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EMS tracking

What is the Express Mail Service?

The Express Mail Service, or EMS, was an idea developed by the UPU to help improve the international post and parcel delivery efficiency. Today, it is the fastest cross-border postal service and is utilized specifically by the booming eCommerce and online marketplace sectors to offer rapid delivery on products purchased overseas.
The creation of the EMS Cooperative in 1998, by administrators of the UPU (the Postal Operations Council).

The EMS Cooperative has the wider aim of promoting the development of EMS postal services worldwide.
Today, the EMS Cooperative is a major part of the UPU with more than 180 member countries working together to make EMS (the fastest cross-border postal product) work. EMS services deliver some 8 million packages every week and boast some 178 designated operators. Membership to EMS is voluntary.

How does EMS work?

EMS is a global delivery service promising the fastest turnaround on domestic and international postal delivery. The core product is an advanced delivery system where the customer pays a surcharge to ensure the quickest possible delivery time. It is a service for domestic and international mail.

The reason why EMS is usually quicker is that it is not a single courier but an association of couriers working together to deliver products, thus expanding each other's individual capacity to deliver worldwide.
Indeed, postal services in around 200 countries and territories worldwide have come together to offer this premium end-to-end service.

The EMS Cooperative, which manages EMS, is structured into three groups:

  • The General Assembly (GA): The GA consists of all members of the EMS Cooperative,
  • The EMS Cooperative Board: This board is made up of seven elected members and finally
  • The EMS Unit, which is the secretariat of the Cooperative.

What are the main features of EMS parcel delivery?

EMS's ability to access such a huge network of postal offices, means that it can boast the most customer access points in the world. This in turn, also means that it can provide the largest last-mile coverage globally, all with the support of its worldwide postal service backing.

EMS items can be sent from a post office counter or collected from a customer's premises, among a variety of other convenient options.

The main features providing to be a success for EMS delivery include:

  • Acceptance at any post office or pick up from a customer's premises
  • Priority handling from initial acceptance to final destination delivery
  • Signature at delivery
  • Delivery to addressee's premises
  • End-to-end tracking (this is subject to whether the same courier handles the service or not. In some cases, tracking may switch between couriers if a handler changes during the parcel delivery route. Customers who want to find all their tracking needs met in one place, are using universal shipment tracking API site, Ship24. Ship24 is a multi-courier tracking tool that tracks registered EMS, standard and private courier packages internationally.

Customers interest in taking advantage of EMS postal delivery services can find out more information by visiting the EMS cooperative website.

How long does EMS shipping take?

EMS shipment delivery times will vary not only because there are numerous postal services offering EMS but also because it will depend on the size and weight of your package, the transportation method, and the final destination. However, on average delivery times vary from 2-5 days within the same continent, 5-7 days to the USA, and 10-12 days for other, more remote destinations.

How do I track my China Post EMS parcel?

You can track any EMS parcel, including China Post EMS parcels, through the Ship24 universal tracking platform. Simply copy and paste your tracking number on to the site and Ship24's global tracking system will find the latest location and status information on your parcel. Ship24 can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and its multi-courier tracking functionality means it is a one-stop-shop for all your tracking needs.

What is a standard EMS tracking number?

Typically, EMS tracking number will have 13 characters, with the first character being a capital letter, followed by different variations of 9 numbers and capital letters and ending with two capital letters. Which country a parcel is sent from will determine the variation, but each tracking ID will be an individual parcel, allowing you to track your parcel's movement worldwide. To get universal tracking, copy and paste your tracking number onto the Ship24 website for multiple couriers, comprehensive tracking capability.

(All EMS packages will be assigned a unique tracking number before they are shipped.)

How do I ship with EMS?

You can ship your parcel with any national postal service offering EMS delivery options. Over 180 countries offer EMS shipping, including the China Post EMS, Japan Post, and even Cambodia Post! To ship your parcel with EMS, visit the EMS website or contact your nearest national postal service to see if they provide EMS delivery. To track your parcel once you have chosen your EMS delivery service, use Ship24's powerful tracking tool for true end-to-end EMS tracking. Ship24's universal tracking system can provide tracking information for both EMS and registered standard shipping, including with private couriers, so make Ship24 your one-stop shop for tracking when you send a package!

How has EMS been developing as a service?

Since its creation, the EMS Cooperative has worked to strengthen EMS delivery services and the overall product. Some of these features include:

  • EMS Operational Guide and online database
  • Audit and Measurement Programme
  • EMS Standards for performance
  • EMS Product and delivery training
  • EMS Standard Agreement and General Procedures
  • EMS Customer Service System (CSS) for international EMS inquiries

One of the latest EMS developments, known as the Electronic Advance Data (EAD) has ensured better security, a reduction in delays, and improved customer experience. Due to EAD roll-out success, from 2021, postal operators sending items internationally must transmit EADs.

The EMS Cooperative organized a global workshop to provide EMS members with the latest information on international EAD requirements. Examples of best practice included A China Post presentation on EAD implementation.

Can EMS be trusted to send parcels internationally?

EMS is operated but lots of different postal services, therefore there is a mixture of reviews online depending on which operator a sender chose to use the EMS service with.

However, EMS is an international postal mail service created by the biggest postal union in the world, the UPU. EMS delivers around 8 million packages per week and its premium service offers the speediest delivery turnaround on parcels and packages internationally.

Also, every year the "EMS market and traffic survey" provides operators with the latest global insights and regional trends regarding EMS. This marketing intelligence ensures the continued development of EMS operators by keeping them up to date with emerging challenges. Furthermore, this foresight helps companies make strategic decisions that improve EMS for customers overall.

How are EMS services rated?

Bronze, silver, and gold awards are given out to EMS operators every year depending on their yearly performance. These EMS award winners are recorded in the EMS half of fame. Many transportations and logistics firms offer services similar to EMS (such as express delivery options with DHL and FedEx), however, EMS has still proven popular (such as China Post EMS), despite private courier competition. The EMS cooperation continues to strive for the best practices in EMS, with year-on-year investment in EMS development supported by the UPU.

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