Why is Alibaba Shipping So Expensive?

Find out why shipping can be so expensive on Alibaba and how to avoid being taken advantage of by overpriced shipping fees.

Why is Alibaba Shipping So Expensive?

Have you ever wondered why shipping costs are so high on Alibaba? It can often be frustrating to find the right product at the best price only to have it jacked up by high shipping fees. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what's driving those costs and see if there is anything that can be done about it. 

What Is Alibaba?

Alibaba.com is a B2B online marketplace. The platform is secured, trusted, and used by millions of businesses. Alibaba shipping is relatively higher in cost compared to other shipping services. You might think it will cost you more to ship products due to the distance, and why should sellers opt for this expensive shipping service. Due to its excellent service factors, Alibaba is chosen over others. Distance and volume are the major cost-accelerating factors. Hence, this is why shipping is so high on Alibaba.

5 Reasons Behind Expensive Shipping In Alibaba

Alibaba is one of the large e-commerce companies. The platform owns and operates diverse companies' portfolios worldwide in various business sectors. The Alibaba shipping charge is quite expensive compared to other platforms. The shipment cost is higher because of the weight and distance factors. The packaging for longer distances charges the shoppers higher shipping charges than other platforms.

The general shipping weight of goods from 0.5 kg to 10 kg is around USD 20 to 100. Therefore, the shipping cost depends chiefly on distance. For example, For shipping to the USA, the space is over 11,000 km, and the deliveries need to be moved by airplane or boat. The sellers must know how much Alibaba shipping costs.

Alibaba is one of the world's largest online marketplaces, connecting buyers and sellers from all over the globe. Given its massive scale, it's no surprise that Alibaba offers competitive shipping rates. However, many shoppers are shocked to discover just how expensive shipping from Alibaba can be. There are a few critical reasons for this:

1. Alibaba Is Based In China

Labor and shipping costs are much higher than in other parts of the world. This is one of the main reasons why goods shipped from China tend to be more expensive.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Ship From China?

2. Alibaba Works With A Large Number Of Suppliers

Alibaba has hundreds of thousands of suppliers, many of which are based in China. This means buyers must pay for shipping from multiple suppliers, which can add up quickly.

3. Alibaba Offers Free Shipping On Some Orders

 While this may seem like a good deal, it's important to remember that free shipping typically means slow shipping. In other words, you may have to wait weeks or even months for your order to arrive.

4. Alibaba Offers Express Shipping

 If you need your order fast, you can opt for express shipping, which is significantly more expensive than standard shipping.

5. Alibaba Has A Minimum Order Requirement

You must purchase at least $500 worth of goods to qualify for free shipping. If you don't meet this requirement, you'll have to pay for shipping, which can be pretty costly. For these reasons, Alibaba shipping can be quite expensive, especially if you're not careful. 

Why Is Optimizing The Shipping Charges Important?

The sellers must know the optimizing methods to reduce the cost price. Optimizing shipping methods like consolidation, packaging strategies, charge estimation, and choosing the correct transportation route is essential to leading a profitable business.

Related: How to Get Cheap Shipping on Alibaba

How To Calculate Shipping Charges? Know The Methods Of Shipping 

Before calculating and estimating the shipping charges in Alibaba, it is essential to know the different shipping methods.

Regular Posting

The regular posting on Alibaba is the standard china post regularly. This takes around 15 to 35 days to reach the final destination. This is also considered the cheapest option for shipment compared to other shipping methods. If you can wait, this can be the right one for you. This shipment method also allows for tracking and tracing online.

Air Express

Air express is another widely chosen shipping method. Transportation with a courier company will be the most suitable method for most people starting. The courier companies in China are UPS, DHL, and FedEx. The air express courier service and an online tracking method give faster delivery times. This shipment method takes about 3 to 5 business days to reach the final destination. 


The sourced products weigh in huge for couriers, for around 100kg air shipment. The shipping cost price through air freight is lower than other courier companies. This is the most suitable for cargo with medium weight. It provides tighter deadlines on security. It varies based on the airlines' schedule, but it generally takes around 8 to 10 days.

Ocean freight/Sea freight

Transporting through the ocean takes a long time, but it can carry large amounts of goods, which drives down the costs. Based on the location, it takes around 30 to 60 days.

Calculation Of Shipping Charges

There are two different weight concepts for calculating the shipping charges. Actual weight and dimensional weight are the concepts. These concepts will let you know how much Alibaba charges for shipping.

Sea freight - dimensional weight = package volume/6000,

Air freight - dimensional weight = package volume/5000.

Related: Amazon Pallet Buyers Guide: What You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Pallet

Tips to Save on Alibaba Shipping Costs

However, there are a few ways to save on shipping costs:

1. Look for suppliers that offer free shipping: While they may be harder to find, some suppliers offer free shipping on Alibaba. This can help you avoid the high cost of express shipping. 

2. Group your orders: If you're ordering from multiple suppliers, try to group your orders to get discounts on shipping. 

3. Use a forwarding service: Many companies will forward your orders from China to your doorstep. This can be a great way to save on shipping costs, as you'll only have to pay for shipping once. 

4. Be patient: If you're not in a hurry, consider choosing standard shipping instead of express shipping. This can help you save a significant amount of money on shipping costs. Alibaba is an excellent resource for finding low-cost goods, but it's essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls, including high shipping costs. Following the tips above, you can avoid these pitfalls and get the best deal on Alibaba shipping.

Related: Shipping from Alibaba to Amazon FBA- Keys to Success for New Entrepreneurs


 So, what's driving those high shipping costs on Alibaba? Unfortunately, there isn't one easy answer. From the high cost of transportation to the need for more significant security measures, keeping shipping fees low can be challenging. However, there are some things that buyers can do to help reduce those costs. If you're looking for help with fulfillment, our team at SImpl is here to assist you. Contact us today, and let us show you how we can help streamline your shipping process and save you money.

Recommended: Shipping From China to Amazon FBA

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