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How Long Does Alibaba Take To Deliver To South Africa?

Are you intending to import products from Alibaba to South Africa but worrying about the shipping time? Do not worry! We have got you covered! In this article, we will discuss everything you should know before placing an order from Alibaba to South Africa. We cover everything from the basics to how long it takes  Alibaba to deliver to South Africa.

About Alibaba.

The website is one of the Alibaba Group’s projects, having been created in 1999. This internet platform facilitates global wholesale trade by connecting numerous merchants and buyers.

The platform also connects wholesale suppliers with interested consumers looking for products in over forty categories such as clothes, electronics, auto parts and accessories, sports, machinery, horticulture, and cosmetics, among others.

These products are then transported to over 190 countries throughout the world, including South Africa, where customers can resell them in their respective enterprises.

Shipping options Alibaba to South Africa 

Understanding the variety of shipping options available for a seamless and cost-effective delivery process from Alibaba to South Africa is essential. The following details outline the different shipping methods to South Africa, along with estimated delivery times:

1). Air Freight Services from China to South Africa:

With its speed and convenience, air freight from China to South Africa is gaining popularity. Despite being pricier than sea shipping, air freight provides a faster solution for those requiring prompt delivery of their goods. By partnering with a freight forwarder in China, businesses can benefit from swift and dependable shipping services without incurring additional costs due to delays or damages.

What is the average duration of air freight from China to South Africa?

Typically, standard air freight from China to South Africa takes approximately 8-10 days for delivery. However, utilizing express delivery courier services can ensure the arrival of items within a couple of days. This option is ideal for individuals seeking quick and cost-effective shipping solutions.

The cost of air freight consists of a variety of charges and surcharges, such as air freight charges, fuel surcharges, security fees, terminal fees, and other additional costs. These charges are established by different airlines based on their operational expenses. Airlines regularly adjust these charges to align with factors like seasons, international oil prices, and demand fluctuations.

Air freight charges are computed by multiplying the number of kilograms in a shipment by the cost per kilogram. Airlines impose a fixed fuel surcharge rate per kilogram, regardless of the distance traveled by the cargo. This surcharge, fluctuating according to international oil prices, contributes to the overall air freight cost.

Additional surcharges are subject to frequent revisions, influenced by factors like seasonal variations, international oil prices, and market demands. Therefore, variations between airlines may occur periodically, with adjustments possibly taking place every few months or weekly.

Best Practices for Air Freight to South Africa

Attention must be paid to several factors when opting for air freight services from China to South Africa. Once your air transport arrangement is confirmed, detailed information about the cargo including weight and dimensions must be provided. 

Following confirmation of the itinerary, the freight forwarder in China will furnish details regarding the flight departure time and any other essential information about your shipment.

The air freight cargo must be packaged following the regulations stipulated by the airline. The packaging requirements may vary based on the nature of the goods being transported. 

For fragile items, it is essential to affix a fragile label on the outer packaging. Moreover, apart from the address label displayed on the exterior of the packaging, it is advisable to avoid including any other irrelevant markings.

Route Information for Shipping from China to South Africa

Curious about the shipping route from China to South Africa? The process is straightforward. Commencing from key seaports in China such as Shenzhen, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, and Xiamen, vessels navigate directly to South Africa. This established route is frequented by freight forwarders, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey for your cargo until it reaches its destination.

2). Sea Freight Charges from China to South Africa

For those contemplating the transportation of goods from China to South Africa, having a clear understanding of sea freight costs is essential for effective budgeting and selecting the most economical shipping solution:

Rates for a 20-Foot Container: The typical cost for shipping a 20-foot container ranges from US $1,800 to US $1,860. This container size is commonly preferred due to its cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency.

Rates for a 40-Foot Container: For larger consignments, the rate for a 40-foot High Cube (40HQ) container is approximately US $2,530. The additional space in this container type allows for the transportation of bulky goods in larger volumes.

Factors Affecting Costs: The final shipping expenses are influenced by various factors, such as the choice of carrier, seasonal demand fluctuations, and other logistical considerations.

Shipping by Ocean: Comparing FCL and LCL

When it comes to ocean freight, there are two main options to consider: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than a Container Load (LCL) shipping.

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping

Opting for FCL shipping means reserving an entire container (either 20ft or 40ft) for your cargo. This method is most cost-effective for larger shipments and offers significant cost savings for businesses shipping in bulk.

