How to avoid buying low quality goods from China when importing

Importing quality products from China so that you can sell them online through the various e-commerce platforms available can be profitable. However, your profit margins can be affected when you buy low quality goods from China. Although an e-commerce business is generally simple, it can be easy to over think it because of all the risky moving parts involved.

Starting an online business, much like any other business has its own sets of risk but if you do not know what you are doing, it is very easy to end up with knock-off goods worth thousands of dollars that may not offer any value to your customers at all. That being said, there are some things that you can do to avoid buying low-quality goods from China.

How do low-quality goods from China come about?

First things first, it is important to point out that China is one of the best manufacturing countries in the world. This means that thousands of companies and businesses from all parts of the globe rely on Chinese manufacturers for their high-quality products. Sadly, although some companies have built a reputation for themselves for producing goods that consumers can rely on, there is an equally successful section of manufacturers that produce low-quality goods from China by cost-cutting.

Such suppliers often employ cost-cutting measures when manufacturing goods with the hope that the buyers and their customers will not notice. The quality of the product usually starts off high, but it soon begins to dwindle in a process that is often referred to as quality fade in the manufacturing sector. The honest truth is that businesses and customers may or may not detect the changes so it is always important to put measures in place that can eliminate defective products entirely before any harm comes to any consumer.

In some cases, low-quality goods usually come about as a result of non-deliberate mistakes. For instance, a supplier may send out the wrong type of shoes to a buyer not because of self- sabotage but because of poor quality assurance processes. As always, this is why it advisable to only work with a reputable company that has years of experience to ensure that such mistakes do not occur.

Here is how to avoid importing low-quality goods from China

Know and understand the value of your products

You can assess the value of the products that you are buying by ensuring that you get at least three to four quotes that will help you settle on the right market price for your product. Chinese manufacturers are incredibly competitive and similar products are typically priced similarly or within a small price range of each other.  If you find more than a10% difference between the quotes that you receive from suppliers, then you should be aware of which supplier you can trust and which one you cannot.

For instance, if you are importing weaves from China and you get the following quotes:

1st quote: $35.00

2nd quote: $34.00

3rd quote: $ 13.00




There is likely something strange about the 3rd quote because it is incredibly low compared to the other two. This could mean that the weave has been constructed with cheaper materials which will result in an inferior product.

Send a purchase order

When sending your orders to your suppliers, ensure that you include an actual purchase order instead of just sending an email. Purchase orders are more professional and they are likely to make your business appear well put together, which will demand some level of respect and professionalism. In turn, this means that suppliers will take fewer liberties with the quality of your products.

Send a product specification document

Ensure that you include a product specification document along with your purchase order. A product specification document is simply a document that defines what the high quality product that you want should look like. This document will help you set a standard and you can use it as a quality assurance document for your Third Party Inspection when your goods arrive. If any issues occur with your order, the supplier cannot give you excuses as long as you have a product specification document. A product specification document can contain details such as:

  • Where you want the location and size of your company logo to be.
  • The color of the items.
  • Pictures of all hardware that needs to be attached.
  • The material types to be used, eg, synthetic, polyester etc

Try and include as many specifications as possible to ensure that you get the exact product that you are paying for/need.

Perform third party inspections

There are several companies that offer Third Party Inspection services that are affordable and reliable. Third Party Inspections allow you to verify that the products that you receive meet the criteria specified in your product specification document. Such inspections also ensure that your supplier never cuts corners.

Review your goods completely

Once you get that first shipment of products, make sure that you review them thoroughly. You should ideally point out any elements that you need changed on your next order so that you can include them in the product specification document. As you continue to receive feedback from your customers, you can adjust your needs as you build your business.

What if you receive low-quality goods from China?

Try as you may, it is crucial to understand that each shipment will always have its sets of complications. If you ever receive low-quality goods from China, common practice dictates that you should raise the issue with your supplier and ask for replacements on the next order. You can try and get a refund, but most suppliers won’t give you a refund unless you have worked with them for several years and have developed a trusting and dependable relationship with them.

Ever encountered low-quality goods from China? Did you take any steps to fix the issue? Please share your experiences and tips in the comment section below:












Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

How to have a successful career in freight and forwarding


So, you’re thinking about a career in freight and forwarding- congratulations! A career in freight and forwarding can be extremely rewarding because international trade is a tremendously huge and profitable industry. Don’t get us wrong here; a career in freight forwarding is not all peaches, unicorns, and rainbows.

Freight forwarding consists of a highly complex process that ensures that the movement of goods from point to point is seamless so that the cargo can get to the owner undamaged and on time. The essence of the entire freight forwarding process is to make certain that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the customer at the right time, place and in the expected condition. Sounds easy enough right?

