Alibaba Freight Forwarders: Everything you Need to Know.

International shipping can be difficult and unpredictable. Any company involved in cross-border trade is highly concerned with finding ways to move products affordably and quickly from the manufacturer’s warehouse to the final customer. It is crucial to properly prepare the documentation for processing shipment and customs clearance to avoid delays and extra costs. 

Freight forwarders use their international shipping experience to negotiate and manage the movement of goods in the most effective manner possible, with the help of their great network of contacts. While many carriers and companies are involved, their response rates may vary, and their charges may be discouraging. Because of this, most businesses typically use freight forwarders or forwarding agents to assist with transporting their goods across international borders.

Seeing how important freight forwarders are to international shipping and Alibaba shipping, it is necessary to understand how freight forwarders work, how to find the best in China, and the documents they need from you to help handle your shipping. 

This article will address everything you need about Alibaba freight forwarders, so you will know how to choose the best one. 

What is Alibaba?

What is Alibaba?

First, what is Alibaba?, a part of the much bigger Alibaba Group, is a B2B e-commerce platform that has quickly grown to become one of the largest marketplaces in the world. Alibaba links suppliers, mostly from China, to buyers from all over the world. To understand more about this platform, and the great benefits of shopping on it, check out our exhaustive Alibaba guide here.

What is a freight forwarder?

What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is a professional company specializing in organizing the transportation of goods by land, air, or sea, i.e., they manage the shipping of goods from the supplier to a buyer. Freight forwarders are a critical component of the global supply chain and are relied upon by businesses of all sizes, from large companies to small home-based businesses. Read our guide on freight forwarders here to understand better.

One of the most reputable freight forwarders in China is DFH. Click here to contact us or inquire about our services.

What does an Alibaba freight forwarder do?

What does an Alibaba freight forwarder do?

An Alibaba freight forwarder is a business that specializes in planning, storing, and shipping on behalf of its shippers. Typically, it offers a comprehensive range of services, such as creating shipping and export documentation, warehousing, reserving space for cargo, negotiating freight rates, cargo insurance, etc. The China freight forwarder also ensures that international shipments comply with international trade policies.

In other words, a good freight forwarder will provide dependable and affordable shipments while saving you time and hassles. This is why rather than using Alibaba shipping, many customers prefer to use forwarders.

Here are some of the activities a freight forwarder performs on a regular business day;

  • Warehousing and storing buyer’s goods until it’s time for shipping at a low unit price. The products might need to be kept while shipping space is being reserved and the products are being packaged correctly.

  • Picking up goods from the supplier’s factory and the necessary documents and product details for export clearance.

  • Liaising with international freight carriers to arrange for shipping of goods through ocean freight, rail freight( mostly to Europe), air express, air freight, or truck freight.

  • Customs clearance at the destination port and storage of goods till they’re ready to be picked up by the buyer or delivered to the final buyer. They can also help with customs and every required duty and tax that should be paid.

  • Final delivery to the destination address after every necessary clearance has been sorted out. They can be loaded on a train or rail for inland transportation delivery.

Make a big and reputable company like DFH your freight forwarder in China. You’ll also get exclusive additional services from the regulars generally provided for customers. These extra services can significantly help to save costs. They include:

Help to buy insurance.

DFH will help buy insurance for clients at a competitive price with no extra charge for handling fees. 

Free of Charge relabeling of Products

DFH would help relabel all your goods and arrange them according to their weights and destinations to avoid confusion during freight forwarding.

Free Warehousing

Free Warehousing

DFH offers 50 days free of charge warehousing, allowing you enough time to have all your goods gathered together from multiple suppliers before shipping them out.

Customs Clearance

DFH can help you export goods from China and provide the customs declaration at the destination country.

Free of charge, packing and repacking

DFH helps to cover every cost of additional materials needed for packing goods and the payment for time spent by workers repacking goods.

Free of charge, quality inspection of suppliers and goods

Free of charge, quality inspection of suppliers and goods

DFH acts as a third-party inspector for you by helping you check out your goods from the suppliers for free.

Free of Charge Pick up & Freight Consolidation

One of the best advantages of cooperating with DFH is that we offer free pickup services from any city within mainland China which saves the cost of moving your shipments from the suppliers to our warehouse.

Pros of choosing Alibaba freight forwarders.

Pros and Cons of choosing Alibaba freight forwarders.

