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What Does “Collect by Agent” Mean? (SF Express Tracking)

You’re expecting a delivery from SF Express and have received a “Collect by Agent” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? Who is the agent when you see this alert and what happens now?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Collect by Agent – SF Express

The “Collect by Agent” status alert from SF Express means that the package has been handed over to the local delivery service in the destination country. In the USA this would be USPS or UPS for example. This is the service that will complete the delivery to the recipient’s address.   

SF Express: Collect by Agent – Guide

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This update is a good one to receive, it means that your package has cleared customs clearance in the destination country and is now in the hands of the service that will complete the final delivery.

It actually follows on from the “The Shipment is Being Forwarded, Please Wait Patiently” update that we recently covered.

In other words, you no longer have to “wait patiently” 🙂

The “Agent” or service will differ depending on the country the delivery is taking place.

In the USA the service used for last-mile delivery could be USPS, UPS, or even Fedex.

However, more often than not it is actually the postal service inside the destination country that will take care of SF Express deliveries.

How Long Until Delivery After the “Collect by Agent” alert?

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The good news is that the item will be close to delivery when you receive this update.

As mentioned, customs clearance has been successfully completed, and the wait for the item to leave the import facility is over.

The local carrier service now has the package.

The next step will be transit to a facility closer to the destination address.

From here the parcel will be sorted and dispatched for final delivery.

Your package should be with you within 5 days of the update.

The Tracking is Stuck on “Collect by Agent”

Collect by Agent

If you find that your tracking is stuck on this update and no delivery takes place within 5 to 7 days of receiving it, you will want to contact the local carrier service to see what the delay is.

While the distance between the point the package was collected by the agent and the recipient’s address is a variable that can impact delivery times, (i.e whether it needs to pass through one or more facilities before delivery takes place), anything more than a week is excessive at this point.

The likelihood is that the package has been mislaid within the sorting facility, or even ended up on the wrong truck and has arrived at the wrong distribution center.

If it is a logistical issue on the part of the local carrier, contacting the customer services of that carrier is the step you should take.

But I Don’t Know Which Carrier is Responsible for Delivery!


If your SF Express does not provide any tracking information on the agent in charge of delivery, you can simply place the tracking details that you have into a universal tracking app.

Free services such as 17Track and Parcelsapp will scan hundreds of carrier databases, (including those of the postal services in multiple countries) to see if any details can be found.

Once you know which service has your item, you can make inquiries accordingly.

Final Words

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The tracking being stuck is a worst-case scenario, however.

In most situations, once you receive the “Collect by Agent” update your package is just a few days away.

Considering it has come all the way from China, your receiving this alert does mean it is near you.

I hope it just matches the seller’s description 🙂

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