Companies such as e-commerce stores and individual buyers are dependent on freight forwarding companies such as Sidoman especially if they are involved in multinational or international export or import. While a freight forwarder does not actually move the cargo itself, the freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the customer and the transportation services involved whether air, road or sea freight.

Why do companies need a freight forwarder?

Companies need freight forwarding companies to deal with their imports and exports because large shipping companies only deal with large shippers such as Amazon. Therefore, for small and medium business who for example specialize in selling clothes in the CBD to survive in business, they rely on freight forwarding companies to negotiate the importing and exporting of the shipping containers or the different modes of transportation that are used in the process. Freight forwarding companies also help individuals to get the best freight forwarding rates.

What positions/ job titles does a career in freight and forwarding promise?

There are many different possible positions that can be held by individuals in the freight and forwarding industry. Some of the positions and job vacancies in freight forwarding include:

  • Customs Broker.
  • Customs clerk.
  • Export officer or export coordinator.
  • Freight forwarding manager.
  • Documentations or freight operations clerk.
  • Freight Scheduler.
  • Import officer.
  • Logistics Manager.
  • Shipping agents.
  • Supply chain manager, and many more job titles within the industry.

The responsibilities of a freight forwarder include but are not limited to:

  • Arranging for the bills of lading and all associated shipping documentation on behalf of the client.
  • Issuing customers with approved House bill of Lading.
  • Arranging or forwarding the client’s cargo as per the needs and instructions of the client.
  • Storing cargo belonging to customers in a warehouse. All respectful and reliable freight forwarding companies like Sidoman offer warehousing services.
  • Booking and handling cargo.
  • Negotiating freight pricing on behalf of the client.
  • Experience in all freight transportation modes including air, sea, and road.

Complications often occur during the process of freight forwarding. As such, the freight forwarding services that you as the agent offer is a client’s line of defense when complications arise. A qualified freight forwarder has the capacity to help with a shipment that is a thousand miles away because they have the know-how and the experience needed to do so successfully.

In this light, a career in freight and  forwarding is no joke; you have to have the grit and the social skills to deal with challenging components in the supply chain.

How to have a successful career in Freight and Forwarding

The world is now a global village, and with the preponderance of the internet use and the rise of e-commerce stores, a career in freight forwarding has never seemed more lucrative. As technological access becomes more prevalent, the opportunities for freight forwarders will continue to increase principally for those people that have the right approach. Here is how to become a successful freight forwarder:

Keep up with technological changes

To become the best freight forwarder, it is important to embrace and keep up with technological changes as they occur. Technological advancements such as freight forwarding management software as well as customer relationship management software can help you to be more efficient and therefore more productive as a logistics expert.

Reach out

Networking has never been more important than it is in today’s contemporary job environment. Networking and connecting with peers in the freight forwarding industry allows you to expand your interests and career goals. The easiest way to expand your network is to build the relationships that you already have with your colleagues, then you can work on expanding your professional circle from these relationships.

Stay knowledgeable

Having the right information at your fingertips is not only your duty but it is your responsibility as an individual in the freight forwarding industry. Having the right know-how allows you to understand what is required of a freight forwarder so that you can provide the best service possible. A knowledgeable freight forwarder has the capacity to identify the needs of a customer and handle them adequately to the client’s satisfaction.

Call your clients regularly

The best freight forwarders call their clients on a regular basis so that a candid and constructive dialogue can occur between client and freight forwarder. Your role as a freight forwarder is to understand the needs of your customers including upcoming shipments, future projects and any problems that the client might anticipate in the future. Your job is to collaborate with your client so that your customer’s business can grow and so that you as the professional can consolidate your role as the only freight forwarder worth calling.

Go above and beyond for your client

As a freight forwarder, you should be willing to go above and beyond for your client and not just settle for a mediocre level of service. What sets a good freight forwarder from the best freight forwarder is the willingness to add value to the supply chain. This means going the extra mile to analyze the client’s shipping patterns and come up with a suggestion on the best way to handle future volumes. Alternatively, you can offer a helping hand in the face of challenges should your client need it. Your duty as a qualified freight forwarding agent is to anticipate the ever-changing needs of your client and provide solutions that align with their strategic goals.

So? Still interested in a career in freight forwarding? Share with us your doubts, challenges, and thoughts here.











Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

How to label your packages for export

The last phase of packing your product for export effectively is always labeling. Parcels can travel thousands of miles through modern and sophisticated global networks before they finally reach their destinations. To ensure that your packages are always delivered in time and in excellent conditions, it is important to label your packages for export shipments correctly. If you have never exported anything before, here are some labeling tips to help you out.

