Note to self: never ever accept any maker's suggestion to use China Post surface mail again. Suck it up and pay for proper sea freight or airmail.
I have been eagerly awaiting a shipment from Tian Yin since July 22nd, very nearly two months. By ordinary sea freight that would be here by now. Here is what Chinapost says (worth noting for anyone buying items from China with free shipping). This is from http://track-chinapost.com/?p=686. Summary: air mail takes 2 to 8 weeks, surface mail up to six months! The bit about mock tracking numbers at the bottom will be of interest to many.
China Post tracking number has standard formats as following:
format 1: the number starts with “R” and ends with “CN”, i.e. RR123456789CN, RI987654321CN
This is China Post registered airmail. Normally it will arrive destination in 2 to 8 weeks.
format 2: the number starts with “CP” and ends with “CN”, i.e. CP123456789CN
This is China Post registered surface mail. Normally it is much slower than airmail and might take up to 6 months to arrive.
format 3: the number starts with “E” and ends with “CN”, i.e. EE123456789CN, EA987654321CN
This is China Post Express Post Service(EMS). Normally it is much faster than airmail and might take one to four weeks to arrive. The price is also much higher than airmail.
format 4: the number starts with “E” and ends with “CN”, i.e. EA123456789CN, EE123456789CN,
This is China Post EMS parcel. It is fastest and most expensive service.
format 5: the number starts with “L” and ends with “CN”, i.e. LK123456789CN, LN987654321CN,LM123456789CN,
This is China Post ePacket parcel. It is almost as faster as EMS and only a little bit more expensive than airmail.
However, ePacket service is only available to limited countries such as USA, Canada, Australia,UK etc.
format 6: pure numeric 11 digit tracking number like 01234567891 . This is called China Post ordinary small packet(some people call it China Post ordinary airmail parcel). This is cheapest service. The tracking information is very very limited. You can only know shipment date, no further update after parcel leaves original post office.
China Post ordinary small packet is much cheaper than Registered Airmail especially for light weight item because it saves a lot of data entry labor. The arrival speed is similar to REGISTERED AIRMAIL.
All above tracking numbers can be tracked in http://track-chinapost.com
Since many big marketplaces such as ebay, aliexpress, amazon etc REQUIRE seller to ship goods with tracking number. Some China Post agents also provide some kind of mock “tracking number” for China Post Regular Airmail in order to fulfill the marketplace requirement.
Such kinds of mock “tracking numbers” have different forms, i.e CP1233456789, YW123456789YW,YC123456789YW, 123456789BJ,RI123456789EN,WD123456789CN …. Sometimes, those tracking number can shows some parcel pickup info and airport info in the agent’s own website. In most cases, the parcels from big agent such as Yanwen will arrive destination without any problem. However, these tracking number have nothing to do with China Post and China Post can not verify the authentic of the parcel shipment.
O well, I guess if I am lucky the goods might be here by Christmas.