Low Prices and Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-effective, competitive prices are guaranteed when using Alibaba’s international freight forwarding. By combining your shipments and utilizing economies of scale, a freight forwarder can help you save money. A China freight forwarder also assists in negotiating with shipping carriers for the best rates at minimized risks because they have a strong network with different shipping lines and companies.

Language advantage

Working with a freight forwarder fluent in Mandarin can be extremely beneficial if you are not. They can represent you when interacting with Chinese suppliers and assist in negotiating more favorable prices and conditions. The same goes for shipping carriers. This is why they’re able to get you better rates.

Fast processing time

Express shipping is available through international freight forwarding companies on Alibaba. Chinese freight forwarding companies will provide you with efficient services that consider and plan the best routes for the shipment of goods.

To ensure the quality of the orders, the China freight forwarder also keeps an eye on the supplier. Its express delivery service makes it easier for suppliers and customers to communicate.

Reduced risks and increased safety

Before processing the orders, the Chinese freight forwarders will evaluate the risks by inspecting manufacturers, suppliers, and products. Apart from providing cargo insurance and protecting cargo containers, international freight forwarders can also ensure the safety of your goods during transit.

Hassle-free logistics

A freight forwarding company collaborates with you to streamline and lessen the stress of the importation process from China. Given their experience, freight forwarders should be fully knowledgeable about shipping goods from China. Therefore, if you work with a China freight forwarder, they can give you everything you need for your shipments, freeing you up to concentrate on making profits for your business.

Handling of paperwork and guaranteed arrival times

The China freight forwarder from Alibaba guarantees shipment arrival once hired, as they plan the ideal route for shipping and logistics. A freight forwarder would also help to sort out all logistics and paperwork involved in shipping your products from China to your destination address. You won’t have to be concerned about container loading or unloading, customs clearance, or other chaotic circumstances. These procedures can all be handled by your freight forwarding companies. Additionally, all factors are discussed and evaluated in advance, which saves time. 

Save time for your shipments.

An Experienced freight forwarder should have many shipping routes to meet different shipments’ requirements. So if you cooperate with freight forwarding companies, they should always recommend the best shipping route with good shipping rates and efficiency.

Valuable advice and guidance

Finally, freight forwarders are experts in the field. They can provide valuable advice and guidance on issues such as customs regulations, shipping methods, trade assurance order, overseas suppliers and verified suppliers.

In short, using a freight forwarder can save time, money, and unnecessary hassles when importing from China.

Cons of Alibaba Freight Forwarders.

Cons of Alibaba Freight Forwarders.

Everything with an advantage has a disadvantage, right? Some bad situations may arise by using freight forwarders in china. Here are some of them:

Inadequate information

Inadequate information

For various reasons, there may have been improper communication between the forwarder and the shipment’s owner, whether through language barriers or lack of information provided by the buyer. Loss of information inadvertently causes shipping delays and would affect your business. The solution is to ensure you use well-trusted and reputable freight forwarders. Therefore, do your research to find a reputable freight forwarder that guarantees expert services.

Trusting foreign companies with your goods

Trusting foreign companies with your goods

Entrusting your expensive products to the hands of businesses you have no real access to can cause serious worries. There’s always the chance something can go wrong before or during transit, and many businesses find it difficult to deal with a freight forwarder.

Unfair pricing

Unfair pricing

Though it is a risky strategy, you can directly control your costs if you handle all the freight forwarding and documentation yourself. However, you can never be sure of the extra expenses a freight forwarder includes in your costs when using their services.

Many unethical forwarders take advantage of you by charging you more than you would have paid if you had gotten a deal directly from the local transporters, including increasing the shipping fee. This can also be avoided by researching the best possible forwarders, like DFH -One of China’s Leading Alibaba Freight forwarders.

Loss of products.

Loss of products.

There is always a chance that a shipment will arrive with damaged goods or go missing entirely at sea. This is one of the risks to bear when using freight forwarding services. This is one of the reasons it is a great idea to have insurance for your products. 

Also, only entrust the packaging of your products to international freight forwarders that you trust to prevent the loss of products during consolidation.

No Regulations

No Regulations

There are still some regions where the freight industry is not adequately regulated. As a result, various shady transactions are made to transport your goods across international borders. The risk of your goods being damaged, lost, stolen, or seized before they reach your customers is, therefore, always very high.

Using reputable Alibaba forwarding companies like DFH solves most of the questionable problems that may arise from using freight forwarders.

How can I find the right Alibaba freight forwarder?

How can I find the right Alibaba freight forwarder?

