Are you facing issues in calculating Alibaba shipping costs to the USA, UK, and European countries?
Are you planning to or already buying products from Alibaba?
Calculating the right shipping cost is very important for your online business. It is because you take buying decision after the estimation of the product’s cost and shipping cost.
If you make any mistake in calculating the shipping cost, it may result in you getting the product at a higher cost which makes it very hard to sell.
To save you from a bad experience, we have compiled the ultimate guide to Alibaba shipping costs to the USA, UK, and European countries, since these are the most popular destinations. We’ll cover all essential information related to shipping costs, different shipping methods, and tips to minimize shipping costs.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Overview of Alibaba Shipping
Alibaba is an e-commerce giant that has established itself as a pioneer in the global trade industry. Especially when it comes to sourcing private label products from China, businesses around the world frequently turn to Alibaba as their preferred platform.
The platform’s user-friendly interface provides businesses with quick access to real-time tracking and other essential shipping-related information, ensuring that their products are delivered on time and in excellent condition.
1) What is Alibaba?
Alibaba was founded in 1999. It’s a Chinese multinational company that runs a broad spectrum of businesses, including e-commerce, retail, internet services, and cloud computing.
Alibaba is best known for its flagship e-commerce platform, Alibaba.com, which connects businesses worldwide. In addition to this, the company also owns several other prominent online marketplaces, including Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress. These websites target different audiences and serve different purposes, which are described below:
- Alibaba is the world’s largest B2B (business-to-business) online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers from all over the world.
- It is best for small and medium-sized businesses to source large quantities of products directly from manufacturers and suppliers.
- It is suitable for buying products at low prices, although shipping fees can be expensive and minimum order quantities are often high.
- AliExpress is a global online retail platform whose sellers may be individuals or companies.
- AliExpress is unlike Amazon because it only acts like an e-commerce platform. Simply, it doesn’t directly sell products themselves to buyers.
- At AliExpress, you may encounter higher prices but can often find free or cheap shipping.
- Taobao is a Chinese-only e-commerce website.
- It is a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace, allowing individuals and small businesses to buy and sell products in China.
- Tmall is also known as Taobao Mall. It is a B2C (business-to-consumer) online retail platform in China.
- It offers high-quality branded products from top manufacturers and retailers.
Overall, with its significant presence in the global e-commerce landscape, Alibaba has become a vital player in the technology industry and a primary driver of China’s digital economy, surpassing even Amazon in terms of sales revenue.
2) Factories vs Trading Companies on Alibaba
If you’re looking to buy products on Alibaba, you may come across both factories and trading companies as potential suppliers. However, to completely leverage their advantage, it’s essential to understand the differences between the two.
Factories are the actual manufacturers of the products they sell. That means they have control over the production process and give lower prices as a result.
Additionally, working directly with a factory can offer you greater authority over the customization of your order and faster lead times.
Trading companies act as intermediaries between the factories and the buyer. They can provide numerous products and have established relationships with several factories, giving you more options to choose from.
They also facilitate additional services such as quality control and logistics, making the buying process more convenient.
Ultimately the choice between a factory and a trading company depends on your specific needs and priorities.
So, if you’re looking for lower prices and greater customization, a factory may be the best way to go. But if you’re looking for more options and additional services, a trading company may be a better fit.
3) How Long Does Alibaba Shipping Take?
The duration of shipping times for Alibaba orders is a common query among buyers seeking to engage with the platform. It is important to note that the shipping time depends on the seller’s shipping policy, the product type, and the destination.
Typically, Alibaba sellers offer two main types of shipping – standard shipping and express shipping.
Standard shipping is the common method offered by most sellers and takes around 15 to 45 days for delivery, depending on the buyer’s location.
On the other hand, Express shipping is a faster shipping option that typically takes 3 to 7 days for delivery but may be more expensive. As such, it is always best for you to review the shipping information provided by the seller and select the shipping option that best suits your needs.
