Getting Things Posted from Abroad

I’m acutely aware that I’m cheap. Many others, when getting things shipped from abroad (especially Asia), will use DHL-type services. Those big international names that can guarantee delivery across the globe in 3-4 days. But that comes at a price. Literally.

For example – from China to UK for an 850g (max weight) parcel (set of PCBs actually) will cost me:

  • $24 US (£19.04 GBP) if using DHL (may take 3-5 days)
  • $16 US (£12.69 GBP) if using HK Post (may take 15-30 days)
  • $12 US (£9.50 GBP) if using China Post Registered Air (may take 25-40 days)

So I’m patient. I’ve used HK Post twice and they have arrived without an issue. I’m just waiting on one via China Post.

Tracking

Tracking is important. It’s useful (and exciting!) to see how your stuff is transiting the globe – and does give you confidence that it will actually, eventually, turn up!

HK Post’s tracking system (http://www.hongkongpost.hk/en/mail_tracking/) is actually quite good.

China Post’s tracking service is a little more hidden and difficult to navigate (as a non-native speaker), but I’ve found this website serves me needs http://track-chinapost.com/ (yes, you will occasionally get “Server Busy”, but just retry again and it works).

For electronics components, I often use Thailand Post and their tracker is here: http://track.thailandpost.com/tracking/default.aspx?lang=en

Examples

  • PCBs from fab in China to UK, was “Delivery Ready” on 6/1/2017 10:58:06 PM, and delivered in the UK 10-06-2017 09:34 via HK Post – so around 9 days.
  • PCBs from fab in China to UK, was “Delivery Ready” on  5/29/2017 6:26:32 PM, and delivered in the UK 07-06-2017 12:02 via HK Post – so also 9 days.
  • PCBs from a fab in China to UK, was “Received” by China Post Group 2017-06-16 23:40:29, and I haven’t received it as yet. I think it has now landed in the UK (using tracker that happened 20/6), so that’ll be about 5 days and counting.

In conclusion, don’t be put off by the “my take up to 30 days” warnings that make you feel that you should go for a much more expensive service – if you’ve got the patience, and don’t need things immediately, it is often cheaper to wait a little longer. This is especially true when the components themselves are only a fraction ($5 US in some instances!) of the postage!