Less than a Container Load (LCL) Shipping

On the other hand, LCL shipping allows you to pay only for the space occupied by your goods within a shared container. This is a suitable choice for small-scale businesses and individuals shipping smaller quantities, as it combines multiple shipments into one container for efficient transport to South Africa.

Shipping Duration from China to South Africa

The journey from China to South Africa via sea transportation typically takes around 25 days from port to port. If you opt for door-to-door shipping services, the total transit time extends to approximately 30 to 35 days across the sea.

3). Door to door shipping from China to South Africa

For your international shipments under DAP or DDP terms, a convenient door-to-door delivery service is at your disposal. You have the choice between two main types of door-to-door delivery: trucking and express-door delivery.

Trucking delivery involves transporting your items by truck from the originating point to your designated location. This method, which typically takes 1 to 2 days for transit, is more cost-effective than express services but pricier than ground transportation.

DDP Shipping Charges for Routes between China and South Africa

Opting for DDP terms when shipping your products can lead to cost savings while eliminating the hassle of dealing with taxes and duties, thus saving you both time and money. Partnering with a freight forwarder like Super In’l Shipping streamlines the shipping process for you.

DDP shipping from China to South Africa offers various options, including sea, road, rail, or air freight. Before the export of your goods from China, you will need to provide your Chinese supplier with the necessary documentation.

Widely favored in South Africa, DDP Shipping is also referred to as Door-to-Door (D2D) shipping. With this method, the recipient can expect to receive their package directly at their doorstep without incurring any additional fees.

The consignee must be present at the specified delivery address to receive and sign for the shipment. The shipping company then assumes responsibility for any damages or losses that may occur during transit. DDP Shipping is deemed highly secure as it does not involve any third-party intermediaries in the delivery process.

DDP, which stands for “Delivery Duty Paid,” entails the seller bearing all expenses associated with transporting your cargo, including transportation and insurance costs. 

In contrast, FOB (Free on Board) requires the buyer to cover all costs up to a certain point, after which they assume responsibility for the remainder of the journey. This method is widely utilized by businesses across different industries for shipping goods between South Africa and China.

Before being exported, cargo must undergo customs clearance procedures in China.

DDP Shipping Guidelines for Shipping from China to South Africa

DDP shipments from China to South Africa may have varying transit times depending on the mode of transport.

Air freight for DDP shipments from China to South Africa typically takes 7-10 days to arrive.

Meanwhile, sea freight shipping by LCL from China to South Africa usually has a transit time of 35-40 days.

Shipment requirements

When sending DDP shipments from China to South Africa, please adhere to the following requirements:

– Ensure that no items violating intellectual property rights are included in the shipment.

– Prohibit sending any illegal goods.

– Items should be marked with “Made in China” on both their packaging and SKU labels.

– The outer carton, in addition to the original packaging, should be new and robust. It is recommended to use transparent tape for sealing and avoid colored tape.

– The weight limit for DDP shipping from China to South Africa ranges from 11kg to 21kg per shipment. The maximum gross weight per waybill is set at 30kg.

– The minimum chargeable weight per shipment for DDP shipping from China to South Africa is 100kg.

– Ensure that the total weight of all items in the shipment does not exceed 30kg.

4). Express Shipping Options from China to South Africa

If you require expedited shipping services from China to South Africa, express shipping services provide the quickest delivery options. Below is the Express Shipping Services

and their transit times 

FedEx Express

Known for its efficient logistics, FedEx Express guarantees delivery from China to South Africa within 2-3 days, including customs clearance procedures.

DHL Express

DHL’s global express network ensures reliable delivery within 3-5 business days for urgent shipments between China and South Africa.

UPS Express

Offering a dependable service similar to DHL, UPS Express provides efficient shipping with delivery times matching its competitors.

TNT Express

With a significant market presence, TNT Express offers rapid shipping options that closely rival the delivery speed and reliability of DHL and UPS.



The time taken for delivery depends on the chosen shipment method and can vary significantly:

Shipments via sea from China to South Africa usually require around 25 days. This estimate may change due to factors like customs procedures and port activities.

For expedited shipping, air freight provides a quicker option with an average transit time of approximately 5 days. Although faster, air freight is generally more costly.

For a balance between speed and affordability, courier services offer delivery from China to South Africa within 5-7 days. This option is commonly favored for small packages and important documents.

To sum up, it’s important to be patient as shipping times may differ because of unexpected events. Keeping in touch with your shipping provider will allow you to stay informed and deal with any issues that come up. Monitoring your shipment and setting realistic expectations will help you prepare for the arrival of your goods.

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