After reviewing the fundamentals of freight forwarding, the issue of selecting a freight forwarder is still open. By choosing a freight forwarder, you give control of the smooth, secure, and dependable export and import of your priceless goods to a third party. As a result, you’re searching for one who is capable, dependable, and trustworthy, has integrity and experience, and will offer you the best service at the lowest possible cost. If unanticipated issues arise, you’ll also want to feel confident they have the know-how to solve them. This is why it is very important to select the right freight forwarder.

Before you can select the right freight forwarder, you have to:

Understand the type of freight forwarder you need

Understand the type of freight forwarder you need

International freight forwarders specialize in a variety of industries. Some focus on only bulk orders, others on electrical items, large equipment, machines, etc. When you know the type of products you want to ship, your transportation budget and requirements, and whether or not you need storage, you can streamline your search to select the freight forwarder that will fit your needs more. There are several freight forwarding companies to choose from:

There’s the

online forwarders who perform most of their activities online.

Cost-saving forwarders who help buyers with tight budgets at a competitive cost.

Global forwarders who can help to ensure your goods get to your destination no matter where you are located.

An all-in-one freight forwarder who handles every aspect of your international shipping, including consultation, tracking, delivery from suppliers, payment of all duties and taxes, etc.

Choosing a selection criteria

Choosing a selection criteria

When you know the type of freight forwarder you need, then you should evaluate them further by setting criteria based on your priorities. You should establish a lasting relationship with these shipping companies to prevent the stress and cost of frequently changing your freight forwarder. To narrow down your choices of international freight forwarders, you should consider the following:

  • The trade route that you want to ship your goods through.

  • The type of warehousing you need for your goods.

  • What type of services do you want to be handled by the Chinese freight forwarder, and which do you want to handle yourself?

  • How fast do you want your goods delivered, and through what mode of transportation- sea, rail, or air shipping?

When you find freight forwarders that can handle these, then you can sift through them based further. Experience, compatibility, market reputation, and other factors all play a role in the decision-making process.

Independent Research

Independent Research

Finally, conduct your research. Check through the profile, experience, reputation, response rate, and reviews of any potential freight forwarder. This would help to avoid scammers and suppliers who pose as freight forwarders. Using forwarders based on referrals is also a great choice since you know they can be trusted to some extent.

When you do find a freight forwarder, a business should ensure they have answers to the following questions:

  • Has the freight forwarder shipped from the country of the supplier before?

  • Are they aware of potential local obstacles to exporting your business’s goods and the necessary paperwork? Do they know how to present the thorough paperwork required to expedite clearance?  

  • Do they have good knowledge of ocean freight and the likely shipping routes if the goods are being shipped by ocean freight, or do they have the requisite knowledge if it’s by air freight?

  • Do they have the proper facilities to help store and transport your goods locally to the port?

  • Have they cleared similar commodities at the port of destination before, and do they have a thorough understanding of any tariffs, restrictions, duties, or taxes that may be applied?

  • Finally, do they have connections, a solid network that can handle deliveries at the destination address, and any extra challenges that may arise in that country?

Before asking these questions, do some background research and know the answers to most questions. You can then correlate the responses of the freight forwarder with those you know and use it to assess how successful the freight forwarding company is with orders. It can also be used to determine whether the freight forwarder has previously encountered shipping problems and how they handled them, highlighting their experience and suitability for your transportation requirements.

How much does Alibaba freight cost?

How much does Alibaba freight cost?

Alibaba’s freight forwarding prices vary depending on the supplier, freight forwarder, and the size of the goods to be shipped.

Usually, goods below 10kg tend to be under $100. Goods >10kg but <20kg tend to be under $200. Goods above these till under 100kg can range anywhere around $300-$500.

The shipping service charge is determined by the average weight cost that the supplier sets. Alibaba sets various rates for each supplier.  Before placing an order, you should get in touch to find out the cost and required minimum order quantity. 

Ocean freight is the most affordable way to ship items from Alibaba. This is the best option if you’re shipping large goods. Also, the most expensive shipping method is air freight and should be used when there are time constraints.

In general, you should start thinking about air, rail, or ocean freight as soon as your Chinese supplier’s product weight exceeds 200 pounds. 

How long does the Shipping time from Alibaba?

How long does the Shipping time from Alibaba?

The larger the order, the longer the production and shipping time. The length of the logistics shipment process varies depending on the order and can range from 15 days to 6 months.  

Your order should arrive in 3 to 10 business days if it can be shipped via air express. Contact supplier about this.