Chapter 2. What are the Different Shipping Means Given by Alibaba?
Alibaba provides different logistic options that facilitate goods shipping from China to your selected location. It is vital to consider the cost-effective method.
For Example, air shipping is the quickest, while sea shipping takes longer. However, air transport is more expensive compared to ocean transport.
So without further wait, let’s look at the different shipping means that Alibaba provides.
1) Express Shipping
It is a fast and reliable shipping method that delivers goods quickly using express couriers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx. This shipping method is ideal for businesses that require urgent delivery of goods. However, some of their shipments even take 3-5 business days.
2) Air Freight
Air Freight is a shipping method that uses airplanes to transport goods from one location to another. This shipping method is ideal for businesses that want to transport large quantities of goods quickly and efficiently.
Its delivery time frame can vary depending on airline schedules, typically taking 8 to 10 days.
Then, what sets Express apart from Air Freight?
The average cost of Express is around $5 to $10 per kilogram, with a delivery time of 3 to 5 business days. Meanwhile, air freight costs $4 to $8 per kilogram and takes 5 to 10 business days for delivery.
3) Regular Post
Regular Post is a China shipping method that uses postal services to transport goods. This shipping method is typically slower than express and air freight, but it is a cost-effective option for businesses that do not require urgent delivery of goods.
It is the best method to deliver small packages like samples or parcels, but it may be a little unsafe.
4) Sea Freight/Ocean Freight
Shipping by sea may take longer, but it is cheaper and allows you to ship heavy products. It might take 30-60 days, depending on your location.
Not to mention, ocean shipping may be done in FCL (using the entire container yourself) or LCL (sharing the container with others.)
So you may select between these two according to the number of your products.
Chapter 3: Factors Affecting Alibaba Shipping Costs to USA, UK, and Europe
There are multiple transportation stages that fall under different intervals. Different interval means that there are different costs applied to these stages.
When you order a product, it goes through some stages and all of these stages impose certain costs that further contribute to the shipping costs. These intervals are described as:
1) Supplier Warehouse to Port Transportation Cost
When you order a product after the negotiation, it goes to the production phase. And, when the product has been produced, your supplier contacts you to confirm the product’s checklist (color, size).
When you confirm these, the product moves forward and the supplier arranges the transportation to the nearby port. The supplier sends the product from the factory to a nearby port. And, that charges around $50-$480.
Now let’s say your goods were made in Guangzhou city, but the shipping port is in Ningbo. For sure this will increase the price because transporting a 20ft or 40ft container from Guangzhou to Ningbo is very expensive compared to shipping from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and using Shenzhen port to ship the products.
2) Export Clearance Cost
After the product reaches the port, Chinese officials perform a detailed check on the product and it gets verified. Then, the product can start its journey toward your country.
If the officials find any fault in the product, it can lead to legal issues or impounding of the item. So, this is an important step. You can avoid this by following the guidelines of customs. And this part is usually handled by the supplier.
All the costs are included in the FOB price and it ranges from $100-$300 or even more. Sometimes due to the wrong declaration of goods, customs may put some penalties.
Usually, it is given by the supplier side but he may force you to pay this price by using bad tactics. This will increase your overall shipping cost.
3) Shipping Insurance for Alibaba Shipping
Insurance may seem irrelevant and not important in the process. But, it makes sure that you get your money in case of any mishaps. The insurance company covers the costs and charges a little amount for it.
If you are looking to minimize the shipping cost, there is no need for shipping insurance. However, different shipping insurance covers different things during the shipment so choosing the shipping insurance can affect your Alibaba Shipping cost.
4) Freight Cost to USA, UK, and Europe
Freight cost is an important factor when talking about international shipping. Freight costs are basically charges that are imposed by shipping from the port of departure to the port of destination.
For each region (UK, USA, or Europe), freight charges are different. These costs include international shipping and costs from the supplier’s end.
Plus, it also includes the costs of local authorities. For instance, this cost can go above the $1000 mark. During Covid19, this cost went so high even up to 4000$ per container.
