One of the first things a company needs to figure out when importing products from Asia is the entry port. Successful logisticians know how to choose the best port of entry. Your job as a logistics professional isn’t done until your goods make it to your customer’s door. But, the tricky part is figuring out the best way to do it. This is especially true when it comes to navigating complex ocean freight shipments. Let’s discuss how to choose the best port of entry when importing products from Asia.

With so many potential transportation partners involved – from pier drayage, to warehouses, to ocean carriers – there’s a lot to manage. These decisions are critical and all impact the efficiency and speed of your delivery operations.

An underappreciated, yet important, choice is often the best port of entry in the U.S. To choose the right port and effectively streamline your domestic distribution processes, you’ll need to consider a range of important factors.

What to consider when choosing the best port of entry

     1. Customer and consignee proximity

Firstly, you need to determine where your market is in relation to a port. With the introduction of services such as Amazon’s same-day deliveries, the expectations of today’s consumers are only rising. Therefore, many argue that the closer the port is to your customers, the better. This strategy keeps your customers happy by increasing the speed of your deliveries. Additionally, it also helps you avoid additional inland distribution costs.

     2. Transit time

Depending on where your market is, you’ve got a couple of options to choose from regarding port location: East Coast, Gulf Coast, West Coast, or a combination of the three. While each of these locations has its own advantages, each also has some drawbacks. For instance, if you go the East Coast route through the Panama Canal, you could be adding weeks to your transits. It generally takes more time to ship from Asia to somewhere on the East Coast like New York in comparison to somewhere on the West Coast like Los Angeles.

     3. Freight rates

Another key factor to consider is the price difference in over-the-road (OTR) freight rates between the areas surrounding a port of entry. While importing to the West Coast may involve shorter transits, the transportation costs to move goods back east will definitely increase. This is where you’ll need to think about what you’re shipping. High-value commodities with shorter shelf-lives typically can’t afford a lengthier transit to the East Coast. It takes them out of the picture for too long during their prime selling season. In this case, your best bet is most likely the Ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach. However, for lower-value goods, it could be worthwhile to risk the longer transit and save on freight rates.

     4. Inventory and warehousing costs

Even though selecting a West Coast port can involve inflated trucking rates, getting products to market quicker leads to increased inventory turnover. This decreases your carrying costs over time. Also, just like with your customer base, you’ll need to map out how close a port is to your warehousing facilities. Balancing proximity, cost, and time is ultimately always the priority in this industry.

To learn more about optimizing your importing and distribution processes, visit O’Neill Logistics. We can assist you with figuring out how to choose the best port of entry.

About O’Neill Logistics

O’Neill Logistics is a leading 3PL with operations in Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Savannah, GA; and Newark/Monroe, NJ. We service many verticals including Garments, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, Furniture, Home Goods, & Electronics. Our services include omni-channel distribution and all value-added services. We focus on retail “drop shipment” fulfillment and item-level fulfillment services with same-day service offerings.

O’Neill Logistics has over 2 million square feet which are all state-of-the-art facilities. We offer dray services to support the warehouses and handle distribution to retailers and wholesalers.

As logisticians, strategic suppliers, supply chain engineers and trusted friends, we’re a lot of things to a lot of people. Our main drive is to simplify your supply chain by delivering exceptional service and optimizing your operational performance. We aim to build, protect and foster strong business partnerships.

O’Neill’s reliable 3PL platform, combining sophisticated technology with robust, flexible processing designs and speed-to-market gateway models, was built by our management team of seasoned executives with backgrounds in transportation, distribution and technology across domestic and international supply chains.