira.
If you bought it 800 and to sell for 1500, you would get 1500-800= 700.
Using 7 days shipping.
What if you used sea shipping?

5. How do I calculate sea shipping rates?

It is true that shipping using sea is not charged by weight. It is called CBM – cubic meter.
  • What does CBM really mean btw?
  • Cube + meter
  • Cube is a solid shape
  • Meter is a unit of measurement
Cubic meter signifies measurements by volume.
It is safe to say that sea shipping is measured by the volume of all your goods within the confinement of a cube.
To calculate the cost of shipping using sea cargo, we consider the volume of a cube.
Volume = length of all the sides
Volume= (length * width * height of your goods )m3.
Volume = L * W * H
Another interesting question is how do I know all these parameters – length, width height?
This is important especially when you’re buying from Chinese stores – 1688, Alibaba, Taobao etc.
Sadly, you are not going to know beforehand ?
Buying from 1688 and Alibaba or from different supplier means that the items would be measured differently.
If you’re buying few pieces among suppliers, you will only have the idea about the weight especially when your goods are sent via bubble wraps, epacket bag or even letter.
Dimensions are measured on cartons. Carton is a cubic object- it has the form of a cube.
So, it is very easy to get the cubic meter.
CBM = L * W* H
But if you’re buying from one supplier, you have the full expression for your goods to be measured and sent to you.
In the case where you’re buying from more than 10 suppliers, 20 suppliers; the only chance you have is through consolidation.
Just like we explained earlier, it is bringing unit parcels into one carton or more cartons.
In that way, you will get the shipping cost.
But there’s an estimated cbm value for items in kilograms.
1CBM = 167KG.
You can use this as a reference when calculating your shipping costs.
Here’s the full reference:
  1. 1 kg = 0.001 CBM.
  2.  10 kg = 0.01 CBM.
  3.  50 kg = 0.05 CBM.
  4. 100 kg = 0.1 CBM.
  5.  200 kg = 0.2 CBM.
  6.  500 kg = 0.5 CBM.
  7. 1000 kg = 1 CBM.
Here’s another sea shipping hack.
If you’re to spend 200k using air cargo, there’s a great chance that you’re going to pay twice less in sea shipping.
Here’s what I mean.
Air cargo – 100KG = 669,200
Sea shipping 100KG = 334,600
I believe you found this a worthy read.
Thank you!

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