This article is contributed by Loke Si Hui who was studying at Nanyang Business School
As my time in Shanghai draws closer to an end, it means that it is now time to pack up and head back home. After a long year in the land of Taobao completing my Overseas Entrepreneurship Program, I ended up with not just learnings to takeaway but also a mountain of Taobao goods.
Determined to bring all my possessions back, I started to find the shipping method with the lowest cost. Eventually, after some research, calls and emails, I managed to find a way to ship my 130KG worth of items for a total of SGD280.
I started off my auntie quest by asking for shipping recommendations on international group chats and on this weblink. I later continued to expand the list via web search to increase my chances. Finally, to get the quotations, I made several calls and emails as well.
Quotation from one of the Chinese Logistics Company that replied
Quotation from one of the International Logistics Company that replied
Prices were so exorbitant I almost wanted to just throw away my items and purchase them again in Singapore. That was until I found Ezbuy. You can check additional resources here for the best shipping services.
Seeing that prices per kg are cheaper as the weight accumulates, I decided to include my friends and pool the weight so the overall shipping cost per person is reduced. We then embarked on our shipping quest. Here are the steps and tips to share from my personal experiences:
1. Create an EzBuy account
Make sure you have a Singapore number. All numbers and payments are Singapore based.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a number, get a family member or friend to help.
2. Go to My Account à Ship for Me à Forwarding
3. Submit New Order
Pro tip: Under Submit New Order is the contact details and address of the Forwarding Warehouse. Deliver your items personally. From what I found out, the address is invalid – it is a place to receive kuaidi (deliveries).
Pro tip 2: We downloaded Huolala (货拉拉) APP to call for our minivan pick-up. It has the cheapest rates in the market. However, Huolala only covers the transportation so if you’d like some help in moving, you’d have to agree separately with the driver.
Suggestion: Get your friends to ship together and help move
4. Creation of New Order
Pro-tip: Here are the things I keyed in:
“Other Merchants” à Product URL: <Random Taobao Link> à Courier Company: Others; Personal à Parcel Tracking Number: <My phone number> à Remark: Delivered Personally
5. Find your order reference number
After you have created your new order, you can find your order reference number under à Processing.
My Order Pro-tip: Write your order reference number and phone number on all the boxes which you are shipping. This is for them to track your parcel.
6. Take note of chargeable weight
I ordered my boxes from Taobao and had them delivered to my place. Chargeable weight is charged according to either real weight or volumetric weight, depending on which is higher. I considered my box sizes in tandem to the expected weight of the items I’d be shipping.
Pro-tip: I chose boxes that are a lightweight material (cardboard boxes). According to EzBuy customer service, volumetric weight is calculated according to L*W*H/6000.
7. Pack boxes for shipping
After packing up, I sealed it securely with tape and wrote the reference number on my boxes.
Pro-tip: Make sure all edges are sealed and the sealing is sturdy! This is to ensure your contents will not drop out or become dirty during the whole shipping process.
8. Arrange a delivery timeslot with the contact person on the Forwarding Address
Pro-tip: I called to check for operating hours of the address. The last I checked, they were open from 9am to 6pm. But always remember to arrange a timeslot so he knows to expect you!
9. Arrange for your Huolala Minivan to arrive
Pro-tip: I will suggest you deliver it personally to the forwarding address because the courier company might not know where to drop it off at, and it’s safer to see for yourself where your package is going.
10. Go to the forwarding address
Go to the drop-off area for delivery parcels once you reach the forwarding address. You can ask the guardhouse at the community if you are unsure where it is at.
Pro-tip: Note down the date and timing of your personal delivery
11. Make payment on EzBuy
After dropping it off, make your payment online on the EzBuy website.
Pro-tip: Give it 2-3 days and check if there are any updates on your account. If not, drop Customer Service a request to track your parcel. The reference number, date and timing of your delivery will come in handy.
Check your chargeable weight and make your payment. I chose sea-shipping and home delivery (for an extra $25) because my package is HUGE.
Pro-tip: Check the collection methods for the different tiers of weight. My evaluation criteria that made me decide on Home Delivery were: Convenience and Cost. Home delivery for me is cheaper as I could save on a cab ride, time, and labour cost
Pro-tip 2: Search on ezbuy for any ongoing promo codes. I applied one that offered a 30% discount, and saved an additional 15-20 SGD!
And this is it! Hope this helps anyone facing issues in shipping their items from China to Singapore. Good luck! Want more tips and information about living in Shanghai? Check out The China Experience – NOC Shanghai!