The price of importing light gauge steel prefab from China might be a significant factor in your project’s total costs depending on where it’s going. Let’s look at three popular destinations — Australia, Canada, and the US — and consider shipping costs, duties and taxes for a light gauge steel prefab construction project.
While getting import fees for Chinese prefab products might strike you as complicated, you can estimate them on your own. It’s not as troublesome as you think. If you’ve already planned the basics of your project, it should take a few minutes. We’ll calculate shipping first because those fees can sometimes factor into the duties.
Determine the square footage of your project before getting the price of importing prefab materials.
Once you know the size of your planned building, you need to figure out how many containers are required, plus the name, or HS code of the product. The individual light gauge steel studs or finished panels will be packed into 40’ HQ freight containers, which have 28m² of floor space each. In other words, one container will have 28m² of packing space.
For importing light gauge steel prefab from China, estimate the packing space needed by dividing its square footage by two. For example, if a house is 340m² its packing space will be 170m². The packing space divided by 28m² equals six. It will require six containers. *Note that this estimate includes all structural and interior finishing materials.
Go to searates.com and find different rates to different locations. Note that prices can rise and fall significantly. To calculate duties, we’ll need shipping costs, so right now (in February 2017):
Shipping from Shanghai, China’s busiest port, to San Francisco will cost $1’900 per container. When we got a quote for a San Francisco client last year, the price was $755. Prices change depending on the season, regulations, and other factors.
Shanghai to Sydney costs roughly $1’100.
Shanghai to Vancouver will be $3’100.
Use a duty calculator to find the cost of your imports
Because every country has different rates and fees, people around the world will have different experiences importing light gauge steel prefab from China. There are online duty calculators, such as dutycalculator.com, that can help. Let’s find the costs for our hypothetical 340m² project if a manufacturer sent it to the US, Canada, and Australia.
It’s necessary to know the value of your modular materials. For a high-end residential project, like this one, they will be around $600 per m², so multiplied by 340 it comes to $204’000. We’ll round that to $200’000 to make calculations a bit easier.
For light gauge steel, the HS Code is 730890, defined as “iron or steel; structures and parts thereof.”
This product is duty-free if shipping to California, besides a $500 processing fee.
It is also duty-free in Canada but would require 12% in taxes from GST and PST if shipped to British Columbia.
Australia would charge a 5% import duty rate and a 10% GST, coming to $35’000.
Keep in mind that products with a different HS code, like portable modular homes and flat pack structures, will have different rates.