5) Port of Destination Costs
This is one of the major costs that a buyer has to face when shipping from Alibaba. Port of destination cost is basically a cost that local authorities impose when your product comes to the destination port.
This will include customs duties, container handling costs, container inspection costs, and others. Depending on these different costs, the overall shipping costs can increase or decrease. So a proper calculation of all these costs must be done beforehand.
6) Document Delivery (FedEx/DHL)
Document Delivery cost comes under extra charges and it does not affect the overall price with that much factor.
The cost includes documents like certificates, invoices, records, and papers and that can range from $50-$60. Courier services like DHL or FedEx charge these costs.
7) Customs Bond (For USA) Cost
If you are a buyer that is trying to get items in the United States, there is a need to get your hands on a customs bond.
If your products are worth more than $2500, you have to get the customs bond; otherwise, you cannot move your items.
There are two types of customs bond
- Single entry customs bond
- Continuous customs bond
If you are conducting business on a regular basis, you will need a continuous customs bond. For one-time transactions, a single-entry bond is enough. These bonds can range between 100-200$ (single-entry bond) and 250-450$(Continuous bond).
8) EORI Number (Europe and UK) Cost
Like the USA, the EORI number is for importers from China who want to get items in the UK or European Union. For the UK, make sure you have an EORI number. This is different from the EORI number.
EORI number comes under VAT which is imposed by these countries. It can range according to this scale
- $450 for China to the UK
- $600 for China to each European country
9) Local Transportation Cost in Destination Country
This is the last cost that you have to face. When you get your hands on the product, it is time to get them moved to your warehouse. This moving is usually done by heavy trailers and trucks.
All of this depends on your desire and you can choose the delivery method. The cost in this stage is usually calculated by the distance from the port to your warehouse. But, extra factors like size, amount, or fragility can also increase transportation charges.
It usually takes $50-$500 from your pocket.
You might also like to read: Shipping Routes: A Complete Guide About Major Routes of China
Chapter 4: Alibaba Shipping Costs to USA, UK, and Europe
This chapter highlights the costs of shipping products from China to the USA, UK, and Europe. The section also contains aspects like on what basis costs are calculated and what are the shipping routes.
In general, Products from China take three major routes
- the Pacific
- the Atlantic,
- the Indian Ocean
Note: All the costs provided in this chapter are for reference only.
1) Alibaba Shipping Costs to the USA
For moving products from China to the US, the most common route that ships use is entering the Pacific route. The ships enter through the South China Sea, and then it goes to the Sea of Japan through the Okhotsk and enters the Pacific Ocean. With this route, ships can reach Latin America and the West of the US.
In the US, the ports that handle goods from China are
- Eastern America: HOUSTON, NEW YORK, SAVANNAH, MIAMI
- Western America: LOS ANGELES, SEATTLE, LONG BEACH, OAKLAND
a) Cost of Sea shipments (20ft, 40ft, and 40ft HQ containers)
When you are shipping items from China to the US, there are various sizes of containers that are available. The standard ISO container has the dimensions of
- 8 feet wide
- 8.5 feet high
- Comes in either 20 or 40-foot lengths
- Special HQ containers are 9.5 feet high
Usually, sea freight from China to the USA costs around $1500-$3900 per container. Dividing these containers into 20″ and 40″, the cost is divided accordingly and that is
- $1500 for a 20ft container
- $3500 for a 40ft container
- $4000 for a 40ft HQ container
b) Cost of Airfreight
You can also get your items using the Air freight option. The method is usually fast than the sea freight method. But, it is more expensive than the other one.
If you wish to import items from China to the US using the air freight method, make sure that you understand the cost. For understanding, the cost of air freight from China to the US is normally $2.50-$5.00 per kilogram. This can be higher also depending on your products.
c) Express Air shipping Costs (Real Weight vs. Dimensional Weight)
The last method to look at when calculating Alibaba Shipping cost is express air shipping. An express method is pretty expensive when compared to other methods. The companies that provide this are usually FedEx or UPS.
