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Why Most Alibaba Suppliers Require Buyers to Have a Shipping Agent in China

Alibaba is the world's largest online marketplace, with millions of registered users and thousands of suppliers. Many of these suppliers operate on an EXW (Ex Works) basis, which means that the buyer is responsible for arranging transportation from the supplier's factory to the final destination. This can be a challenge for many buyers, especially those who are new to importing from China.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why most Alibaba suppliers operate on an EXW basis and require buyers to have a China shipping agent. We will also examine the importance and benefits of having a China shipping agent to help ship your Alibaba purchases.

The Specialization of Alibaba Suppliers

One of the main reasons why Alibaba suppliers operate on an EXW basis is that they are specialized in manufacturing goods, not shipping them. Shipping is a complex and specialized field that requires knowledge of regulations, customs procedures, and logistics. Alibaba suppliers are experts in their respective industries, but they do not have the resources or expertise to handle the complexities of shipping.

By leaving the shipping to a shipping agent who understands the ins and outs of shipping better, Alibaba suppliers can focus on what they do best: manufacturing quality products. This specialization allows Alibaba suppliers to produce goods at a lower cost and with a higher level of quality than their competitors.

The Complexity of Shipping from China

Shipping from China can be a complex and challenging process. There are many regulations and procedures that must be followed, and failure to comply with them can result in costly delays and even fines. Customs clearance is also a complicated process, with many different rules and regulations depending on the destination country.

Having a China shipping agent to help navigate these complexities is essential for any buyer who wants to import goods from Alibaba. A shipping agent can handle all aspects of the shipping process, from arranging transportation to completing customs clearance procedures. This not only saves time and money but also ensures that your goods arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.

The Importance of Communication

Communication is essential when importing goods from Alibaba. Many suppliers have limited English language skills, which can make it challenging to communicate effectively. This can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and even lost shipments.

A China shipping agent can act as a liaison between the buyer and the supplier, ensuring that all communication is clear and accurate. They can also provide translation services, ensuring that both parties understand each other's needs and requirements. This can help to avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your goods are produced and shipped according to your specifications.

The Benefits of Using a China Shipping Agent

There are many benefits to using a China shipping agent to help ship your Alibaba purchases. These include:


A China shipping agent has extensive knowledge and experience in shipping from China. They understand the regulations, customs procedures, and logistics involved and can navigate them effectively. This ensures that your goods are shipped efficiently and effectively, saving you time and money.

Cost Savings

A China shipping agent can help you save money on shipping by negotiating with carriers on your behalf. They can also help you to avoid costly mistakes, such as incorrect customs declarations, which can result in fines and delays.

Time Savings

By handling all aspects of the shipping process, a China shipping agent can save you time and free up your resources. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing, sales, and product development.

Risk Reduction

Importing goods from Alibaba involves some degree of risk, such as lost or damaged shipments, customs issues, and fraud. A China shipping agent can help you to mitigate these risks by ensuring that all aspects of the shipping process are handled correctly and by providing insurance coverage for your goods.

How to Choose a Reliable China Shipping Agent

Now that you understand the importance of having a China shipping agent to help ship your Alibaba purchases, it's essential to choose a reliable and trustworthy one. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision:

  1. Check their experience: Look for shipping agents that have been in the industry for at least five years. Experienced agents will have a better understanding of the shipping process, regulations, and documentation.

  2. Check their network and connections: Ensure that the shipping agent has a strong network of connections with freight forwarders, carriers, and customs brokers. This will help to ensure that your shipment arrives on time and without any delays.

  3. Look for excellent English speaking customer service: The shipping agent should have a responsive and helpful customer service team. They should be able to answer your questions promptly and provide updates on your shipment. Most importantly, they should be able to fluently communicate with you in English in order minimize any misunderstandings when it comes to your shipping needs and requirements.

  4. Ensure ease of payment: While it's important to choose a reliable shipping agent, you also want to ensure that it's easy and convenient to make payments to them. For example, you would not want to use a China Shipping agent which only accepts payment in RMB (Renminbi) because foreign businesses do not have access to paying in RMB. Look for a shipping agent with overseas bank accounts that can take payment in USD, Euros, GBP and other major currencies and this can help you save a lot on currency exchange fees, banking fees and the hassle of waiting many days for overseas bank transfers to get completed.

Final Thoughts

Alibaba is a fantastic platform for finding suppliers for your business. However, shipping from China can be complicated and time-consuming, which is why having a reliable China shipping agent is essential. By working with a shipping agent, you can streamline the shipping process, ensure that your shipment arrives on time, and save money in the long run.

Remember to take the time to choose a reliable shipping agent by checking their experience, licenses and certifications, network and connections, customer service, and rates. By doing so, you can rest assured that your Alibaba purchases will arrive safely and on time, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Need a China-based Shipping Agent to help you consolidate and ship internationally from China?

Why Most Alibaba Suppliers Require Buyers to Have a Shipping Agent in China
Why Most Alibaba Suppliers Require Buyers to Have a Shipping Agent in China

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