Alibaba Shipping Methods

Five answers about Alibaba Shipping

Want to know more about Alibaba’s shipping matters? This article answers questions about shipping methods and shipping costs.

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1.Shipping Goods from Alibaba

When shipping, shipping costs vary depending on factors such as product type and location. Shipping costs are not always cheaper the smaller the item is, if you are sending small and cheap items you may still incur high shipping costs. It also depends on the country’s customs and shipping costs.

Alibaba sellers can provide you with options to save on shipping costs. Some first-time buyers use the online options available during checkout. If you talk and discuss with the seller, they can suggest some ways to save money.

1.1) Why is Alibaba’s shipping cost expensive?

Do you want to ship to the US? Or a country far away from China? Well that’s one of the things that makes it expensive. If the shipping address is too far away, shipping costs will also be high.

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The cost of your order on Alibaba may vary depending on its value. It’s important to note that Alibaba primarily caters to wholesale transactions. When your order falls below the minimum order quantity, you might incur higher shipping charges. On the flip side, for larger orders, some sellers may offer discounts, including the possibility of free shipping.

Additionally, the weight of your package plays a role in determining shipping costs. As items are shipped, factors such as weight, dimensions, and packaging contribute to the overall shipping expenses.

It’s worth mentioning that the unit price of the items you purchase can influence shipping charges as well. When buying in bulk, such as hundreds or thousands of products, not only will your unit costs decrease, but your shipping expenses will also become more cost-effective. In essence, the more you buy, the more favorable the shipping terms can be.

1.2) How do I ship to Alibaba for the first time?

For some buyers, shipping for the first time can feel overwhelming. If you are not familiar with how Alibaba works because this is your first time ordering, you must ask your supplier for help.

Your choice of supplier is critical. Finding a reliable supplier will help you find the lowest package cost, wozo sourcing is a good choice. Additionally, when your supplier notifies you of free shipping, you must be aware that there is no free shipping. They simply add shipping costs to the product price.

When you order for the first time, when the order is not too large, you can choose express delivery. For example, if you want to ship a package to the United States, you can choose from FedEx, USPS, DHL, or UPS. Alibaba’s shipping charges to the United States depend on the product’s type, weight, and other additional taxes.

Standard procedure is for the seller to include the invoice with the package. Shipping charges will be based on the HS code of the product and whether additional taxes are included. U.S. Customs has regulations that exempt goods from customs duties if the value of the goods is less than $800.

When your shipment arrives in the U.S., do you want it delivered to your door? Or do you ship during peak season? Such as the Christmas holidays, these are other factors to keep in mind that may increase shipping costs.

2.Alibaba shipping costs: Which shipping method is cheapest on Alibaba?

There are multiple options to get the lowest shipping costs on Alibaba. Here are a few ways you can ship at low prices:

When using a courier service to ship small packages, it’s important to note that additional charges might apply. Opting to send small parcels from China is a viable choice, especially for items weighing between 1-2 kg. There are two primary methods for this:

2.1) China Post Parcel

This method is suitable for shipping small packages and falls within the permissible size range set by China EMS. Here are the dimensions:

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Size: Maximum size 1.5m

Volume: length + height + width = maximum 3m

Weight: Max 30 kg

2.2) Express e-package

For international shipping, China Post Express offers an expedited service. Standard customs clearance is necessary for ePacket delivery. Any applicable fees and taxes may be required upon arrival.

The restrictions for ePacket packages are as follows:

For regular packaging, the longest side should not exceed 60 cm, and the sum of the dimensions (l + w + h = 90) should not exceed 90 cm.

For roll packaging, the longest side should not exceed 90 cm, and the total length times the diameter (2d + l = 104) must not exceed 104 cm.

2.3) Air express

Also known as Express Shipping, this convenient service is offered by reputable courier companies such as FedEx, DHL, UPS or SF-Express. Use this service when mailing a single package or a small batch. Each express delivery has its own size requirements and packaging.

It will take 24 hours to 15 days to deliver your package using a courier company. To ship a package from Alibaba, please use the calculator on the respective website to calculate shipping costs.

2.4) Air freight

Air freight is a faster shipping option, but it comes with specific transportation requirements: the minimum package weight is 45 kg. Most freight forwarders suggest a volume exceeding 150 kg or greater than 0.5 cubic meters. This method is ideal for transporting goods over shorter distances.