When you ship an item using express freight, the price is calculated using the weight of the product. Now, there are two factors in express air shipping, and that is real weight and dimensional weight.
-> Dimensional weight: If you are shipping products that are lightweight but are in large volume, the shipping price will be calculated using dimensional weight. The formula for dimensional weight is
Dimensional weight= Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm)/ 5000
-> Real weight: For products that have a heavier weight and take less space, the price is calculated using real weight.
To give an idea, a product that has a weight ranging from 0.5kg to 5kg can have shipping of $20-$85 in express shipping.
2) Alibaba Shipping Costs to the UK
When products are moving through China to the UK, the common route that is taken is the Atlantic route. Ships move towards the South China Sea and enter the Indian Ocean. Then ships take the path towards the UK.
In the UK, the ports that handle imports from China are
a) Cost of Sea Shipments (20ft, 40ft, and 40ft HQ containers)
Talking about the cost to import a container from China to the UK lies around the scale of $1300-$2000.
Further dividing the scale among different container sizes (Estimated idea)
- $1300 for a 20ft container
- $1796 for a 40ft container
- $1950 for a 40ft HQ container
b) Cost of Airfreight
There is also an option to import items from China to the UK using air freight. But, again it is more expensive than the sea shipping method.
Usually, the cost for air freight shipping is about $1.50–$4.50 per kilogram.
c) Express Air Shipping Costs (Real Weight vs. Dimensional Weight)
The express air shipping costs are almost the same as the cost for the USA. There is a slight difference present when it comes to the UK being nearer to China than the USA.
For instance, a product of 5 kg of weight costs around $80. Again, different products will have different shipping rates. The rules are the same for express air shipping as they are for the USA and the formula for dimensional weight is also the same.
3) Alibaba Shipping Costs to Europe
For reaching Europe, there are two routes, one is the Atlantic route and the other is the Indian Ocean route. Indian Ocean route is usually taken by large transporter ships.
The ports in Europe that are handling the products are
- LE HAVRE
a) Cost of Sea Shipments (20ft, 40ft, 40ft HQ containers)
For defining the costs of sea shipments in Europe, let’s look at this table that has prices defined according to some of the countries in Europe.
|From China to Germany||$1174-$1225|
|From China to Italy||$1441- $1500|
|From China to France||$1344- $1400|
|From China to Germany||$1752-$1824|
|From China to Italy||$2151-$2289|
|From China to France||$2006-$2200|
40″ HQ container:
|From China to Germany||$1800-$1932|
|From China to Italy||$2298-$2466|
|From China to France||$2100-$2345|
b) Cost of Air freight
Airfreight from China to countries in Europe can be expensive. But, on the brighter side, you will get your items quickly. The cost of air freight to different European countries is given below.
|From China to Germany||$5.2-$5.5 per kg|
|From China to Italy||$5.8- $5.9 per kg|
|From China to France||$4.9-$5.1 per kg|
c) Express Air shipping Costs (Real Weight vs. Dimensional Weight)
As for Express Air shipping, DHL, UPS, and FedEx are handling this method. For your reference, an estimate for 0.5-5.5 kg of express shipping from China to European countries ranges from $25-$90.
The algorithm for calculating the dimensional weight is the same when talking about shipping containers from China to Europe.
Also read on: Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: The Ultimate Guide
Chapter 5: How to Calculate Alibaba Shipping Costs?
There are various tools available that can be used to calculate Alibaba Shipping costs. Some of the tools show the exact value of your container. These can be pretty helpful when doing the process.
Here are some of the famous tools.
1) Use Alibaba Shipping Quote
Alibaba itself provides shipping calculations. You can put information like LCL or FCL shipment, select the origin, and the destination, and Enter the Gross weight as well as the Gross Volume in CBM.
Then, the Alibaba Artificial Intelligence system will calculate the shipping price and provide you with a quotation.