Label your boxes with all the necessary information

When exporting, some of the information that you will need to include on the label, which is important for making sure that your goods arrive undamaged and safely include:

  • The country of origin
  • The shipper’s mark
  • The weight and or volume of the package or items you are shipping. Your net and gross weight measurements should be included in metric measurements, which is the accepted standard worldwide.
  • Cautionary marks and instructions for handling such as GLASS to indicate fragility or THIS SIDE UP.Consignee details (the receiver of the items)
  • The seller’s name and order number
  • The number of the package or size of the case if you are exporting multiple boxes or crates. For instance, labeling ‘one of two’ and so on will guarantee that your shipment arrives together at the port of destination.

Make certain that the country of origin is labeled correctly- the country of origin may differ from the country of business if the products were actually manufactured in a different country. Check the regulations in your destination country to ascertain the rules (different export markets may require the country of origin to be marked in a specific way). Inappropriate details regarding the country of origin on the label may result in confiscation of goods by the customs authorities of the destination country so prudence should be exercised.

Do not add unnecessary information that does not serve a purpose

Unless your destination country requires you to specify the contents of the package or box, you should refrain from denoting the contents of the package on the label. Specifying the contents is often an invitation for thieves to steal your goods. If you must, use coded marks to identify the goods in accordance with your destination country.

Only use brand new boxes

Sidoman understands and sees the value in recycling. However, recycled boxes often contain old marks, which lead us back to the above point.  If you are planning on using old boxes, make certain that all old marks, addresses, labels, and advertising is removed or obscured permanently to limit the confusion that handlers or carriers may face.

The label must be clear and permanent

The labels that you use must be large and easy enough to read. Ensure that you have enough space to fit all the important information required. The labels that you select must also be waterproof and resistant to natural elements.

Label multiple sides

Consignee marks, which are the symbols placed n packages for identification purposes should be included on multiple sides. Consignee marks generally consist of triangles, diamonds, circles, crosses, squares etc and design letters or numbers that help to identify the nature of the package.

If possible, try and make all five sides of your carton, this way, handlers can locate your carton no matter how it is positioned.

Make your label markings in English

Unless notified otherwise, English is the best language to use for your markings. The freight forwarding service that you use should be able to notify you whether you also need to provide the markings in the language of the export country.  If such markings are necessary, you may have to translate the labels with the help of a translator. Alternatively, the embassy or consulate of your destination country should be able to help because they are always eager to facilitate international trade.

Not sure how to label your goods? Sidoman can help here.

Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

Musings of My Trans-Atlantic Tour [Part 3]

This is Part Three of a three-part blog post. If you missed Part One click HERE. If you missed Part Two click HERE.

I began this blog post by drawing parallels, and I shall conclude by doing the same.

Getting to interact with the Canadian and American people, observing their way of life and the efficiency of their systems…

I was at pains to compare them with the Kenyan and largely the African equivalents. Indeed, what struck me sharply were contrasts.

Yes, you have to brush your Kenyan (EngSwa) accent for Americans / Canadians to understand what you’re talking about.

Most often, you see Kenyans trolled for changing their accent after a brief stay in the USA, this could be the source.

Nonetheless, they’re at pains to gain these to avoid: ‘say again please’, ‘sorry I didn’t get you’ or eventually ‘please write down here so that I can assist you’ (haha).

When the Americans tell you ‘Sounds good’ like the Siri application, that means they’re contented with your ‘struggled accent’ to explain something.

Stranger holds door open for man leaving building

A simple example would be common courtesy exercised by most Canadians and Americans such as not littering, holding a door open for strangers, punctuality, et cetera.

As a result of what I shall call ‘soft skills’ for lack of a better term, the functioning of different sectors is in great consonance.

The country can then focus on getting great and remaining great.

I do not, however, posit that America or Canada are without fault. America, for instance, has race issues which divide the country.

That notwithstanding their value systems are mostly on fleek.

As I thought about the contrasts, I remembered a quote attributed to Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who said that Africa needed “a new type of citizen, a dedicated modest honest well-informed man, a man who submerges self in service to mankind, a man who abhors greed and detests vanity, a new type of man whose humility was his strength and his integrity, his greatness.”

Credit | Uugwana Institute

Nkrumah was then – as I am now – talking about the value side of the national development enterprise that has been so elusive across Africa.

What Nkrumah said close to half a century ago, in my mind remains that one thing that must be effectively addressed, if Kenya is to lift off, and fulfill the potential it symbolizes.

If Kenya is to lift off, Kenyans must acquire an Uungwana Mentality.

Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

The biggest and busiest ports in Africa

Kenya and Tanzania have long competed to have the bragging rights for the biggest and most important ports in East Africa. With the Kenyan government currently finish up a huge new port in Lamu while the Tanzania authorities develop one in Bagamoyo, the competition for the regional shipping and logistics business is only going to get fiercer between the two countries.

