The exodus from Hong Kong has turned up the pressure on shipping companies moving goods from the city to another country. The issues are particularly acute when it comes to shipping alcohol and fine wine, and anyone attempting to export a collection of premium or collectible wine from Hong Kong to an international destination will discover numerous barriers.
These hurdles can cause delays, uncertainty and added expense. But even worse, they can put your fine wine collection into peril and even result in its destruction. More than ever, it’s important that you choose a wine shipping service that understands the requirements to ensure safe transportation for your valuable wine.
Based on more than 20 years of experience navigating the shifting regulatory landscape in Hong Kong as well as intimate understanding of regulatory requirements, Xpeditr is pleased to offer a report on the current situation with regard to shipping fine wine out of Hong Kong.
Below are some of the steps we take to ensure clients have a smooth, predictable and safe experience when exporting their fine wine from Hong Kong to any worldwide destination.
“We don’t like surprises,” says Xpeditr founder Adam Gungle. “And we don’t like our clients to have surprises.”
Planning and logistics
Currently in Hong Kong, roughly 90 percent of outbound flights are being cancelled. Besides causing delays and bottlenecks, this also brings price fluctuations. At Xpeditr, we avoid these issues by working with shippers that confirm all schedules before we allow your wine to start its journey.
Our deep understanding of administrative processes and logistical procedures mean that we can navigate the customs and governmental regulations that other shippers are not prepared to deal with.
For example, if a flight is re-routed or a transfer is cancelled, your wine might spend a day or more waiting in a cargo warehouse, with no temperature or humidity control. We do not allow this to happen — and we pay extra to our preferred vendors to ensure a smooth, on-time experience.
Export regulations are in an almost constant state of flux, and that goes for the customs requirements at both ends.
Our long-term relationships with agents in Hong Kong allow us to solve problems as they come up, but more importantly we are fully aware of and compliant with the shifting regulatory landscape.
Currently in Hong Kong, it appears that the authorities are monitoring very carefully how much fine and collectible wine is leaving. This means all documents are being carefully scrutinized — and errors can be costly in terms of added fees or risk to your wines as they wait for clearance.
The same applies at the destination.
“If a broker does get your wine to the final destination but they didn’t do the paperwork properly, customs will put it in airport storage — and that costs about $3000 a week for a pallet of wine. And there’s risk that the wine will be damaged, because these warehouses are not temperature controlled.”
The laws and rules can be complex and, in some cases, are not even provided to the public in a comprehensible manner. We keep up to date with all regulations at all international destinations — this includes federal as well as state or provincial requirements — identifying potential pitfalls before they can become an issue.
Shipping by air
We demand direct flights with zero transfers along the way. This ensures control over every aspect of your wine at all times.
Our preferred air freight providers are long-term partners that understand our exacting and demanding standards when it comes to your valuable wine. Our shippers guarantee that your wine is stored in a temperature controlled cabin, which is not something that most other wine shipping companies even consider. We also ensure your wine is the last item loaded onto the plane and the first item to come off at the destination. These measures ensure your wine is never left under anything but optimal temperature and humidity conditions.
Xpeditr does not ship wine by boat, whether from Hong Kong are any other port. The main reason is that power outages occur on an ocean journey — and these can be frequent — putting your wine at risk. As well, the current global issue with backlogs at shipping ports means your wine could be waiting an extended time at sea until it can be unloaded. And even then, if rail is required from that point, this opens up more issues with delays and environmental quality.
We avoid these problems by shipping wine by air only.
Monitoring and quality assurance
Your wine is under our watchful eye at all times. This begins with our packing procedures, which require premium double-corrugated wine boxes with end-to-end inserts, a security seal, and thermal blankets. At every step of the way, from door-to-door, your wine is kept at optimal temperature and humidity.
Our GPS system tracks the location of your wine at all times, and sensors monitor temperature and humidity. Any changes trigger an alarm so we can determine exactly what is going on. The system has built-in redundancy with multiple backups. This makes it possible to deal with any unexpected issues in real time, potentially avoiding any catastrophe.
Proactive problem solving
Our 20 years of experience in shipping fine wine around the world means we’ve developed all the systems, procedures and relationships — in all major countries — to find solutions for any issues that may come up. We like to deal with these problems before they become problems.
“Hope is not a strategy,” says Gungle — not where the safety and security of your fine wine investment is concerned.