Importing from Bali by air can be shockingly expensive.
I still find that with many of our customers, air freight does play a part in their buying cycle but it only comes into play when you understand and take into account the volumetric or dimensional weight factor.
A standard shipping carton (the kind we usually use for packing small products for sea and air cargo) measures 50 x 58 x 33 cm. The volume of this box is one-tenth (0.1) of a cubic metre.
Now, shipping by sea, the carriers are charging you per cubic metre without any regard for the weight or invoice value of these boxes so it doesn't matter if you fill them with wooden doorstops, lamps, silver jewellery or sarongs, your shipping charge will be the same.
Shipping by air is a different story. The airlines and courier companies work with dimensional weight. If we take the same shipping carton, for example, measuring 50 x 58 x 33 cm, the air companies will calculate that box as being 15 kilos to 20 kilos depending on the company.
If you take a look at DHL's UK website, they run the calculation as length x width x height (cm) / 5000 - this gives you the conversion of size or volume in cm into weight kg - in this case, our standard box will be charged by DHL as if it weighs 19 kilos even if it's empty. If you fill that box up with silver jewellery, it might weigh as much as 50 or 60 kilos (with an invoice value of 1,000.00 or more) and then you'll be charged the full weight of 60 kilos.
Long story short, large bulky but relatively cheap wooden items are crazy expensive to ship by air. A lamp might weigh 3 kilos, cost 20.00 but take up a full shipping carton and thus be billed as 20 kilos air freight.
Sarongs, ikat fabrics, woven scarves, wooden and silver jewellery on the other hand, pack small and, in the end, if you fill a standard shipping carton, the contents weigh more than the minimum 20 kilos and the amount of products you'll fit into that standard shipping carton mean that for every 1.00 you spend on product, you'll spend 0.50 or less on cargo. For silver jewellery, the cargo cost could be less than 0.20 for every 1.00 of product. Not amazing but, generally speaking, good enough given that the items turn over pretty quickly.
Hopefully, you're not cross-eyed with boredom after reading that and maybe it will come in useful for you down the line.
For more information on shipping from Bali and a more detailed breakdown of your options, you can visit:
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