If both new ports are completed as planned the ports will be bigger and busier than any other ports in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the proposed development of both ports will be achieved in decades rather than a few years, which means that East Africa will have to be content with the ports that it currently has now. With 90 percent of imports and export shipments in Africa being conducted by ocean freight, here are some of the other most important and busiest ports in Africa:

Port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast

This port of Abidjan started its operations in the 1950s and is the biggest port in the West African sub-region. The port of Abidjan also enjoys the second biggest container storage capacity of 20,000 TEUs. Because ships with massive draughts can dock in the port’s deep waters, the port’s importance in Ivory Coast’s economy has been amplified in the past few years.

Durban, South Africa


The Port of Durban is referred to as Africa’s most vigorous general cargo port. The port of Durban is the largest and busiest port in Africa managing to handle on average approximately 2.5 million tons of cargo every year.

Port of Mombasa, Kenya

The port of Mombasa is also referred to as the city of merchants. It has been used for trade as far back as history can remember and it is still instrumental today as it was then. The port of Mombasa is a primary gateway for east and central Africa and it provides a direct link to other ports worldwide. To make freight services between Uganda and Tanzania effortless, there is a railway line from the port that connects the three main east African countries.

Suez Canal, Egypt

The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez. The Suez Canal was opened in 1869 and it grew in popularity because it allowed ships to move between Europe and India without having to navigate around Africa.

The port of Djibouti

The port of Djibouti is situated in the capital city of Djibouti and it links Europe and different countries in the Far East. As a matter of fact, the Chinese government is so involved that it has a state-owned enterprise that is directly involved in the administration and management of the port. Most nations of the world use the port as a navy military outpost although it is also important for Transshipments.

Tangier, Morocco

The Tangier Med Port is mainly used by commercial ships and vessels. The Tangier port is one of the youngest ports in the group having only been constructed in 2007. The port was established mainly to deal with the increasing demand in the import and export industry in Morocco.

The port of Lagos, Nigeria

The port of Lagos is Nigeria’s main seaport although it is split into three smaller divisions all of which are situated on the Gulf of Guinea. The port is operated by the Nigerian Port Authority and it handles significant trade from Cameroon, Benin, and Niger.

Saldanha Bay, South Africa

Saldanha Bay in South Africa is a natural deep water port that mainly deals with iron ore exports in the 70s. Because of technological advancements and globalization, the Saldanha Bay has diversified its commodity base to widen the range of goods that pass through the port, which has helped to make it busier than ever.



Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

Adventures of My Trans-Atlantic Tour [Part Two]

This is Part Two of a three-part blog post. If you missed Part One click HERE.

On 14th September, I bid adieu to Canada by road from Ottawa to Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA).

Ordinarily the road trip would take 18 hours if you were to drive all the way non-stop, but since my colleague Roy and I had time to kill, we drove using the southern route via New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virgina, Indiana, Ohio (nicknamed “Garissa” due to its considerable population of Somalis), Chicago and Wisconsin.

The US White House | 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The building itself has come to symbolize American leadership.
With my colleague and friend Roy catching a Baseball Game at Miller Park, Wisconsin.



Inasmuch as it may seem like a ridiculously long ride, we were driving a GMC Acadia SUV with embedded onboard Wi-Fi which made the ride tolerable.

At the risk of being pelted with stones by my friends who are Euro-car diehards, I must admit that the American built GMC is a behemoth like the Brontosaurus of a vehicle with swanky, expensive-feeling interiors and packs a powerful punch under the hood that grunts rather than purrs in its show of might.

With lots of drive-thrus fast food chain of franchised restaurants along the interstate freeways, can’t remember being hungry at any point. No edacious moments for that matter.

The GMC Acadia Beast and the Guelph Warehouse in the background | Canada
My colleague Roy looking all “gangsta” behind the wheel.

I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the scenic beauty nestled in the background off the road which contributed to the relaxing, easy drive.

Anyone who follows me on SnapChat (@sidoman82) will attest to this. I was the ‘DJ Khaled’ for those moments, almost shared every important snap on ‘my story’ (timeline) to my relatives, friends, and followers.

I say an easy drive because on the interstates there were no road bumps, no potholes, no traffic police and best of all: no traffic!

From Wisconsin, I used a Public Bus (the most efficient service I have ever experienced) to Minneapolis, MN — the Eastleigh of the USA — where I got to hang out with friends and their families and learn how they make ends meet in a foreign land.

Spending time with them reaffirmed to me that the Somali community is made up of mostly warm, hospitable, honest and hardworking individuals.

The downside though, is the hardworking Barber (young man) who hires Rolls-Royce car for an hour or so, just to SnapChat to mesmarize his peers especially in less previlaged countries.

One source of Tahriib, if you ask me.

My pals from Ohio (Garissa) OH and I hanging out. Grateful for their splendid welcome.



Friends from Minneapolis (Eastleigh) MN – thankful for their hosting efforts

On 19th September I took a flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, California which is home to the country’s film industry including the famed Hollywood.



