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How to Track Shipments from China

Tracking international cargo is one of the key links to ensure that the cargo arrives safely at its destination. Knowing how to effectively track cargo from China can help buyers and sellers keep abreast of cargo dynamics and reduce logistics risks and costs. This article will detail various methods and tools for tracking cargo, as well as how to deal with common tracking issues.

How to Track Shipments from China

Why track freight from China

  1. Improve transparency
    Through the tracking system, buyers and sellers can understand the transportation status of goods in real time, thereby improving the transparency of the entire supply chain.
  2. Provide security
    The tracking system can help timely discover and deal with problems that arise during transportation, reducing the risk of loss or damage to goods.
  3. Optimize logistics efficiency
    Real-time tracking information can help optimize transportation routes and schedules, and improve logistics efficiency.
  4. Enhance customer satisfaction
    Customers can keep abreast of the progress of the transportation of goods and improve their satisfaction with logistics services.

Imagine that if you ordered goods from China, you have to take care of warehouses, stores, customers, and legal requirements such as customs. If you don’t know when the goods will arrive, you will face a lot of problems, which will increase your business risks. Therefore, making timely decisions based on the location of the goods is the most important reason why you must use a freight tracking system.

How to track shipments from China

How to track shipments from China

Use the tracking system of the logistics company

Most logistics companies provide online tracking services, and customers can check the status of the goods in real time through the logistics company’s official website or mobile application.

How to use the tracking system:
Get a tracking number: After the shipment, the logistics company will provide a unique tracking number.
Visit the logistics company’s official website: Go to the tracking page of the logistics company’s official website.
Enter the tracking number: Enter the tracking number to view the real-time status of the goods.

Common logistics companies:
China Post: Provides domestic and international mail tracking services.
DHL: A world-renowned logistics company that provides detailed cargo tracking information.
FedEx: Provides express and freight services worldwide and supports online tracking.
UPS: Provides comprehensive express and logistics services with powerful tracking functions.
SF Express: Provides domestic and international logistics services and supports online tracking.

Learn more: SF Express Cost, Time And How To Track It

Air SF Express

Third-party tracking platform

In addition to the official website of the logistics company, some third-party platforms also provide comprehensive cargo tracking services, which can track the cargo of multiple logistics companies at the same time.

Common platforms:

  • 17TRACK: supports tracking packages of most logistics companies in the world.
  • Parcel Monitor: provides multi-language support and global package tracking services.
  • AfterShip: supports tracking services of more than 600 logistics companies and provides API integration.

Sea and air freight cargo tracking

For sea freight and air freight cargo, you can track it through the official websites of shipping companies and airlines.

Sea freight tracking:
Official websites of shipping companies: such as Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping, etc. provide online tracking services.
Port tracking system: Some major ports provide tracking information for cargo entering and leaving the port.

Air freight tracking:
Official websites of airlines: such as Air China, FedEx, etc. provide real-time tracking of air cargo.
Freight forwarding platforms: Some freight forwarders provide integrated air cargo tracking services.

Tracking through cross-border e-commerce platforms

If the goods are purchased on a cross-border e-commerce platform, you can query them through the tracking function provided by the platform.

Common platforms:

  • AliExpress: Provides order details and logistics tracking information.
  • Amazon: Provides detailed order tracking and delivery status.
  • eBay: Provides order tracking and logistics information updates.

Using Chinese freight forwarding companies

Chinese freight forwarding companies usually provide tracking services to help customers understand the transportation status of goods in real time. Basenton Logistics can provide freight transportation from China to other countries, including air, sea, and rail transportation, and can provide door-to-door and DDP transportation services. If Basenton is responsible for transporting your goods, you can contact your contact salesperson if you want to track where the goods are. If other freight forwarding companies transport it, our company cannot track it.

3 Technologies for Freight Tracking Systems

There are three main technologies used by shipping companies for freight tracking. Here is a detailed description of these tracking systems to help you choose the best one:

GPS Tracking

The most well-known freight tracking technology is GPS, the same technology you use on your phone to find an address. Most freight tracking systems use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. GPS devices easily connect to your shipment and transmit location data to your monitoring system using satellites and a central tracking platform. You can easily track the location of your shipment on a map.

Benefits of GPS Tracking:

  • Global Coverage: As you know, GPS has global coverage, so you can be sure to track your shipment anywhere.
  • Real-time Updates: GPS provides you with real-time location data, allowing you to closely monitor the movement of your shipment.
  • Cost-effective: GPS technology is affordable and perfect for basic tracking needs.

