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Trade Knowledge

In order to sell sake in the world, it is required to know about trading to maintain quality, manage cost and minimize risks.
In this section, you can find overall information about sake trading to plan what you need to prepare in advance.
Please use information in the page to check through trading plan to avoid troubles.


Related parties of trading

When we start trading we cannot start a trading with brewery and importer.
In this section, you can find who you need to know and what they do in trading.
What you find here is only a general information. In the real trading please check thoroughly with related parties.



Breweries manufacturing products. In breweries, they only prepare for domestic delivery in general.
For export, you need to request to put back label in your language, put case mark for custom clearance and other preparation directly or through your partner.
Some breweries have a facility to pack on pallet and deliver in pallet.



This is an exporter. A brewery can be an exporter, but incase there are sevral kinds of products from several breweries trading companies or wholesales companies would be an exporter.
The company name of the exporter is printed in trading documents. This company will be responsible for all exporting duties.



The company arranges logistics of the product delivery totally. From domestic delivery to booking of ship, all the process of logistics is arranged by forwarders.
Forwarders is required in both exporting and importing countries. The rules and regulation, especially at custom, are different in each countries so the required.


Warehouse / Port

They manage warehouse and arrange the operation at port.
If you need to arrange packing in pallets or investigation at custom, they also arrange. Mostly communicate through forwarders.



Custom inspects the cargo in every import and export, and carry out custom clearance. Required information, documents and taxation are different in each countries.
It is required to team up with forwarders to understand about laws and regulation of exporting and importing countries.


Shipping Company

The company operates ships. They deliver cargos all over the world, but routes and schedules are different to each companies.
Check route and schedule through forwarders and select appropriate shipping company.


Insurance company

Insurance company to cover risks in delivery.
The risks of shipper and consignee are according to inco-terms which contracted by 2 parties.



It means an importer.


Transport Company

It means domestic transport company here.
If not arranged by forwarders, you need to arrange delivery of cargo from port to your warehouse.


Before Trade

After you understand about who, now you will find how you need to prepare.
Please use this page to check your preparation step by step.


Pick up products

First list up products of your interest. If you do not have specific products interested, ask breweries or trading companies with rough ideas, such as class, price and place of production.
In many case, a brewery export to only 1 importer in 1 country. Please check whether you can import products in advance.


Select shipper

There are 2 ways: directly with breweries and via trading company.
When you trade directly, you need to make a contract and settle a payment with every breweries. Arrangement of logistics is also done by importers.
When you trade with trading companies, most of the task in Japan is done by trading companies, so you can concentrate in sale in your country.
If the brewery is small, they might not know how to arrange export. In that case, please check with forwarders.


Fix inco-terms

When you trade you need to fix a trade term called incoterms, established by ICC.
It decide which duties, costs, risks are responsible for shipper or consignee, and represented in 3 alphabets.
There are renewals of incoterms in few years, but people still use old incoterms as well.
When you fix incoterms, use the table above to clarify what you will be responsible.
Quotation is also under this incoterms, so fix incoterms before request quotation to have precise price.


Select forwarder / find shipping route

Select a forwarder and find the route of delivery


Request final quotation / settle purchase order

With fixed list of products and incoterms, request final quotation
If you accept the quotation, send purchase order officially


Trade flow

Once you accept the quotation and sent purchase order, start preparing for the delivery.
Check the steps below.


Average time required for trading

The lead time is different to every incoterms, breweries and forwarder.
The below is a benchmark period of time it takes in each procedure.
Use this benchmark to plan and schedule your delivery.

  1. Preparation at breweries : 1~2 weeks
  2. Preparation and export procedure at warehouse and port in Japan : 1~2weeks
  3. Delivery by air plane : 1 week
    Delivery by sea shipment : 2~6 weeks
  4. Import procedure at warehouse and port in importing country : 1~2 weeks


Total time / Air : 4~7 weeks / Sea : 5~12 weeks


Preparation of products / Fix delivery date to warehouse at port

Ask breweries to fix the delivery date to the warehouse at port.
What they can prepare, such as labeling in your language, depends on breweries.
If breweries cannot prepare you need to arrange it with forwarders or trading company if you contract.


Book ship or airplane

Book ship with forwarders.
For example, in case of FOB consignee has to book, but in case of DAP shipper need to book.


Check necessary document, back labels, and case marks

Depending on the country’s law and regulations, you need to have composition table or certificates in your hand.
Check with alcohol authority and custom what you need to have.


Check shipping documents and insurance

Prepare shipping documents fro custom clearance
What you must need are shipping invoice with declaration price, packing list with spec of cargo such as size and weight and bill of lading, which is a security document, as a minimum requirement.
When you import promotion materials, you also need to declare reference price in the document.
Do not forget to purchase insurance for your risk.


Confirm delivery at port / packing

Packing in pallet at warehouse. If needed ask to put back labels and case mark here as well.


Custom clearance in Japan

After preparing cargo for shipment, ask forwarders to do custom clearance with shipping documents
It might take unexpected time if investigation required


Departure of ship or airplane

If the ship goes through equator, it might damage the product by high temperature.
Please check whether you need to arrange reefer container to maintain the quality or not.


Arrival / custom clearance in importing country

Once ship arrives, firstly you need to clear custom.
If the documents are missing, your cargo might be left out of the warehouse casing serious damage in product quality


Domestic delivery in importing country

After the custom clearance, send the cargo to deliver to your warehouse.



Receive your cargo.


World Ports

There are 102 ports in Japan, and 18 ports are selected as International Strategic Port and International Hub Port.
These 18 pots are mainly used, please memorize them especially the ports in White on the map above.


International Strategic Port

Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Osaka, Kobe


International Hub Port

Tomakomai, Muroran, Sendai Shiogama, Chiba, Niigata, Fushiki Toyama, Shimizu, Nagoya
Yokkaichi, Sakai Senhoku, Wakayama Shimizu, Himeji, Mizushima, Tokuyama Shimomatsu
Shimonoseki, Kitakyushu, Hakata


In the world, there are vast number of ports.
Please have a look at the world map above to ports near your country to find the route.



Bill of lading (B/L)
You use this document to receive cargo at the port of your country, and there are some kinds of bill of lading.

Bill of Lading
Surrendered (Expressed) Bill of Lading
Air / Sea Way Bill

Certificate of origin / EPA
Certificate issued by organisation such as chamber of commerce.
This document proves the product is produced in the coutnry.
In addition, if your country has economic partnership agreement with Japan, with EPA document you can reduce or eliminate custom duties.

In sake industry, each brewery use different sized cartons.

The pallet commonly used are different by countries.
The below is the pallet size of Japan and other countries.

Japan: 1100mm*1100mm
US: 1219mm*1016mm
Europe: 1200mm*800 or 1200mm*1000mm
Australia: 1165mm*1165mm

Packing method
Packing method is important to protect cargos during the shipment and appropriate method has to be selected in the situation.
The below is 2 packing method mainly used in sake trading.

Pallet packing
Pile cargos on pallet and wrap with shrink film

Crate packing
Create wooden pallet to pack around the cargo.

Container has 2 different types: dry at room temperature and refer with air conditioner.
When trade sake, refer contains set at about 5℃.

If you use full container, ti si called FCL and if you deliver only few pallets it is called LCL.
In case of LCL, cargo has to go through container freight station.