Hollywood in the background


I then proceeded to San Diego, California.

I kid you not, this city boasts more dental clinics than there are “miraa bases” in Eastleigh (Nairobi)!

I was reliably informed that the dental clinics make a killing from customers who go in search of a Hollywood Smile!

Of course, with high prices for the quality involved per dental unit, not in anyway comparable to the price of Miraa from the aforementioned kiosks  – just an exaggeration to drive the point home for local mindsets.

My friends Moha aka Mafats (L) and Feisal aka Asey (R) and I in San Diego

Having spent over two weeks in San Diego interacting with people with super-white teeth, I flew to San Francisco Bay on 6th October  — home to Silicon Valley.

While in the Valley I visited the HQs of Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Oracle and Google.

Google HQs.

At Menlo Park (MPK), which is home to Facebook, the cool thing to do is to take a selfie next to the big thumb up sign — as I did (so I am cool) — and make it your Facebook profile.

Oracle HQ

Apart from that, there is not much else to do there unless you know a guy or girl who works at Facebook – a software engineer, which is highly unlikely based on where I come from.

In case there was one or two you have to appreciate that these are peoples’ places of work and can therefore not access the office blocks. However, this is only possible with a bookmarked prior appointment.

Facebook HQ | 1 Hacker Way

Having completed my tour of the Silicon Valley, I rented a car and drove back to San Diego and then flew to Houston, Texas where I was hosted by friends and colleagues.

All this happened (while California) with the sacrifice of my best friend, Moha AKA Mafats, who took some off from work to make this happen. I am really grateful for his splendid show of kindness.

Not forgetting  my good friend Asey in the same city. He took me for many rides, notwithstanding, swimming in the beach – Mission Beach San Diego. We laugh a lot with this dude.

Passing time shooting some Pool at the Big Pool Table. They say everything is BIG in Texas.




My colleague Julius and I in Texas. Splendid host!

On 10th October I jetted from Houston to New York where I spent most of the next day taking in what the Big Apple had to offer.

Curtains fell on my tour on 12th October as I exited the great Super-power from John F Kennedy International Airport, Kenya-bound via Dubai.

Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

Important questions that your freight broker should ask you

Selecting the right freight broker to entrust the movement of your goods with is pertinent if you are to have a pleasant shipping experience. As such, going for the right freight broker is just as important as choosing your lawyer or an accountant for your business. A freight broker, particularly a reliable one, is tasked with the responsibility of meeting all your logistics needs. Of course, there are some fly by night freight forwarders and freight brokers that make grand promises but never live up to them. Such operators may even offer you unrealistic prices only to disappoint you in the end. To avoid this from occurring, finding the right freight forwarding company, as well as proper planning and preparation,  are not only key but critical for protecting your goods. Complicated issues and question are not unheard of in the supply chain industry. When you first start looking for a reliable freight forwarding company, any dependable freight broker that you encounter should ask you a series of questions that can help to shed a light on the type of service that you need. These questions weigh heavily on the supply chain and giving the wrong answers can lead to complications.

Which questions should your freight broker should ask you?

Where are the products coming from and which port do you want them delivered to?

Typically, the product will be picked from the manufacturer or the supplier’s address or factory door. If your goods are arriving from a private residential address, be sure to let your freight broker know to avoid impediments ahead. While it may sound obvious, you must also be as specific and as accurate as possible when giving the details of your preferred destination port. This means that you should not misspell anything; if you are not sure about any spelling, make sure that you clarify with your freight broker.

Is what you are shipping perishable or non-perishable?

When it comes to importing and exporting commodities, there is a huge difference between shipping a car from Japan to Kenya and shipping a crate of bananas. A trustworthy and reliable freight forwarding company that has years of experience should know exactly what they are shipping, the point of destination, as well as the point of origin of any commodity.

Will your shipment need an import or export license?

All individuals or businesses that require shipping products or sending goods internationally should have an importing or exporting license. Import and export permits are instituted to place restrictions on certain items such as firearms. You must determine whether the country that you wish to import/export from or to requires a permit for your product. It is the freight forwarder’s responsibility to comply with governmental regulations that apply to different countries. To prevent your goods from being held back, you should ask your freight broker or supplier at the very beginning of the process whether you need an import/export permit or not. If you fail to get the right permit, you may not be able to bring your goods into the country, and you will, therefore, suffer the consequences.

What are the net and gross weights of your product?

The net weight of your product refers to the weight of whatever product you are planning on shipping. Most online retailers provide the net weight on the product description so that you can make the right shipping calculations. The gross weight of your product, on the other hand, refers to the weight of your item plus the weight of the carton and any protective shipping material that may be used.

Do you know you product commodity number?

