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  News Details Home > Business Success Stories 4: How we settled an unexpected problem with our Holland customer in 1999!
Business Success Stories 4: How we settled an unexpected problem with our Holland customer in 1999!

Back in 1999, we had received several containers of willow laundry basket from one Holland customer on CIF Rotterdam trade term. we supposed to ship our goods for our customer before Christmas selling. We had loaded 3x40’ containers of our willow laundry baskets in Shekou seaport on Aug 15 on the peak season, and our shipping forwarder already sent us the Bill of Lading with the clear ETD date in it, we all released since many containers pilled up in the seaport not be able to catch the right vessel and we were lucky that this was not happened to us. We sent the copy of B/L for our customer in Holland and immediately we got the all the balance payment immediately. We all supposed that is the end of this contract then.

But unlucky just happened to us one week later, we was informed by our forwarder that our 3x40’ containers not at all leave China yet, they all because of peak season not be able to catch the right vessel and they already stayed in Shekou seaport for one week already. We could not believe it! It seemed we lied to our customers to get the balance amount, but we were obviously misled by our forwarder. If the containers not left Shekou seaport, they should not issued us the B/L mentioned clearing that our containers all left on certain day. We immediately reported such an unexpected issue to our customers in Holland and we were seriously punished by our customers, since our customer run out of stock already for their stock and not allow us any delay, now it was about one week delayed, how could our customer forgive us!

For us this was the first ever issue like this happened to us in our export business. We were honest business people and just wanted to make sure everything is well done and never expect such a disaster happened to us. Sadness and anger won’t be helpful for us and for our customer at all. All we needed to do was to be calm down and thought out a better solution for it. First thing we needed to do is to find another fastest vessel from Shenzhen to Rotterdam again for all our shipment and hopping to pay extra by ourselves to save more time for our customers. Good luck we found Maersk line had the fastest vessel ETD in Yantian in the coming week, it just took about 18 days for this vessel to arrive to Rotterdam. Our original slow vessel in Shekou should at least take 24 to 28 days to arrive to Rotterdam. But we had to pay USD1000 for each 40’ container for the fastest vessel, that is total USD3000 we need to pay just because of the mistake of our forwarding company. Well, without any complain we are willing to pay such an extra amount if we can save about 6-10 days we just lose for our customers. We told our customers they were all happy about this.

What is worse is that now we were facing some big difficulty due to the withdraw of our 3x40’ containers of goods which we had just finishing the exporting declaration, if we needed to withdraw our containers from Shekou and shipped them again from Yantian we had big problem since first of all we needed to imported the containers first and then needed to re-export our goods from Yantian. I never faced such problem before and never expected it turned out to be so hard to be settled. I talked with several agents who help us to declare to Custom in Shekou who had a lot of experience in handling the declaration to the Custom of Shekou. Everybody told me hopelessly that it would at least take 15 days for us to withdraw our containers out from Shekou seaport. I could not believe it. I had to get it out within 2 or 3 days, or we will lose one important customer and our customer might cancel such order and claimed back the amount they paid since it was just too late 15 days later.

What shall we do in such a bad situation? Nobody seemed to be helping us now. All the agents turned out of their face and claimed to us that they need 15 days, they said still that was one little chance that is if we could have all the Skehou Custom top 5 leaders signature and agreed to our withdraw of our containers we might have the chance to get all our goods back to Yantian. Never in my life I had some experience to get involve with the Shekou Custom, no any friends there at least, how to get the 5 top leaders’ signature? I just like an unsettled problem there. But if I not tried we will face heavy lose in business. All my life I never ever went to ask any star to sign me a signature I am 100% not that kind of person of fan. Now it’s my turn to ask 5 top leaders in the Shekou Custom to signature for me to approve our withdrawing of our goods. I was 100% forced to do so for our customer now, really no way out there. Everything I needed to do is try and be good luck enough to ask them to sign all the name for me within one or two days.

Thank God, I got all the 5 top leaders of the Shekou Custom within one day by personally went to them one by one in the begging attitude. Maybe they were moved by my good attitude or they were moved by how dispirited I looked, or maybe just because I was a young girl president who was brave enough to go to them. No matter what we did it and all our containers could withdraw within that day.

It’s almost the evening time when we arranged the Yantian trucking of the new containers to arrive in the Shekou seaport for us the change our goods from Truck to truck, we just did not have enough time even let all the containers back to our factory to reloading them. We just had the chance to reloading all the containers in Shekou by the roadside. If we can not finish the reloading within that evening we won’t be able to catch the new fastest vessel for sure and all our efforts went in to vain.

Therefore I organized all our workers from our factory about 20 workers at that moment working regularly for us. All the workers after dinner all came to the roadside of Shekou with us. If we just simply reloaded the carton, that is almost a piece of cake, but I made a big decision to open all the cartons to check piece by piece again all the products’ quality before we reloading since a lot of rains during that period and our containers were just pilled up in the port and there might be a chance our goods were effected somehow. We could not take any risk now.

All our workers were very much obedient to our decision to open all the cartons and check every piece of our production and repacked them and reload them into another container. It took so much of our time and efforts. We worked until 1am in the next morning still we can not finishing our work. That day was also my sister’s birthday, really no time to eat the birthday cake with her and when I came back home it’s already 2pm and I still wondered how long it would take for our worker to finish the work. I went back to the roadside to see whether the container had left or not. Luckily the containers already left, but to my big surprised, all my workers all too tired to sleep over the roadside! They all deeply asleep and I was very much moved by what I see. Once again our workers helped us out without saying one word. They were willing to finish our task even in tough situation and work over time for us without saying one word. I did not go home and sit there waiting and until in the morning time some of our worker waked up and we had the breakfast together. As always we should treat our workers like brothers and sisters. I did have my time to spend with my dear little sister for her birthday, but I did stay with our workers most of the time. That made a difference to me and to them. Thank God we are lucky enough for solving such an unsolved problem and we had such good workers as well. Things had passed for about 11 years now and still it seemed like yesterday to me. The bad time and the matter is still alive in my mind.

No matter what we have done we have done our best for our customers. For business we are not perfect and some bad issue might come unexpected, but we have the confidence to settle this with our customers peacefully and in very good attitude. I think what we have done to my customer had even moved God, not to say moved our customers. In the past 13 years we have faced thousands of difficulty and problems and every time we come out with our efforts and with our wisdom. Nothing is impossible for us now. We just like a superman and we will go no and on for our business.  

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