This article was contributed to us by YouTrip.
Have you been eyeing that gorgeous nightstand on Taobao, yet hesitant to buy it because you’re afraid the weight will incur insane shipping fees?
Well fret not, in this guide I’m going to share how you can shop for all the furniture you want from Taobao and ship them over at affordable shipping prices. This way, that dining table will still remain cheaper than Singapore’s prices!
Actual vs Volumetric Weight Shipping
We all know that typically, shipping fees are calculated by the actual or volumetric weight of the item, whichever is higher.
Let’s use ezShip as an example:
- S$0.70 / 0.5kg for sea shipping
- That means a 20kg table is at least S$28 for shipping
The key words being “at least“, because that’s based on the actual weight. One important thing to note is that such shipping charges per 0.5kg block are mainly for smaller parcels only. For bulky items like a table, freight forwarders will also calculate volumetric weight by this formula:
- LxWxH (in cm) / 6000 (or 5000, depending on forwarder)
Assuming the 20kg table measures at 100cm x 60cm x 80cm, then by using the ezShip volumetric formula of “LxWxH / 6000”, the volumetric weight becomes 80kg. This means:
- S$30 for sea shipping from their Shanghai warehouse, and S$40 from their Guangzhou warehouse
- There’s also an additional S$12 home delivery fee
- The total shipping cost for ezbuy’s ezShip will be S$42 from Shanghai and S$52 from Guangzhou
TL;DR shipping forwarders usually charge by whichever weight is higher, and with a 20kg table that measures 100cm x 60cm x 80cm, the volumetric weight of 80kg will be the final chargeable weight.
What is CBM Shipping?
Thus introducing Cubic Metre (CBM) shipping. This method of shipping doesn’t go by the weight of your items. It goes by the parcel size, which makes it great for shipping heavy, bulky items. I’ll explain more on CBM shipment as well as the popular third party forwarders (3PF) that provide this service.
Let’s take the example of the dining table above:
- The CBM formula is LxWxH (in cm) / 1,000,000
- Its dimensions are 100cm x 60cm x 80cm
- Therefore the CBM of that dining table is 0.48CBM
CBM shipment usually charges shipping from a minimum of 0.5CBM. All CBM shipments go by sea shipment due to the weight and bulkiness of the shipment. Thus, as with all sea and land freight shipments, 7% GST will be chargeable based on the declared value of the parcel.
Popular CBM 3PF & Their Rates
Some of the popular 3PF that provide CBM shipping are Oops!, EK Link, and ezbuy’s ezShip.
In this section, I’ll provide you with the shipping rates in four categories, as well as any additional charges. Here are some very important things to note:
- Your parcels will arrive one by one
- Each 3PF will provide a storage duration
- Find out how long the 3PF will provide free storage
Lastly, I’ll be sharing on the platform to contact and use their services, and also tell you my personal favourite 3PF.
|3PF||0.5CBM & below||0.51 – 0.75CBM||0.76 –1.0CBM||> 1.0CBM|
|¥45 (~S$9) / 0.1CBM|
|¥5 (~S$1) / 0.01CBM||¥5 (~S$1) / 0.01CBM||¥550 / 1.0CBM|
|S$50 / 0.5CBM
(Shanghai)S$45 / 0.5CBM
Here are the additional things that you should take note of when using each of the 3PF:
|3PF||Additional Charges||Duration||Free Storage||Platform|
|Oops!||–||10 – 14 days||90 days
(off peak)30 days (peak)
|EK Link||–||12 – 16 working days||60 days||WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat|
|ezShip||Doorstep delivery charges||8 – 15 days||20 days
(≤ 20kg)7 days (≥20kg)
Oops!: For User-Friendliness & Long Warehouse Storage
|Oops! Pros||Oops! Bonuses|
|Simple and user-friendly website, all in English||Can choose to maximise parcel shipping by filling up the remaining CBM
(e.g if your parcel is 0.1CBM, you can fill it up with other items like toilet paper to meet the 0.5CBM tier)
|Easy gauging of size and total cost of orders||–|
|Free storage duration is very long at up to 90 days||–|
Oops! is one of my personal favourite 3PF to use because everything is in English, from their website to their customer service!