A commodity number is also sometimes known as a schedule B product description or HS, and it allows customs officials to classify the goods that you are shipping easily. Commodity numbers or codes are important because they represent the main classifier in international trade or shipping, which basically means that they determine the customs duties, the rules and restrictions of importing/exporting, as well as all documentation requirements. To ensure that the procedures for shipping are as uniform as possible, everything that is shipped from cars and machinery to textiles and pharmaceutical is assigned a commodity code. It is critical to be as specific as possible when giving a freight broker your product classification. Misclassification of commodity codes can have dire consequences such as the loss of special custom privileges or underpaying or overpaying taxes. Finding the correct HS code is the beginning of classifying your product so that you can get it ready for shipping. If you are unable to find the right HS code, your freight broker should have the ability to calculate an accurate shipping quote or price based on the product description that you provide.  If your product is a standard export but you are sending it to a whole new market, your freight broker should take your commodity number and assign it the suitable tariff number. The tariff number that you are provided with will be listed and categorized as the industry shipping standard for all other exports of that product to your new location. Every time you need to export that product to that new market, you must use the tariff number assigned by your freight broker to make sure that you pay the same rate as before.

Are you shipping by air, sea or road?

The type of service that you select will make a huge impact on the delivery time of your goods. Obviously, if you are transporting perishable goods such as shipping fresh flowers from Kenya to Dubai, you would probably need to use air freight. In any case, the type of service that you select will be based purely on your needs and budget restrictions. If you are moving perishable food items, you will also need to know your expiry date beforehand to avoid any losses.

What quantity/ what number of cartons do you plan to ship?

When shipping anything, you will need to have a firm understanding of the number of items that you plan to ship. If you are shipping cartons, you need to know the number of cartons that you are planning to move, as well as the sizes of each of the cartons. Remember to notify your freight broker if you are dealing with cartons of varying sizes. The size of the cartons must be determined both linear dimensions (height, length, and width) as well as in cubic meters.

Would you prefer to have your cartons stacked on pallets?

If you want your cartons to be stacked on pallets, you might also need to determine how many cartons will be loaded on every pallet. An experienced freight broker should be able to estimate or GUESStimate how much space you will require, calculate the total weight and volume and give you the right answers accordingly.

Should you use a container instead?

Full loads of cargo are commonly known as containers in the shipping world. Once your freight broker calculates your total weight, he or she should be able to notify you if your goods will fill a container or not. If your commodities can fill an entire container, then you might be at an advantage because your items will be the only ones loaded onto that container and a seal will ensure that your goods are safe throughout. Containers are usually much better alternatives because you will not be forced to consolidate all your items in another business or person’s container, which eliminates the possibility of tampering.

What will your freight broker do after?

Once you have answered all the above questions properly, your freight broker should be able to get back to you with a freight quote within a few hours. Be sure to ask your freight broker or freight forwarding company how they settled on the price that they will provide you. If you do not understand anything, be sure to ask. Need an accurate quote for shipping your goods? Reach out to us today for a detailed analysis of our rates.

Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

Adventures of My Trans-Atlantic Tour [Part One]

Coming to America…

This is Part One of a three-part blog post. 

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and Lisa (Shari Headley) in a scene of the film ‘Coming to America’

The 80s romance-comedy ‘Coming to America’ is a classic favourite for movie aficionados.

It is highly unlikely that those who were born in the era of VCDs, DVDs, flash disks and most recently Cloud Technology AKA ‘fungua server’ got to watch the movie on VHS Cassettes when it was oven fresh.

For their sake, here is a brief synopsis of the classic.

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who will love him in spite of his title.

To escape an arranged marriage, Akeem flees to America accompanied by his pernickety sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find his queen.

Disguised as a foreign student working in a fast food chain restaurant, he romances Lisa (Shari Headley), but struggles with revealing his true identity to her.

You may be wondering where this is leading, but care to indulge me as I draw parallels from the synopsis.

Early this year Saeed Abdirahman (Akeem), a Kenyan Somali of modest means who earns his daily bread by serving in the capacity of Director – Corporate Affairs and Business Development at ASCC Logistics, – CEO and founder of Sidoman Investment Ltd, like Commissioner Akombe, purposed to flee the country — not for safety reasons (Alhamdullilah) but for business.

But what is business without a little leisure?

My trusted “sidekick” Mwiti as we set off for Dubai from Mombasa via Nairobi.

Setting his plan in motion and accompanied by his Operations Manager (sidekick), Douglas Mwiti (Semmi), the duo set out from Mombasa on 5th September for Dubai where they were scheduled to attend a three-day field training.

Soaking in some Dubai sun on a boat ride near Conrad Dubai Hotel







Conrad Dubai Hotel. This was home for the few nights I spent in Dubai.