2) Use Dutycaculator
Dutycaculator by Ecomcrew has gained a lot of attention among many importers. The tool enables the importers to calculate the various types of shipping costs.
With this tool, importers can select the port of departure, port of destination, and shipping method. The rest is done by the tool itself.
It will give you a somewhat exact figure of the shipping cost at the end of the process.
3) Cost Calculator by Parcelment
The second tool is the cost calculator by Parcelment. This tool contains a modernized method to calculate the shipping cost.
Factors like product cost, destination, weight, and dimensions can be set accordingly on this tool and it will do the rest. Plus, you can also change the shipping method (Air or Sea) and can compare the values.
4) Using Easyship.com Shipping Rate Calculator
Easyship provides eCommerce sellers with solutions to ship their products worldwide. You can use their calculator to calculate your shipping costs. All you need is to provide the Origin country and its zip code. Provide the destination country and finally the weight and unit of weight.
The calculator will automatically calculate the shipping cost for you. Do note that these costs are just to get an idea and estimate costs. The final cost is only provided by your freight forwarder.
Chapter 6. How to Minimize Alibaba Shipping Costs?
Alibaba has helped various trading companies and businesses worldwide quickly source products from China. It has become a go-to option for almost every importer and trader when sourcing Chinese goods at wholesale rates.
However, the shipping costs remain a daunting challenge for worldwide importers when doing business with Alibaba.
Shipping costs can be a business hazard, adding to your total expenses and reducing profit margins. Fortunately, there are ways to save on Alibaba shipping costs without sacrificing product quality.
This chapter will provide a flowchart outlining the super 7 essential tips to help you minimize Alibaba shipping costs.
So, let’s dig into them in detail.
1) Optimize Your Product Packaging
Optimization of product packaging is one of the simplest ways to reduce Alibaba shipping costs. Alibaba shipping costs are based on the weight or volume of the goods. Therefore, if your packaging is bulky, you may end up paying more shipping charges than necessary.
Optimizing the product packaging helps reduce package volume, which eventually saves money on shipping costs.
Moreover, properly packaging your products can also help lower the risk of damage during transit. However, consider using lighter and more compact packaging materials to reduce the weight and size of your shipment.
Therefore, take a closer look at your packaging to see if there is any extra space that you can remove without compromising the products’ safety during transportation.
2) Plan Logistics and Shipment Routes Wisely
Logistics is the key when we talk about shipping products from Alibaba at reduced shipping rates. Logistics refers to evaluating and analyzing the most efficient route and transportation mode.
There may be multiple routes that you may consider for transporting your goods, but choosing a suitable one is the real success.
Alibaba shipping costs can vary depending on the shipping route, whether by sea or air.
You can alleviate it and improve delivery time by optimizing your shipment route planning and finding the most economical Alibaba shipping method. Therefore, take time to research and analyze different shipping routes and transportation modes.
3) Consolidate Your Shipment
Consolidating the shipment is another way to save on Alibaba shipping costs. If you have multiple orders from different suppliers, consider consolidating them into one shipment.
It would help you source bulk orders at lower shipping costs, as the transportation fee depends on the product weight and volume.
Shipment consolidation can also help you reduce the risk of loss or damage during transit. If you order small quantities of goods from different suppliers, you can save money by combining them into a single shipment.
However, if you need help consolidating your shipment, you can take assistance from any reliable sourcing agency. Various sourcing agencies offer product storage and shipment consolidation services. Therefore, choose an experienced China-based sourcing company like EJET, and get your shipment consolidated at the best prices.
4) Evaluate Costs Using an Online Shipping Cost Calculator
The online shipping costs calculator is an excellent tool that helps you evaluate shipping charges in no time. It also assists you in determining customs requirements to avoid any potential issues during shipment.
Once you analyze the shipping charges using it, you can easily choose the most cost-effective shipping method to ship Alibaba goods.