EK Link: For Personalised Service & Cheaper Shipments ≥ 0.5CBM
|EK Link Pros||EK Link Bonuses|
|Personalised service via WeChat in Mandarin||Personalised service also includes parcel updates and information about parcel damage if applicable|
|Cheap shipments for parcels ≥ 0.5CBM, charged by 0.01CBM increment||–|
The big caveat is that you have to be fluent in Mandarin. Simply add Elvis on WeChat and you can talk to him to create an account and send your parcels. I’ve also seen many reviews about EK Link, where people mentioned that his service is great. If a parcel is not found, he’ll personally help you contact the delivery man in China to check on the parcel. If any parcels arrive damaged, he’ll also inform you and help you to ship it back to the seller if required.
ezbuy’s ezShip: For Cheapest Rates ≤ 0.5CBM
|ezShip Pros||ezShip Bonuses|
|Easiest to understand pricing structure||Mobile app allows for easy, on-demand tracking of your parcel|
|Cheapest shipping for ≤ 0.5CBM||–|
ezShip is the cheapest shipping option for parcels less than 0.5CBM for a reason; the extremely short free warehouse storage and doorstep delivery being chargeable disincentivises you from buying anything bigger. There’s also the issue of parcel delay, where if one parcel gets delayed, you either ship it to Singapore or pay extra for the storage.
Also, if your parcel exceeds 15kg, you won’t be able to collect from their neighbourhood or MRT collection points. You can only self collect at their Pandan Crescent warehouse. Plus, if your parcel exceeds 80kg, you won’t be able to self collect and must opt for home delivery at an extra charge.
How Do I Ship Bulky Items via CBM?
Regardless of which 3PF you’ve decided to use, you’ll have to create an account. Once you’ve created an account, you will be given a unique China address and you’ll have to copy and paste that into your Taobao account. You can choose to set this address as your default address. If you do so, you’ll be able to purchase all the items available on Taobao, as Taobao will view your location as Mainland China. If your shipping address is a Singaporean address, some items may be unavailable.
Shop as you normally would on Taobao, and when you check out, just double check and ensure that the shipping address is correct.
Once the seller has shipped out your item, you’ll be able to see which courier company they used, as well as the tracking number of the item. Input both these information into your 3PF website or app, or forward this to EK Link WeChat. When the item has arrived, it’ll be reflected in the 3PF website or app, or EK Link will inform you.
After all your items have arrived in the warehouse, you can consolidate and ship out your items to Singapore. If you want to add more items, do so before you consolidate and pay for shipping.
Step 1: Purchase Item & Check Out on Taobao
I recently bought a shoe cabinet from Taobao, so I’ll use this as an example.
Item: Shoe Cabinet
Price: ¥113.70 (~S$22.65)
Measurements: 80cm x 30cm x 84cm
Parcel actual weight: 17.5kg
Parcel volumetric weight: 33.6kg
Parcel CBM: 0.21CBM
Step 2: Input Courier Name & Tracking Number
After the seller has shipped out, I input the courier name and tracking number into the 3PF website. You can find these information by clicking 我的淘宝 > 待收货 > 查看物流 in your Taobao account.
Courier Name: 顺丰速运
Tracking Number: SF1030170824609
Step 3: Consolidate Parcel & Ship Out
When your parcel has arrived at your chosen 3PF’s warehouse, and in my case, Oops!, input your Singapore shipping address. Remember to check the details before you consolidate and ship it out!
Step 4: Sit Back & Wait For Your Parcel to Arrive at Your House
In my shipment, I had 40 other items which included more furniture, toilet paper, clothes, bags, and shoes. Everything added up to 0.73CBM and I paid S$80 for the shipping excluding GST; it would be dependent on the price of the item that you bought. If I were to calculate and divide the shipping fee according to the CBM of each item, this shoe cabinet costed me S$7.46 to ship.
Easy Shipping for Bulky Shopping
Now that you know how to ship by CBM, go gather your mom, dad, uncles, aunties, friends and ship together! Or you could group ship with us Taobao addicts- I mean YouTroopers, in our YouTrip Taobao Alley.
The more you ship at once, the cheaper your shipping will be. You can also use this method to ship over furniture, decor, and fittings for your new home.
I’ve seen folks ship massage chairs (~S$1,200 including shipping) comparable to Osim uDivine, double decker bed frames, storage bed frames, lighting, sofas, dumbbells, yoga mats, karaoke systems, standing mics… and even cheaper Muji products from its official Taobao store. I mean, Taobao is really a shopping haven for a reason.
Master the Taobao guides to open up a whole new world of unbeatable bargains!
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