You’ve ordered an item from China and you have received a “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” tracking update.
What does this mean exactly? Where is your package when this status is sent and is there anything you need to do?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit
“Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” means that the consignment has been handed over to the service responsible for shipping the item overseas. In the context of an order from China, this means that the package is at the air or seaport of exit, and is being prepared for international transit.
Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit – Guide
To fully understand what the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” update means and where it comes in the package journey, it is worthwhile taking a quick look at the process of delivery once you have made your AliExpress order.
Very often, the carrier that picks up your shipment from the seller’s warehouse is different from the service that is responsible for shipping your item overseas.
Once the package is at the export location it will be handed over to a linehaul service also known as “Forwarding Agent”.
This action triggers the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” status alert.
- Related Content: What Does “The Airline is Shipping” Mean? Tracking Guide
Where is your package?
What Happens After the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” Alert?
After receiving the alert, your package will join the queue of packages awaiting customs clearance with the Chinese customs authority.
Upon successful clearance, it will be handed back to the forwarding agent who will then prepare the shipment for overseas transit.
This normally means waiting in a warehouse at the exit point for the next available plane or cargo ship, (depending on the shipment service used) for international transit.
My Package is Stuck on “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit”
A shipment being stuck on the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” tracking update is a frustrating problem.
There is a good chance that you have reached this page because you are experiencing this issue right now.
You have made an online order from AliExpress (or any number of Chinese e-commerce marketplaces), and your tracking status has been stuck on this for days, if not weeks.
First things first, this is quite normal.
Vendors on platforms such as AliExpress often use economy shipping methods. These services are notoriously bad with their tracking updates.
Furthermore, even an airfreight delivery can be held up at the export airport for weeks at a time. Consignments sent by sea cargo take even longer.
To provide a frame of reference, AliExpress state that even the premium shipping service can take 7 to 15 business days to deliver. The standard option can take between 15 and 45 business days.
Much of that delivery window is taken up with delays at the exit port as the item goes through customs clearance and then awaits an available method of transit, (i.e an available plane or cargo ship).
It is quite possible that the only tracking update you receive as all of this takes place is “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit”.
- Related Content: Departed Country of Origin – Tracking Guide
What to do if Package Stuck on “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit”
From the guidance above, it is clear that the first thing you do is nothing.
Understanding that the process takes time and that it is common to not receive any further updates in these circumstances, makes being patient easier.
Essentially, for the first several weeks after making the order, all you can do is wait.
However, I understand that this can be annoying and you would prefer some actionable steps.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I have ordered countless items from the likes of AliExpress and Wish over the years and at least 50% of them have taken several weeks with little in the way of tracking updates.
Two proactive steps that I like to do are as follows:
Use a Universal Tracking Service
As mentioned, many of the economy carriers used by AliExpress sellers stop tracking once the package has been handed over to the forwarding agent.
This means that a different tracking code will be attached to the consignment. Sometimes it is possible to track this by placing the original number into a universal tracking service.
Doing this will provide you with further information on the location of your shipment after you have received the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” alert.
- Related Content: What Does “Leaving Transit Country” Mean? (Tracking Status Guide)
Be aware of your buyer’s rights
Platforms such as AliExpress, Shein, and Wish protect their customers in situations where an order never arrives.
Understandably, these “guarantees” are provided under certain conditions.
With AliExpress you have a 60-day buyer’s guarantee period. If your order does not arrive within this time, you can open a dispute with the seller and AliExpress and claim a refund or replacement item be sent.
This means you should keep an eye on the amount of time that has passed since you made the order and before the 60-day period runs out, ensure you begin the process.
When ordering items from China you do have to prepare for long delivery times.
If expedited delivery options can be held up at the point of exit out of China for a frustratingly long time.
When using an economy delivery method, your best option is to forget about the order (and tracking updates or lack thereof) and only come back to it towards the end of your guarantee periods.
If your tracking is stuck on the “Handed Over to Forwarding Agent for Transit” alert for more than a month and your guarantee period is running short, only then should you begin to make enquires.
- Related Content: What Does “Collect by Agent” Mean? (SF Express Tracking)