Therefore, you must use an online shipping calculator to estimate Alibaba shipping costs based on your shipment requirements accurately. On the contrary, you can also get a shipping quote from a trustworthy sourcing agency like EJET. They will guide you about the most suitable and economical transportation methods.
5) Hire a Reputable third-party Sourcing Agency
If you find it challenging to navigate Alibaba shipping costs, consider working with a professional sourcing agent like EJET. We provide transparent pricing and listings from Alibaba suppliers directly to your doorstep.
EJET professionals handle all shipping chores without even letting you get out of your comfort zone. You can contact our sourcing consultant for a brief consultation cost— that too without any cost. Isn’t it the best deal? Contact us to book your slot today!
6) Choose a Reliable Freight Forwarder
Choosing the right freight forwarder is critical to saving on Alibaba shipping costs. An experienced freight forwarding company can easily manage your product packaging, shipping, and customs clearance.
Besides managing your shipping logistics, it also helps you find the most cost-effective and economical shipping options.
Therefore, consider hiring a professional freight forwarder with experience managing shipping and customs. They can help you avoid unnecessary shipping costs and quality problems. They may also negotiate better rates with Alibaba suppliers on your behalf.
7) Analyse Shipping Costs with Other Shipping Companies
Analysis and comparison of shipping fees between different freight companies is another essential tip for deciding on a cost-effective shipping forwarder. When comparing shipping costs, it’s vital to consider more than just the price.
Some freight forwarders may discount the first shipment to win the sale but return it in subsequent loads. Additionally, some freight forwarders may hide fees in their terms and conditions to make their offers more enticing. Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct your due diligence and consider different shipping providers’ overall value and service.
Moreover, avoid hiring shipping forwarders working at significantly low prices that seem too good to be true, as they could be scammers.
Suggested reading: How to Ship Freight Successfully? The Ultimate Guide
Chapter 7. FAQs About “Alibaba Shipping Costs”
1) Which is the cheapest shipping solution on Alibaba?
There are multiple shipping methods from Alibaba that differ in shipping costs. The cheapest shipping method from Alibaba is using the sea freight option. It has lower shipping costs than air freight. The downside of sea freight is that it takes a longer delivery time compared to air freight.
2) Why is shipping so expensive on Alibaba? Or is it a misconception?
There is a misconception that Alibaba Shipping is expensive. Actually, Alibaba shipping is relatively more economical than express delivery by UPS or FedEx.
The shipping rates on Alibaba depend on the weight and dimensions of the product. These parameters are directly proportional to the Alibaba Shipping cost and can result in higher values if not taken care of.
3) How do I save shipping costs on Alibaba?
There is no way to save the Alibaba Shipping cost. But, you can lower the shipping costs by following these points
- Use minimal packing
- Use the Sea freight method
- Negotiate shipping rates with the supplier
- Plan and optimize the shipping route
- How much does Alibaba charge for shipping?
For general goods weighted starts from 0.5 kg to 10 kg, the shipping fee is around $20 to $100, from general goods, weighed from 10kg to 20kg the shipping fee is around $100 to $200, for goods, weighed from 21 kg to 100 kg the shipping fee is around $200 to $500.
4) Should I use an agent to help me ship from Alibaba or do it myself?
It is better to use an agent like EJET Sourcing when you are using Alibaba Shipping. That is because these agents have inside knowledge of what documents are required, which shipment method is economical, and what terms are used in buying from Alibaba. They can be of great help if you are new to this business.
Alibaba is one of the most popular platforms that is used by importers from America, the UK, and Europe. That is because there are thousands of suppliers available on this platform that are offering millions of items, making it a perfect solution to start a new business.
Shipping from Alibaba is a complex step and can result in mishaps if not taken care of properly. And it requires a good amount of funds if you are trying to ship the item internationally because there are multiple steps required.
As for Alibaba shipping costs, we have compiled this guide that covers each and every aspect of this related topic. The guide contains different shipping methods and their costs to help you further select the best shipping method.
For any further assistance and knowledge, feel free to contact EJET Sourcing.