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Shipping Alibaba goods by air is expensive. This feature cannot be used when you are sending a large number of items. Additionally, when weather conditions are bad, flights will be canceled and rescheduled.

Shipping costs from Alibaba to the United States are approximately $4-8 per kilogram.

2.5) Sea transportation

Sea shipping is the most economical and cost-effective method offered by Alibaba for reducing shipping costs. It is the optimal choice for shipping packages that regular postal services are unable to handle and when expensive express services are not feasible.

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1 Full Container Load (FCL)

You can use 20-foot or 40-foot containers to transport your goods. The best use for this type of container is for large items that fill the entire container or delicate items that you don’t want to share with other items.

2 Less than Container Load (LCL)

If you cannot fill the entire container, please share with other customers. This is a combined shipping method, so you only pay for the space your package uses.

That’s about 50 cents per kilogram, compared to over $6 per kilogram for expedited air freight and about $4 per kilogram for regular air freight.

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2.6) Combination method

Online business owners often use this method when they want to restock and send goods to their warehouse. This is a comprehensive service that combines UPS delivery with air or ocean freight services.

Shipping costs from Alibaba to Amazon also vary when using this method. you can choose:

1 Air and UPS combined ($1.5-$1.8 per kg)

2 Ocean and UPS combined ($3.8-$5.3 per kg)

3.Which shipping method should I choose on Alibaba?

In the last chapter, we discussed the five shipping methods. If you are still wondering what the best method to use is, let us first understand a few things.

When you are shipping, there are six factors you must consider:

  1. What kind of products will you send?
  2. What shipping serving will you take?
  3. What is the dimension and weight of the product?
  4. Where are the origin and the product destination?
  5. Is it only port-to-port, or is it door-to-door?
  6. What peak season or memorable holiday shall it fall?

3.1) Shipping process from Alibaba

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Understanding the shipping process when buying from Alibaba is crucial, whether you’re making a small or large purchase. The journey of your products involves various steps that influence your overall experience and costs.

Step 1: Choosing the supplier and making a purchase
Selecting a reliable supplier is key. After choosing the product, proceed with the purchase.

Step 2: Quality check
Assess product quality through customer reviews or by employing an agent for bulk purchases.

Step 3: Evaluate shipping options
Consider the pros and cons of different shipping methods. Assess the trade-offs between cost and speed, whether opting for cheaper sea freight or faster air freight.

Step 4: Select the right Freight Forwarder
Choose a forwarder with a direct route and minimal touchpoints to reduce risks.

Step 5: Engage a Customs Broker
Delegate customs clearance to professionals who can streamline the process and ensure a smooth import.

Step 6: Coordinate shipping with the Alibaba supplier
The supplier will facilitate the shipping process and arrange the delivery with the chosen courier or forwarder.

Step 7: Payment to the Freight Forwarder
Make payments to the freight forwarder through various available payment channels such as wire transfer, PayPal, or Western Union.

Step 8: Monitor the shipment
Use the shipper’s tracking service to monitor your package. Contact the forwarder for any shipment issues or delays.

3.2) Factors affecting shipping costs in Alibaba

Several factors contribute to the overall shipping costs associated with Alibaba transactions. Understanding these factors is crucial for effectively managing costs and budgeting for your shipments. Below are some of the key elements influencing Alibaba shipping costs:

  1. Transportation to Port Fees:
    Transportation expenses from the supplier’s location to the port of origin are typically shouldered by the buyer, depending on the weight of the shipment. This cost can range from $100 to $500.
  2. China Export Clearance:
    The buyer is responsible for securing various essential documents for customs clearance, incurring costs that include the authorization fee, typically ranging from $100 to $300.
  3. Alibaba Cost of Shipping from Freight Forwarders:
    Freight costs vary based on shipment quantity, volume, and weight. Local charges imposed by authorities also contribute to the total shipping cost.
  4. Insurance:
    Buyers often opt for insurance coverage to protect their shipment against damages, theft, or other unforeseen events during transit. Freight insurance typically covers the period from the supplier’s location to the final delivery address.
  5. Important Documents Delivery Fee:
    Couriers like DHL or FedEx may charge a minimal fee for shipping essential documents such as records, invoices, or licenses.
  6. Port Fees on the Destination:
    Port authorities may impose charges for utilizing their facilities and services, contributing to the overall cost of the shipped items.
  7. Custom Bonds for Alibaba Shipping Cost to the US:
    When importing goods valued at more than $2,500 from China, a customs bond is required by the CBP. This bond serves as an insurance policy, reimbursing the US government for any duties and taxes incurred during the import process. Single-entry bonds typically cost $100 to $200, while continuous bonds range from $200 to $500.