Alibaba air shipping times range from 15 to 20 days if using air freight and 20 to 45 days if using rail freight. For Ocean freight, it might take over 2 months or more than 30 days at the very least.

Top 10 Alibaba freight forwarders

Here are the most reputable freight forwarding services in China

DFH Global Logistics Limited

DFH Global Logistics Limited

Located in Shenzhen, China, DFH is the most reputable Alibaba freight forwarding company in China and was established by Jack Zhou in 2009. DFH is well versed in all things international shipping and is committed to acting as a bridge between suppliers and buyers worldwide, ensuring they receive their goods untouched.

Unlike most freight forwarders, we offer our services to small, medium, and large companies alike, which is why we have been a darling for startup businesses looking to make profits on the Alibaba platform. We offer pickup at China factories as the first step in our service to you, followed by delivery to the specified destination address. 

Sinosteel International Freight Co. LTD

Sinosteel International Freight Co. LTD - DFH Global Logistics

Sinosteel International Freight Co. Ltd is a renowned China freight forwarding company established in 1954. It provides a variety of logistics services like shipping management, warehousing, etc., and offers buyers efficiency and quick delivery services.

Sinotrans Long Haul Group Co. LTD

Sinotrans Long Haul Group Co. LTD - DFH Global Logistics

Sinotrans Long Haul Group Co. Ltd. is a freight forwarding company that was established in 2002. It has quickly grown to become one of the biggest international air freight services that provides solutions to many logistics problems. They have representatives on all continents and are arguably the largest freight forwarder in China. They also offer a vast range of services that makes them standard forwarders sourced worldwide.

China Railway United Logistics Co. LTD

China Railway United Logistics Co. LTD

China Railway United Logistics Co. Ltd, also known as CRUL, is a top international freight forwarder that provides comprehensive solutions in the international maritime industry. Their rail service provides great solutions to inland and European shipping at a low shipping cost. It allows exporting of natural minerals and steel to various European countries.

Jincheng International Logistics Group Co. LTD

Jincheng International Logistics Group Co. LTD

Jincheng International Logistics Co. Ltd. is an international freight forwarding company that was established in 1995. They offer cost-effective services and are well known for quick goods processing and delivery.

Jianfa Logistics Group Co. LTD

Jianfa Logistics Co. Ltd is also a big gun in the Chinese freight forwarding industry. Since the year 2000, the company has been functioning competently to deliver freight services and offer logistics solutions to buyers across the globe.

Shenzhen Huayun International Logistics Co. LTD

Shenzhen Huayun International Logistics Co. Ltd. is an international freight forwarding business known for its efficient shipping services and low shipping costs, whether air freight or sea freight.

Zhenhua Logistics Group Co. LTD

Zhenhua Logistics Group Co. LTD

Zhenhua Logistics Co Ltd came into play in the international freight forwarding scene in 1993. They are present in many countries and offer effective logistics and supply chain solutions.

Leeline Sourcing

Leeline Sourcing

Leeline Sourcing is a well-known Alibaba professional freight forwarder that provides logistics services to buyers from Asia and other countries. The business collaborates closely with numerous suppliers to provide effective global logistics.

It offers services like supplier sourcing, product sourcing, and quality inspection services.

Zhongtong Ocean Logistics Group Co. LTD

Zhongtong Ocean Logistics Co. Ltd is another experienced international freight forwarder providing logistics solutions in the shipping industry for many years. Whether sea or air freight, they offer solid goods management and timely deliveries to destination addresses.

FAQs about Alibaba freight forwarders.

What shipping company does Alibaba use?

Alibaba uses courier services, air freight, and sea freight shipping. For the latter two, the services of a freight forwarder are usually required.

Who is the best Alibaba freight forwarder?

As of 2022, DFH is China’s most reputable freight forwarder, offering extensive logistics solutions to the international shipping and maritime industry.


Finally, using a freight forwarder Alibaba is the easiest way to ship. Apart from the stress and risks it saves you, freight forwarders also help to bargain for better shipping costs which can save you money in the long run.

DFH is one of the most reputable freight forwarders in China. Our vast experience and networking ensure we can get your goods delivered to you in any destination country. We also offer lots of additional perks like free warehousing, free quality control inspection, free repacking and consolidation, cheap shipping insurance, and much more. 

Whether air, rail, or ocean freight, we promise to use the most efficient and reliable methods to reduce your Alibaba costs. Contact us today to inquire about our services and receive your quotation.

DFH Global Logistics - China

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