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EMS vs ePacket: Which is Best For Dropshipping From China?

EMS vs ePacket, which is best for dropshipping from China?

This article will cover the differences between EMS and ePacket and explain why ePacket is better for dropshipping than EMS.

What is ePacket?

ePacket is one of the most common shipping methods used by dropshipping suppliers in China. 

This popular shipping method is the outcome of an agreement that China and Hong Kong governments have with the United States Postal Service (USPS) and other countries to ship light packages to these countries at a relatively cheap price.

List of ePacket Countries

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam

ePacket Shipping Times

Even though they are fair-priced, ePacket deliveries take between 10-20 working days which is a lot faster than other shipping options in China. 

ePacket deliveries are prone to delays from holidays, bad weather, and other reasons such as the coronavirus pandemic.

ePacket Size Restrictions

ePacket packages should not exceed 4.4lbs (2kg) in weight or USD400 in value. 

ePacket packages have to be larger than 14cm in length and 11cm in width but cannot exceed 90cm in total (length + width + height <= 90cm).

ePacket Tracking Number

ePacket tracking numbers always consist of 9 digits and start with LK/LQ/LM/LN/LS/LX/LZ or AG. ePacket numbers will always end with CN as well. 

e.g. LK173987654CN.


What is EMS?

EMS which stands for Express Mail Service is a part of China Post.

EMS is the service you would use when shipping larger package from China to global locations.

Unlike ePacket, EMS is not restricted to 45 countries but has access to more than 200 countries.

EMS Shipping Times

They offer faster shipping than ePacket with delivery times of 5-10 working days.

This is primarily because EMS shipments have priority over ePacket.

EMS Size Restrictions

EMS has far fewer restrictions than ePacket, while ePacket is limited to just 2kg or 4.4lbs, EMS packages can weigh up to 40kg depending on the destination country.

EMS weight by country:

  • USA: 31.5kg
  • UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Korea, France, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore: 30kg
  • Philippines: 20kg
  • Malaysia & Hong Kong: 40kg

EMS Tracking Number

EMS tracking numbers always consist of 9 digits and start with E. ePacket numbers always end with CN as well.

e.g. EE2397368CN

EMS Extra Features

EMS has a higher priority when going through customs, which decreases the delivery time compared to ePacket.

There is no customs clearance fee.

If there is an issue with the package and needs to be returned, this will be done free of charge.


Are EMS and ePacket the Same Service?

Technically, EMS and ePacket are two different services.

However, EMS is the global service that is responsible for ePacket. 

This does not mean though that they are one and the same, as ePacket is far cheaper but comes with more restrictions and has less priority.


EMS vs ePacket: Which is Better For Dropshipping?

While regular EMS packages coming from China have priority over ePacket, the shipping times differ so little it is not worth the extra money you’ll be paying.

AliExpress sellers are known to charge as high as $50 for EMS shipping while they charge USD0 – 5 for ePacket shipping.

Paying for EMS will drastically cut into your profit margins while offering you a slight increase in overall shipping time.

Therefore, ePacket should always be used over EMS for dropshipping.

With the only exception being high-ticket dropshipping of bulky items.

If you’re dropshipping to a country that does not support ePacket, you should opt for another affordable, tracked shipping method such as AliExpress standard shipping, Yun Express, or China Post Air Mail.


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