Upon successful training and a pleasant stay at Conrad Dubai Hotel, Saeed disguised himself as a foreign student (Ha ha) and pulled an Akombe on Mwiti by escaping to Canada (then USA). Mwiti then proceeded to Kenya alone.

Parallels with the synopsis aside, ladies and gentlemen, this is my story and experience of Coming to America.

After leaving Dubai on the night of 8th September, aboard Air Canada  for a 14hrs none-stop flight,  I flew directly to Ontario, Canada which is one of the 13 Provinces in the country.

The long flight wasn’t boring, with a relatively old man – Canadian (of India origin) seating next to me.

He was funny, smart, decent and outgoing. In few minutes we were  like we knew each other for ages.

He almost convinced me that we were the first to travel by that particular plane as it was “smelling factory paints” .

I had no option but to agree with him to make the conversation going and interesting.

With experienced quite old air hostesses who’s conversations with passengers was mostly punctuated with the majic words – please, sorry and thank you.

Notwithstanding, the other majic weapon AKA smile, the journey couldn’t be more interesting.

I arrived in Toronto (the capital city of Ontario) and travelled by road to Guelph then Ottawa (Canada’s capital city).

While I cannot purport to be an Ontario expert, having spent all of five days in the Province, I made some observations and drew these [subjective] conclusions.

Toronto is very large (comparatively), truly dynamic, and comprises the most multicultural and multilingual population of the country.

It isn’t the most picture-perfect city I have been to (although it has the most successful public architecture), but it has the most interesting people and best food of the three.

It also offers great vantage positioning for tours outside the city. For example, Niagara Falls is just about an hour away from Toronto.

Ominous, powerful, humbling, breath-taking and magnificent — these are the words I would hang on to as I describe Niagara Falls

Speaking of Niagara Falls, I was extremely humbled to behold this natural wonder.

Words cannot do justice describing the view from the Rainbow Bridge.

Ominous, powerful, humbling, breath-taking and magnificent — these are the words I would hang on to as I describe Niagara Falls.

Where words may fail, I hope that these photos bring out the feeling of “being so lost in nature”.

The magnificent Niagara Falls in the background

Guelph on the other hand is a small city which is about an hour’s drive from Toronto.

Surprisingly, on most travel sites, it doesn’t come top on the list of cities worth visiting in Canada — but Guelph is a magnificent city with a dynamic culture and beautiful limestone architecture.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Guelph. When I was not staying with friends during my Trans-Atlantic tour, I was booked in Holiday Inn Express in the various cities I visited.

Ottawa is a neat, well-planned city populated mostly by bilingual, highly paid government bureaucrats.

It’s got a few good museums but very little else to interest the casual tourist owing to limited support for diversity and creativity.

At Parliament Hill in-front of “Canada 150” signage symbolizing Canada’s 150 years / OTTAWA

What I found awesome about this city though is that it is home to my very good friend superstar Somali musician Awale Adan.

My boy Awale Adan and I. One of the most humble and talented superstars that I know.
Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

The best shipping method for cars: RORO vs. Container Service

When importing and exporting cars from overseas, which shipping method for cars is better? RORO or container service? This age-old question has irked many, so let’s find out.

People have diverse reasons and circumstances that necessitate the purchasing and the consequent import or export of vehicles from one country to another or from one geographical area to another.  Perhaps you are moving abroad or you have just bought your first car from China or Japan. Whatever reasons that you may have, the prospect of shipping a car from one destination to another brings its own unique sets of challenges and issues.

At the very least, you may want to keep your transportation or shipping costs as low as possible especially considering the fact that you may already have spent a fortune on your new car. Determining the best method for shipping your car from overseas is, therefore, an essential aspect of the process. If you have bought a car from overseas, your car will most likely be shipped by one of the two main options:

  • A Container shipping service
  • A Roll on Roll off (RORO) service.

While each of the two options will still deliver your new car to you, it is vital to weigh the cons and pros of each method so that you can make the right decision for your needs.

Shipping method #1: The RORO shipping method

RORO is primarily used for shipping all types of vehicles including buses, heavy agricultural utilities, plant machinery, SUVs, yachts and boats, trailer homes, trucks, cranes, excavators, cars, and any other type of motorized vehicle. The RORO shipping method is preferred by many because of its simplicity and its cost-effectiveness.

When using RORO, which means Roll on/Roll off, the vehicles being transported are simply driven, rolled, or towed directly on the ship at the port of loading before being transported to the overseas destination. Once the vehicles are on board, they are secured to the ship’s deck in a watertight vessel, sort of like a huge car park filled with new shiny cars.

When you select RORO as your shipping method of choice, you do not have to pay export warehouses for container packing, crating, port delivery or flat rack loading because the port workers take care of all the vital processes.