4.Best Tips on How to Save Alibaba Shipping Costs

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1) Consider hiring an Alibaba agent to assist with shipping. Reputable companies like wozo sourcing with leading freight forwarders to identify the most cost-effective shipping options for your needs, thereby reducing overall shipping costs.

2) Opt for shipment consolidation to minimize expenses. Shipment consolidation involves sharing container space with other shippers, allowing you to pay only for the space your package occupies. This method can result in significant savings, particularly if you have flexible delivery timelines.

Consolidated shipment can sometimes result in a quicker delivery time because all items in the container or load are destined for the same location. This option is particularly beneficial if you have a shipment that exceeds 150 kilograms in weight.

Making a shipping cost comparison is crucial to find the best freight forwarder for your company. Requesting quotes from various shipping companies and comparing Alibaba’s average shipping costs with other available shipping methods can help you make an informed decision.

While Alibaba’s express shipping costs are typically higher, a reliable shipping agent or company can provide you with price comparisons to help you save. If the Alibaba shipping cost calculator doesn’t align with your budget, exploring alternatives such as consulting with companies like wozo sourcing can be beneficial.

It’s also important to check and select the best Alibaba freight forwarder. If high shipping costs are impeding your order, freight forwarders can offer services that ensure smooth and secure delivery while minimizing risks. China freight forwarding companies, for instance, can devise shipping strategies to reduce costs and ensure safe and smooth delivery using optimal routes and services.

5.FAQs on Shipping from Alibaba

Some frequently asked questions about Alibaba transportation and delivery.

1)How much does shipping cost from China Alibaba?

TypeShipping TimeCost Estimate
Courier or Express Freight2-15 Daysvaries
Air Freight8-15 Days$4-$8/kg
Sea Freightup to 60 Days$.50-$2/kg
Combined Servicesup to 15 Days$1.5-$5.3/kg
Small Parcelsup to 60 Days$1-$3/kg

2)Ocean Freight and Combined Freight Services are typically the most economical and cost-effective shipping methods from China. However, the choice may vary depending on factors such as the need for expedited delivery or the nature of the products, especially if they are perishable.

3)Understanding key Alibaba shipping terms is essential. Some important terms include:

  • Free on Board (FOB): In this shipping mode, the manufacturer covers all transportation expenses to the port, and you are only billed for the shipping fees from the port to your final destination.
  • Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF): This term is advantageous for buyers as the supplier covers sea freight costs to your designated port and inland transit within their country.
  • Ex Works (EXW): With this option, the supplier transports the goods from their warehouse or manufacturing facility to the port for shipment to the destination. It is typically the most expensive shipping option, and you are responsible for covering the shipping costs from the factory to the port and from the port to your final destination.

4)Alibaba does not offer free shipping as a standard option. However, it does provide shipping cost discounts and a range of shipping options, including air mail and EMS. To potentially receive free delivery, you would need to negotiate with the seller and come to an agreement on pricing terms beforehand.

5)What does Freight Forwarding by Fulfillment Services include?

Follow services are included in Fulfillment Services

-Cargo pickup

-Inland transport

-Item check & warehousing

-Customs declaration

-Air/sea freight

-Customs clearance


Customs clearance and delivery in the destination country will be provided by the third-party service provider.

6. Conclusion

Alibaba’s shipping costs may appear high due to various factors, including the emphasis on safe and secure shipping, high charges for sellers, marketing and advertising fees, and the added expenses for customized products compared to ready-made ones. Additionally, shipping terms and fees can significantly impact the overall cost of your products. Despite these factors, there are numerous ways to mitigate these costs and save on shipping.

Alibaba can indeed reduce shipping costs, especially for bulk stock shipments that are reasonably priced. Wholesalers on often offer various methods to cut shipping expenses. Utilizing the expertise of an agent can also help in finding practical and cost-effective ways to manage your shipping fees. With the challenges faced by the shipping industry, particularly during the pandemic, adjustments have led to higher shipping fees globally.

Finding a reliable agency or freight forwarding company that can assist in identifying cost-saving measures is crucial. If you require assistance with your shipping requirements, please feel free to reach out to discuss your specific needs.

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