Limitations of GPS Tracking:

  • Signal Interference: GPS signals can sometimes be weak or even blocked. For example, if a GPS device is inside a metal container or underground, it will not work properly.
  • Limited Data: Basic GPS tracking mainly provides location data with limited insight into other shipping parameters.

RFID Systems

The next common type of freight tracking system uses radio waves. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology emits a unique identification signal. You can simply scan the FRID tag with an RFID reader to get precise tracking at specific checkpoints. This can be done at strategic locations like warehouses, ports, and customs.

Advantages of RFID Systems:

  • Accuracy: RFID can provide highly accurate location data. So you can pinpoint the exact location of your shipment.
  • Fast Scanning: The scanning process of RFID tags is very fast and efficient. This is ideal when you have a large volume of shipments to ship.
  • Additional Data: Some RFID tags can store additional data apart from location. For example, you can get information like temperature to make sure everything is fine.

Limitations of RFID Systems:

  • Cost: The initial cost of installing an RFID system is higher compared to GPS systems.
  • Reader Network Dependency: You need to set up a network of RFID readers at important points along the shipping route.

IoT Integration

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the new technologies that will revolutionize every aspect of life and business. Shipment tracking can also benefit from IoT. You simply connect various sensors and devices to the internet and integrate them with your shipments. Each sensor detects specific data. For example, in addition to location, factors such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and even light can be measured.
This way, you get a comprehensive picture of the condition of your cargo. This is very important for special cargo and hazardous goods.

Benefits of IoT Integration:

  • Real-time Monitoring: You get real-time insights into different variables of the cargo condition.
  • Instant Alerts: If you encounter any potential issues such as temperature fluctuations or unexpected movements, you will quickly receive an alert from IoT.
  • Data-driven Decisions: You can analyze large amounts of data to optimize future shipments. This way, you can make your supply chain more efficient.

Limitations of IoT Integration:

  • Complexity: IoT-based freight tracking systems are relatively complex compared to other systems.
  • Battery Dependency: Sensors and devices require a lot of energy, and you have to consider batteries.
FeatureGPS TrackingRFID SystemsIoT Integration
TechnologySatellite navigationRadio wavesNetwork of sensors and devices
Tracking DataPrimarily locationLocation (highly accurate)Location, condition (temperature, humidity, etc.)
CostRelatively affordableHigher initial investmentMost expensive
Real-time UpdatesYesYesYes
Global CoverageYesLimited by reader networkYes
Additional DataLimitedStores additional dataRichest data
Implementation ComplexityRelatively simpleRequires reader network setupMost complex
SuitabilityBasic tracking needsPrecise location tracking, high-volume movementPerishable goods, proactive condition monitoring

Comparison of International Shipment Tracking System Costs

FeatureGPS TrackingRFID SystemsIoT Integration
Technology CostLow (US$20-100 per device)Medium (US$1-10 per tag, depends on reader network)High (US$50-200+ per sensor)
Software SubscriptionLow-Medium (US$10-50 per month)Medium-High (US$20-100+ per month)High (US$50-200+ per month)
Installation CostLow-Medium (May be included in device cost or DIY)Medium (Varies depending on reader network setup)High (Requires technical expertise for sensor integration)
Data Usage FeesLow-Medium (May vary depending on data volume)Medium (May vary depending on data volume)High (Typically involves real-time data transmission)
3 Technologies for Freight Tracking Systems

How to deal with common tracking problems

Tracking information delay

Data update is not timely
Logistics company system problem
Wait 24 hours and query again
Contact the logistics company customer service to confirm the situation

Tracking number is invalid

Input error
Logistics company is not activated
Confirm the correctness of the tracking number
Confirm the tracking number with the shipper or logistics company

Tracking information is stagnant

Goods are in transit
Data update delay
Wait a few days and query again
Contact the logistics company to understand the specific situation

Goods are lost or damaged

Logistics problem
Provide the tracking number and contact the logistics company for investigation
Apply for compensation or insurance claim


Tracking goods from China is an important part of international trade and cross-border e-commerce. By using the official website of logistics companies, third-party tracking platforms, sea and air freight tracking tools, the tracking function of cross-border e-commerce platforms, and the services of Chinese freight forwarding companies, you can understand the transportation status of goods in real time. Timely response to possible problems during the tracking process can ensure that the goods arrive at their destination safely and smoothly. Understanding and mastering these tracking methods will help optimize your international logistics processes, improve supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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