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PPE – Sourcing from China with Tips & Advice

PPE Supplies from China

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) from China – Many people have been contacting me over the past month seeking my assistance to help them identify and secure Personal Protection Equipment from verified manufactures in China.

This article is a review of the current situation in China in relation to PPE and it offers some operational strategies in how to overcome some of these challenges:

PPE – Products

When sourcing PPE products and assessing Suppliers, you should try to ensure that the following criteria are met:

1. The manufacturer and products have the required product standards for your market.

2. There is a quick turnaround time for the goods to be ready to be transported out of China.

3. The customs in China will allow the products to leave China.

The prices of PPE products are changing daily in China. While there appears to be a shortage of capacity and raw materials to make the products,  there have been some cases of price gouging concerning raw materials required to make the face masks. So far, Chinese police have made 42 arrests in 20 cases of profiteered from melt-blown fabric, an essential element for making masks, with around 4.87 million U.S. dollars involved.

Buyers should also be aware of misleading and fake prices been issued out by trading companies and counterfeit suppliers. These prices are primarily used as bait to get potential buyers to engage with these dubious sellers. If these parties are not there to steal your money but provide you with products, these products are often counterfeit and may have false or fake certifications accompanying them.

It is worth remembering that there are three primary quality standards which relate to the Personal Protection Equipment:

1. GB Standard – Chinese Standard

2. EN Standard – European Standard

3. FDA/ NIOSH – USA Standards

EN and FDA standards carry a premium price as the manufacturers have to get extra certifications and register with the appropriate authorities.

PPE – Inspections

It is vital to have inspections conducted on all new potential sellers before any money is sent across to them for any goods. Inspectors can visit any supplier in China within 48 hours to perform an inspection. For more information, please visit – Goodada Inspections.

It is also crucial to have inspections conducted on the goods before they leave the factory. This inspection checks for quantities and the quality of the PPE products. For more information, please visit Goodada’s Finished Goods Inspection page.

PPE – Insurance

There have been widespread reports of PPE equipment going missing during transit; this includes the highly reputable freight companies. Buyers should have marine insurance for on all PPE equipment which they are sourcing from China. This insurance covers products which go missing during transit. Get an online Freight Insurance Quote from Goodada’s Insurance Provider.


China has reacted to global criticisms concerning the quality of Personal Protection Equipment. It has lead to significant policy and rule changes which have been occurring on a very regular basis. The latest policy changes are:

1. Customs officials in China will now inspect every single export order of PPE equipment.

2. Appropriate documentation must accompany all export orders. If a document is missing or incorrect, the whole shipment will not be permitted to leave China.

3. Customs now inspect all qualifications, and product certificates included C.E. and FDA certificates. If any certifications are determined to be incorrect, the entire order will be confiscated by the customs in China.

4. All PPE packaging, including inner packaging, must include a label which states the manufacturer’s certification number, production date, batch number and other relevant information.

5. Chinese customs will confiscate any outer packing with has the FDA Logo and name.

6. Chinese Customs will also seize an order if its packaging says medical, but the product inside the packing is not to medical-grade.

PPE Logistics

On-demand prices for airfreight are running at $14-$16 per kg from China. Average air cargo rates from China to North America are running at $7.59 per kg, while China to Europe is running at S8.79 per kg. Hong Kong, for comparison, its average air cargo rates to North America is $5.16 and to Europa is $4.66 per kg.

But it is not just air cargo rates that are high, handling charges and surcharges have also dramatically increased due to the coronavirus.

These rates and fees will continue to remain high as long as there’s a surge in demand for PPE as there is insufficient capacity to meet this demand. Some forecast that this air freight capacity actually might drop over the coming months as these aircraft will require maintenance over the coming months.


While this article is primarily about the immediate need to secure quality PPE equipment from China safely, this challenge applies to most products which are sourced internationally. If your organisation adopts any of the strategies outlined in this article, it will assist in providing your firm with a more robust and adaptable global sourcing process.

About the Author

Aidan Conaty is the founder of Goodada & TCI China. Aidan is a qualified Management Accountant, was awarded a scholarship to study his MBA at Trinity College Dublin. He has a consultancy background in Management, International Business and Supply Chain.

Aidan can be contacted email at or at:

  • (Europe/ Rest of the World) +353 1 885 3919
  • (UK) +44.020.3287.2990
  • (North America) +1.518.290.6604

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