ePacket Shipping: An Updated Guide

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Man preparing a package for ePacket shipping

The unexpected rise of online shopping due to the pandemic has led to the proliferation of many new online stores. Most of these online retail outlets sell products sourced from outside the United States, from places like mainland China and Hong Kong.

In the past, shipping from these territories took over eight weeks. These days, you can expect your orders to reach your customers in two weeks (for regular orders) and as long as a month (during the holiday season and Black Friday), all thanks to ePacket shipping.  

In this article, you’ll learn more about what ePacket shipping is, how it works, and how it can help you serve your customers better. We’ll also answer some of the frequently asked questions, including delivery standards, ePacket shipping time, tracking, and more.

Table of Contents

What is ePacket Shipping?

ePacket is a shipping option used by vendors from China and Hong Kong to ship goods quickly to the United States and other countries. It’s the preferred shipping service of most dropshippers, mainly because it gets products to customers within a few days or weeks instead of months.

Short History of ePacket

How did ePacket get started? This service is the result of an agreement between the US Postal Service and their counterparts in Hong Kong and China. In an announcement by the USPS, they described this agreement as something that is aimed at encouraging growth in the eCommerce industry. 

This collaboration is also meant to give eCommerce store owners more options when it comes to shipping goods. It came about due to a number of factors, including the projected increase in trade between these countries and the need to get products shipped more quickly.

ePacket isn’t actually a new thing. It has been around for 10 years, but it is getting a lot of attention these days due to the increase in online buyers and sellers. The use of ePacket in shipping orders from China and Hong Kong actually began in April of 2011.

ePacket Delivery Basics

If you’re a dropshipper and you want to use ePacket for your shipping needs, you should first check with your supplier to determine if they use this service. Most suppliers specify their shipping options in their stores. If they don’t, you’ll have to reach out to them and ask.

If you’re looking for suppliers on AliExpress, you can easily find those who use ePacket when you install compatible apps or extensions. 

An extension that can help is AliExpress ePacket Finder. It has customizable settings through which you can filter out products that cannot be shipped via ePacket. Additionally, you can input the countries where you intend to sell to verify if ePacket is available in those locations.  

Screenshot of a search result page on AliExpress, with AliExpress ePacket Finder Chrome extension activated
Screenshot from AliExpress

Countries that Accept ePacket Shipping

At first, ePacket was only used to ship items from Hong Kong and China to the US. These days, however, you will find that the service actually lets you deliver your packages to a host of other countries. 

To date, the service allows shipping to 44 countries, including the US and parts of Europe and Asia. Here is a complete list of ePacket countries:

  1. Vietnam
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Ukraine
  5. Turkey
  6. Thailand
  7. Switzerland
  8. Sweden
  9. Spain
  10. South Korea
  11. Singapore
  12. Saudi Arabia
  13. Russia
  14. Portugal
  15. Poland
  16. Norway
  17. New Zealand
  18. Netherlands
  19. Mexico
  20. Malta
  21. Malaysia
  22. Luxembourg
  23. Lithuania
  24. Latvia
  25. Japan
  26. Italy
  27. Israel
  28. Ireland
  29. Hungary
  30. Hong Kong
  31. Greece
  32. Great Britain
  33. Gibraltar
  34. Germany
  35. France
  36. Finland
  37. Estonia
  38. Denmark
  39. Croatia
  40. Canada
  41. Brazil
  42. Belgium
  43. Austria
  44. Australia

Recommended Reading: Best Payment Gateways for Dropshippers

How ePacket Shipping Works

How does this shipping option get your customer’s order to their doorsteps? They do this by working with the postal service of the country the package is being shipped to.

The path that a parcel takes from supplier to buyer via ePacket is quite easy to follow. For example, if a buyer from the US orders an item, the package is picked up and handled by a local carrier in China or Hong Kong. They then send it to the US via the international carrier they choose to work with. 

When the package reaches the US, the USPS then delivers it to the buyer’s doorstep. For other countries, the local carriers there will take care of the package. Examples of these are the Japan Post, Canada Post, and Deutsche Post. With this, how the package gets to your customer is partly dependent on the delivery process of their country. 

ePacket Requirements You Need to Know

In order to have a package shipped to your customers using ePacket, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Packages should meet the weight and size limits for delivery. There are minimum and maximum size limits as well as weight limits for these. 
  • The minimum size allowed for packages being shipped using ePacket shipping is L: 14 cm x W: 9 cm. The maximum size, on the other hand, is L: 60cm x W: 90cm x H: 90cm.
  • For rolls or cylindrical packages, the minimum length is 10cm and the maximum is 90cm. 
  • The weight of the package should not exceed 4.4 lbs or roughly 1.99 kg. There is one country, however, that allows heavier packages of up to 6.6 lbs or 3kg to be delivered via this method, and this country is Israel.
  • The value of your package should not exceed $400.

To illustrate the size requirements more clearly, here is a guide created by Shopify:

Screenshot of Shopify’s guide on ePacket’s package size requirements
Screenshot from Shopify

How to Track an ePacket Package

If you want to check whether or not your delivery arrived at its destination, you can track it using the post tracking number provided by your supplier.

This tracking number should consist of 13 alpha-numeric characters. It usually starts with two letters followed by nine digits, and it ends with CN. It should look something like this: LM123456789CN. 

With a tracking number, you and your customer can check where a package is via the USPS site, the ePacket China Post site, or other third-party tracking sites.