RORO is more effective when shipping a single car from abroad because your car can be dropped off directly at your desired destination. On the other hand, when shipping multiple vehicles, the scenario will dictate that you make multiple trips so as to offload the cars. Alternatively, you can hire a car carrier trailer, which will undoubtedly add to your expenses.

Furthermore, when shipping multiple cars from overseas, keep in mind that every car that you add to the RORO rosta will also increase your overall cost. Whether this seems like a good idea to you will depend on your budget as well as how far you live from the port or from your chosen freight forwarding service.


Shipping method #2: Container shipping

The RORO method of shipping a car is by far the most popular and viable technique for single cars. However, it does face several geographical limitations. For instance, RORO shipping is widely available but it is not accessible everywhere, which is where the container shipping method comes in to do what RORO shipping cannot.

Container shipping is more secure than the RORO shipping method and it has global routes pretty much in the most popular ports of the world. The container shipping method is ideal if you are shipping a brand new or a luxury car because containers ensure that your car arrives without any damages in most cases.

When using the container shipping method, your car is typically loaded into a shipping container and then it is secured using nylon, ratchet or chocks straps so that it does not move during transit. Upon loading, wooden braces are also placed around each of the vehicle’s tires and nailed to the floor to secure the car further.

If you are shipping additional items alongside your car such as tires, repair machinery etc, you can also place them inside your container to save costs. A standard 20 ft shipping container can accommodate a single vehicle and still leave plenty of space for other items while a 40 ft one can hold two average sized cars.

With the container shipping method, you are assured that your goods will arrive at your port of choice safely regardless of where in the world they are coming from. Shipping containers have to comply with strict regulations to make sure that they are structurally sound, watertight, and incapable of allowing damaging elements such as wind or water.

So which shipping method is best?

Consequently, your choice between the two shipping methods will depend on your budget and preference. Additionally, you will also have to determine the origin of your vehicle, the destination, and all the associated costs.

If you need to transport individual or multiple vehicles of any kind, you should only contact and hire the services of a reliable freight forwarding service such as Sidoman that can supply you with efficient, reliable and competitively prices container and RORO shipping solutions from various countries worldwide.

What to remember when picking your shipping method:

  1. If you pick RORO does your destination port have a facility that can handle RORO cargo such as an open space, godowns or a yard?
  2. After you evaluate all the costs involved including the cost of hiring a driver, the handling charges, picking your car from the airport, and so on, which between the two is more cost effective
  3. Is it possible to work out a discount from the terminal operator?
  4. How urgent do you need your car? Container shipping is regular and it is easy to predict. Therefore, if you need your car or goods urgently, you may be forced to select the container method to ensure that your goods arrive on time.

Want to learn more? Or simply want to get a RORO or container quote from a reliable service? Contact our team today.



Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter

5 fun facts about logistics and transport


Logistics and transport are a critical part of the supply chain, which is made up of three main segments namely manufacturing, purchasing, and transportation. As such, the supply chain as we know and understand it would be inefficient without the role that logistics and transportation play.  So what exactly do logistics and transport mean?


Logistics refers to the cost-effective process of planning and controlling the movement and storage of cargo from the point of origin to the end user or the customer. Historically, the term logistics was always associated with the military whereby the term would be used to refer to the process of supplying troops with the necessary supplies and tools. Today, logistics can be applied in many sectors including transportation, warehousing, in the flow of information, packaging, and even the disposal of products.


Transportation refers to the movement of people or goods from one point to another through road, rail, air or sea. Every facet of your life is affected by the transport industry. With freight being the economic stronghold that it is, all goods that are moved from point A to B help to form a complex logistical puzzle that allows you to live contemporary life comfortably.

Let’s face it; there is nothing quite sexy about logistics and transport as an industry.  However, these interesting facts about logistics and transport will surely help you become the most knowledgeable person in freight forwarding your office or in that next logistics seminar:

Logistics and transport fact #1

The logistics and transportation industry is one of the biggest, spanning decades since its inception as a business in the 50s. The transportation and logistics industry is made up of the following subdivisions:

  • Road
  • Maritime
  • Warehouse
  • Storage
  • Aviation
  • Rail

Logistics and transport fact #2

If you combined all the sausages that are delivered by the logistics and transportation industry every year, the sausages would reach beyond the moon.

Logistics and transport fact #3

The largest ship in the world can carry and transport the Eiffel tower comfortably.


Logistics and transport fact #4

It is possible to travel from country to country entirely on shipping containers. A man by the name of Thor Pederson has managed to travel to more than half of the countries in the world without ever boarding a flight. He arranges for himself to be shipped from one continent to another like office supplies and he travels completely for free. Thor has even made it to Kenya!

Logistics and transport fact #5

The most commonly shipped items are food, clothing, furniture, and electronics.


Looking for a reliable Logistics and transport partner? Contact us for a free quote today!







Share with friends.. Facebooktwitter