As mentioned back in November, Amazon.com is now offering expanded speedy shipping from select international Amazon locations to China — including the US. One area that can prove to be a bit complicated is assuring the package clears customs. What follows is a detailed guide to walk you through the process.
Ok let’s begin
You should have received an email immediately after confirming your Amazon order from a company called ECMS Global — the company that handles the middle part (including customs clearing) of your package’s shipping. It should look a lot like this, and it will ask you to follow a link to upload your information for customs clearance purposes.
If you haven’t received this email, check your Junk mail folder. Once you mark it as safe, it will be easy to see next time you need to use the system.
Why is this information needed? Good question.
Basically ECMS Global does a ‘pre-customs send off for information’ before it leaves the US, that way if there is something wrong with the things you’ve ordered it doesn’t get held up in customs, and can be sent back to the supplier with you getting a full refund, and (again theoretically*) not wasting any time.
[* Theoretically because if you don’t upload the info required the whole process stops, if you don’t know that you’re supposed to upload the info, then you never get your package.]
A few of you may be asking, “But I’ve ordered from amazon.com before and they didn’t need any of this crap, why now?” Well, because ECMS seems to use the ‘Individual’ customs declaration as it cuts down on costs, and theoretically cuts down on time, Chinese customs requires you to provide this information. After that they simply transfer it electronically to Chinese customs.
Before this stage your tracking details will probably look a little like this:
If you cannot find the email visit: https://www.ecmsglobal.com/oms/order_consignee. You will be taken to a page that looks like this:
Once you enter this basic information, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:
Click on the flag to change the language to English. This will allow you to upload your passport number as well, instead of the Chinese ID card.
You are now taken to this page:
Enter your passport #, needed for customs. Note: You do not need to upload a copy of your passport, only the number. So for those of you worried about identity theft or security, you needed be concerned.
For the state and city, it seems ECMS uses a fairly standard Chinese location selection widget:
Unfortunately it is all in Chinese, so on this one you might just have to ask the help of a Chinese friend to choose the right one.
Alternatively if you know your province, city, and suburb in Romanized Chinese (pinyin) you could type this into baidu.com and wait for the suggestions to pop up, and then choose this from the menu. For example:
In failing all that, you could contact ECMS directly and I’m sure someone there could input the information for you. However try it for yourself, as it’s not hard and as other Chinese websites run similar information input systems in the end it will be good practice for future.
Once you click “I accept the terms & conditions…” the following page will come up:
You should then receive an update to your tracking:
After you have submitted your information, according to a contact at ECMS, the general process for your package is as follows:
“Basically from now until it actually arrives at your door it takes between 5-10 business days. 4-5 days transit from America, 1-2 day for customs, and then the final delivery carrier (Amazon China) has to deliver it to your door.”
You can track your package at http://ecmsglobal.com/en/index.html# and entering your Tracking ID.
If you receive this message (also see image below) from your tracking information — ‘易客满天津库 / TSN Tendered to local postal carrier for final delivery’ — but it has still not arrived; you need to call this number 400-910-5668 (Amazon China) for information on the final delivery.
Note: ECMS is only responsible for the middle part of the transport. Their American warehouse (Los Angeles or Chicago) transport to China and then they hand off the package to the final destination carrier which is Amazon (China). Thus, if you immediately upload your information into their system, you will receive a tracking image that looks like this:
You may not receive an update for 1-3 days, as your package is in the hands of Amazon (US) and is still on its way to one of ECMS’ warehouses. During this time it seems they do not have the ability to track it. Although, you can contact Amazon if you want to cancel or return the package at this point.
Also once it has been handed across to Amazon (China) after it has cleared customs and left one of ECMS’ China warehouses, they also do not have the ability to track it. Therefore you will have to call Amazon China — 400-910-5668 — if you are concerned about your package. Of course the entire process can be tracked via your Amazon.com account.
If you are purchasing the item yourself, but it is being immediately delivered to someone else (e.g. buying on behalf of someone, or as a gift), adjust the supplied information as follows:
- I.D. Information = Buyer (email corresponding to Amazon account)
- Address & Phone number = Receiver of package. (This information is passed on to Amazon China for final delivery)
Hopefully this guide is helpful. If you have any other tips or experiences about ordering from Amazon.com (or elsewhere), we look forward to hearing them in the comments.