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International Shipping With China Post

Shyam (244 posts) • +2

I recently needed to start closing up my Kunming home office and return to the U.S. for business. I'd imagined being here much longer, so I actually purchased a good bit of "dongxi" for my place. Suddenly, I needed to leave and I immediately figured I'd need to sell/discard everything, due to the price of international shipping. But, there turns out to be just one exception to this: China Post Surface shipping. Their rates for surface (sea) shipping are low, by anyone's standards.

If you can put up with the 45-60 day delivery time, its the way to go. Anything up to 1kg is 83.5 RMB ($13.58). For every kg over this, you add 20 RMB ($3.25). The maximum shipping weight is 30 kg. The maximum size is maximum package length + maximum package circumference, up to 3 meters. So, there is quite a bit of latitude for what you can send. The biggest, heaviest package you could have would be $107, but this is unlikely. Most of my boxes were only 9-10 kgs. The biggest was a digital safe that I really liked that was stuffed with other things. The parcel held about $600 worth of stuff and cost about $83 to ship.

China Post gives you a nice value-add, too. In addition to packing your stuff, they provide these nice, heavy-duty boxes, bubble wrap, heavy-duty tape, AND they apply this heavy nylon strapping so your box can't burst open, or be easily tampered with.

But, there are some things you need to know:

1) The China Post folks need to inspect and pack your stuff. There are certain items (like knives) that are prohibited. Take the stuff to the China Post office for them to box, or you can buy boxes ahead of time (for 11 RMB) and don't tape them shut.

2) Take a friend who speaks and writes Chinese with you. The staff usually speaks little English and the forms require some Chinese information.

3) Create big "To"/"From" address labels in your destination country language, for your packages. This is a simple precaution to take, in case the China Post label is lost, damaged, or illegible for the postal workers in your country. Either attach them to your boxes beforehand, or take them (along with a roll of clear packing tape) to the China Post. After they pack your box, they will allow you to attach it. (Note: Take your own clear tape.) Use the tape to cover the entire surface of the label.

4) Be prepared for some strange objections to what you send. For some reason, you can't send knives of any kind. They kicked out my scissors, kitchen knife, and pocket knife. For some reason, they didn't let me send my Brother P-Touch labeler, or the refill tapes. They also get a bit nervous with anything that looks like medication. (In my case, they let me send most of the stuff I had.)

Here are some helpful links:




Good luck!

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

Usually intl po won't ship anything with batteries. You must remove the batteries.

jopasny (184 posts) • 0

Good to know about the knives... I actually sent over a set of good cooking knives via a 30 kg surface parcel when I moved here, now I'm wondering how to send it back. Does anyone know if you can you send knives via other methods? I don't know if I'd dare pack them in my luggage when I eventually leave.

Shyam (244 posts) • 0

Actually, there is a vast difference between knives you can carry in checked vs. carry-on luggage. Any sort of weapon is totally banned, along with weapon-like knives. In general, no knives are permitted in the cabin. But, in checked luggage you seem to be able to take non-weapon like knives. I plan to pack my kitchen knife and kitchen cleaver in checked luggage. Take a look at the Air China regulations and see what you think:


blobbles (958 posts) • 0

Yep, I have taken knives multiple times on checked luggage.

Be careful with tools though on carry on too - I have had a bike tool confiscated on a no tools policy (this was through Sydney though, particularly hard core, for little reason other than to be hard core).

jopasny (184 posts) • 0

I figured it's probably fine for checked bags, but you never know. I already tested the security screening at the Beijing airport earlier this year when I forgot about a big fuck off camping knife I forgot to repack to my checked baggage. That was awkward!

Shyam (244 posts) • 0

On my last trip to the U.S., I had an shocking, yet funny surprise. After my carry-on was X-rayed, the security guard said to me, "You have a knife...yes?" Confused, I said, "no, I don't think so". This led to detailed search of my bag. After a few minutes, they pulled out this blue carabiner that I bought in Shenzhen to hold my bag straps together, when they ship. I've done this for years and I am always buying new ones to replace ones I lose. In this case, the carabiner had a little hidden surprise. The security guard pulled at this metallic tab that I always assumed was some sort of locking release. To my horror, it turned out to be the most vicious little serrated, mini survival knife. I was speechless. Fortunately, the security lady didn't pursue it any further.

Ahh...beware the mysteries of the East. :)

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

Shortly after 911, the HK airport police confiscated my fingernail clippers. I had to buy a new one on the other side of customs...and that's additional support for why I have negative (less than zero) respect for most security boffins.

Strain for a gnat, let a camel pass through...

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