Someone on my end sent a box from NJ > China (Nanjing), 17 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, via FedEx and it cost $324.31. So expensive! All I was sending was 1 stuffed animal + some accessories for the stuffed animal. Hmmm. So I am researching ALL alternative shipping methods and shipping strategies. Manufacturing product in the Far East requires a lot of back-and-forth shipping of prototypes.

Assuming a 1 pound box/shipment, or a 4 pound box/shipment, here are the services compared:

We are sticking with UPS, and remembering to mail items in the large soft envelops/bags (vs. boxes), because the cost of mailing boxes over soft envelops/bags is Huge. Doesn’t make a meaningful difference to use economy vs. priority.


U.S.>China (Assuming Shanghai) (1 LB. OR 4 LB. Shipment)

  • International Economy vs. International Priority compared
    In order to get the lowest price, you must abide by their maximum cubic inch requirements. For a 1 lb. shipment, their max cubic inch requirements for lowest price is 560 cubic inches. An 8x8x8 box or a 12x9x5 box satisfies the 560 cubic inches requirement. If the cubic inches requirement and 1lb requirement are met, then International Economy will cost $127.99 and International Priority (3-4 day delivery) will be $132.55. Alternatively, if you use FedEx packaging (go to a FedEx store and get their boxes), then the cost of shipping does not change based on the size of the box (assuming weight remains constant). This seems like a great hack. They have 2 Small sizes (12.25×10.87×1.5 or 8.75×2.78×11.6), 2 Medium sizes (13.25×11.5×2.3 or 8.75×4.37×11.31), and 2 Large sizes (17.87×12.37×3 or 8x7x11). 1 lb. shipment in any of the boxes is $114, and a 4 lb. shipment in any of the boxes is $140. FedEx makes it so confusing.
  • In other words, if you are using FedEx, use FedEx boxes. And, it doesn’t make a big difference whether you mail International economy or International Priority.

China>U.S. (Assuming Shanghai) (1 LB. OR 4 LB. Shipment)

When I use the FedEx China site to look up rates, the rate calculator tells me some $40 for the rate to send the same package back to the U.S. The FedEx people at the American call center claim to know nothing about this. And, ask me to call FedEx China for more information. However, they DID tell me that if the Chinese factory in China uses MY AMERICAN FedEx number to bill when sending the package from China>U.S., that FedEx will charge me the U.S. rates. How sleezy!


U.S.>China (1 LB. or 4 LB. Shipment)

  • USPS is only good for mailing small 8.5 x 11 envelops, because only these priority envelops have tracking. USPS cannot track boxes or larges envelop bags to international destinations. They loose sight of the package when it gets to the international destination.
  • You can mail boxes internationally with USPS but it won’t come with tracking in the international destination. Rate for a 1 lb. box is $45 and a 4 lb. box is $58. Takes about a week.


U.S. China (1 LB. or 4 LB. Shipment)

  • Like FedEx, UPS makes it complicated. They told me, “There is a special formula that we use on our computer.” But, quickly, 10x8x7 box is $153 for either a 1 lb. or 4 lb. box. And, a 12x10x6 box is $186, for either weight. Also, “takes about a week.”
  • Like FedEx, using the envelop bags instead of boxes saves us a lot of $.