If you use AliExpress, you can easily check the status of your delivery since these platforms have their own tracking systems in place. If you ordered through AliExpress, you can check the My Orders page, click on Track ePacket, and find the shipping details on the Logistics Information page.

Recommended Reading: Wiio Package Tracking Number

ePacket Shipping Advantages and Disadvantages

Dropshippers have quite a number of options to choose from when it comes to shipping their goods to their buyers. A lot of them, however, opt to use ePacket shipping.

To help you understand why this is their choice, here are some advantages and a few disadvantages to using ePacket delivery:


It’s cheaper 

If you check the prices for shipping on AliExpress, you will notice that other delivery options will cost you or your buyer a lot. For example, if you were to deliver a pajama set to the US from China and you chose ePacket, chances are, this can be delivered to your buyer for free. If you were to choose UPS, DHL, or some other similar courier to deliver it, either you or your buyer will need to pay around $20 for shipping.

It’s faster 

This is one of the main advantages of ePacket shipping and why most dropshippers use it for their business. If you were to ship your products without using ePacket, you can expect it to get to your buyers in six to eight weeks. If you use this medium, however, the package can get to them in under a month. This, of course, is dependent on the location of your buyer.

It’s trackable 

Another good reason why ePacket is used by numerous sellers online is its traceability. With the tracking number, you can check where your packages are at any given time and via various tracking sites.

They’re reliable

Millions of customers have already received their packages using this method of delivery. ePacket’s reliability is also evident in how well they’re able to follow their delivery timelines and in the favorable condition of the packages when they arrive. 

Undeliverable packages are returned for free

There will be times when a package cannot reach its destination. When this happens, it will be returned to the supplier at no extra cost to anyone. 


It isn’t available worldwide 

While ePacket shipping can already deliver to 44 countries, there are still a lot of countries it cannot serve. There are actually 195 countries in the world, which means it only serves approximately one-fourth of the globe.

It has size, weight, and value limitations

As mentioned above, ePacket can only be used to deliver smaller and lighter packages. You cannot use it for high-ticket items. If you have larger items or more expensive products on your site, you will need to find another way to ship these to your buyers.

Customers may need to shoulder customs costs

Some items and some countries may charge applicable taxes on certain packages upon delivery.

Customs taxes are an international shipping issue and are not something that ePacket has control over. If you want to be upfront with your customers, it’s a good idea to ask your supplier for information on customs fees buyers will have to pay on goods they order. You can then note this on your site, so buyers are aware of any additional fees they may have to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions About ePacket Shipping

While you can now understand what ePacket shipping is and what it can do, there are a few more questions that beg to be answered on the subject. To address these, here are some common questions people ask that you might want to know the answers to as well:

How long will it take to deliver a package to certain countries?

On average, packages bound for the US will take between seven and 20 days before they reach their destination. You start counting the days from the date of shipment of the item.

Packages bound for Mexico can take 20 business days, while those bound for Brazil may take between 20 and 30 days before getting to the buyer. Orders bound for Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Russia can be received in as little as seven business days or as much as 15 business days.

You should also be aware that deliveries may arrive later than expected, depending on a number of factors. These include holidays, weather problems, domestic issues, and other events that can influence delivery time. Another thing to keep in mind is that due to the pandemic, additional safety measures may be in place to ensure the safe and uncontaminated transport of parcels.

To help manage your customers’ expectations, it’s best to put some allowance to your store’s shipping information. If you’re sure that shipments can arrive within 15 days, for example, inform your customers that it may arrive within 20 days. This way, even if the delivery is delayed by a few days, your customers will still think their order is on-time. 

What if my country doesn’t offer door-to-door delivery for ePacket?

When an item is shipped to a destination that doesn’t offer door-to-door delivery, chances are that the package will be held at the local post office.

Make sure to inform your buyers of this possibility. They will be notified once their local postal service receives their order, and you should let them know that they’ll need to pick up their delivery when that happens. 

What are some alternatives to ePacket shipping?

Despite the many advantages of ePacket, it isn’t always the best for all businesses. If you have products that are bigger and heavier than ePacket’s standards, for example, then you or your supplier will need to look for alternatives.

Here are some of the commonly used alternatives to ePacket: EMS, DHL, UPS, FedEx, AliExpress Standard Shipping, AliExpress Premium Shipping, and eExpress.These alternatives usually charge higher fees than ePacket, but they could be as prompt and reliable.

eExpress, in particular, was created to help sellers whose products don’t fit ePacket’s requirements. According to its site, the company can ship to all countries—including locations where ePacket isn’t currently available.

The downside, however, is that eExpress requires sellers to send inventory. They will store the inventory and then package them as orders arrive, and you as a seller will need to pay them weekly for their service. With this arrangement, we can say that eExpress is less ideal for merchants who are using the dropshipping business model.   

Recommended Reading: How to Start Dropshipping: A Definitive Guide

The Bottom Line on ePacket Shipping

If you are thinking of trying out dropshipping or are already doing so but are not using ePacket shipping yet, you are already missing out on a lot. You may soon find yourself losing customers to competitors who utilize the speed and reliability of this shipping option.

To take full advantage of the low prices and fast delivery of this service, you simply need to find suppliers who have this on their delivery options.

Looking for a one-stop dropshipping partner in China? Wiio Dropshipping manages all aspects of the dropshipping process for youincluding product sourcing and purchasing, warehousing and quality control, as well as order fulfillment. 

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