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What Are the Best Ways to Ship Packages Internationally?

Pramod Bhat
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  •  
November 13, 2020

The e-commerce industry has been the fastest-growing industry in the world. With the continuous rise of Amazon and other e-commerce platforms, more and more businesses are jumping onto the trend. It was even foreseen that e-commerce sales are expected to rise by 17.5% by 2021. Plus, millennials will comprise 30% of spending by 2030! With this, knowing the best ways to ship packages internationally is a must. 

If you want to improve and grow your business, reaching out to the untapped international market is your answer. Based on the study conducted by Statista, 63% of online shoppers in Europe buy from overseas markets, 57.9% of buyers from Asia-pacific buy from other countries, and 55.5% of African online customers purchase from foreign businesses. Imagine the amount of money you will be leaving on the table if you don't sell internationally. 

If you plan on selling internationally, developing and listing products is only the start of the process. The heavy work goes to shipping them. However, shipping to foreign countries shouldn't have to be complicated. You can look up different international shipping sites. Lastly, you need to prepare the right documents and follow the regulations for your shipment to pass through customs smoothly.

Often, we get asked if shipping from the USA to Canada is considered “international”? The answer is yes. If you're from the US and want to ship to Canada, below are some of the best ways to ship packages internationally and everything you need to know about shipping internationally. 

8 Things You Need to Take Note of Before Shipping Packages Internationally

  • Customs Clearance

The first thing that you should think of when you plan on shipping internationally is getting the right paperwork for your package to be cleared in customs. Every package that you ship to another country must first go through customs to ensure that the product doesn't violate the specific country's rules. Usually, you'll fill out two custom forms: one for your country of residence and one for your receiver's country. 

  •  Duties and Taxes

Besides following customs regulations and clearance, you'll need to pay a fee charged by the customs department. The cost shall depend on the value of your goods and the country  where it will be shipped. For an accurate computation, you may check the customs fee rate before you ship your products. 

Another purpose of imposing taxes and duties to foreign shipment is to protect domestic businesses and boost government revenues. Either way, it is essential to prepare the necessary documents and pay the taxes and duties. 

Shipping Restrictions and Prohibited Items
  • Understand Overseas Shipping Restrictions and Prohibited Items

Before you start shipping packages internationally, you need to know which items are restricted and prohibited from entering the country.. 

If you sell an item without knowing whether it is restricted or not, you'll be wasting time and effort. Plus, it can get held by  customs, which can lead to wasted money. In Canada, they prohibit items such as firearms, explosives, perishables, tobacco, and obscene materials.

  • Weight of the Package

We all know that shipping internationally is not cheap. The shipping fee shall be based on the size and the weight of the package. Before you ship your package, make sure that it was carefully measured and weighed to know how much shipping will cost. Purchase a weighing scale to get the exact weight and corresponding shipping cost. Having the exact weight helps you avoid overcharged or undercharged shipping costs. 

  • Packaging

The size and weight of the package aren't the only ones you need to consider when you're shipping your package internationally. You also need to check if your packaging complies with the destination country's regulations. All countries have different rules and regulations on how to ship packages. To avoid any problems with the package, you need to read each country's regulations, follow them, and re-check if you have the correct shipping label. 

  • Delivery Time

Customers need to know their expected delivery time, especially if items are  being shipped overseas. Some of them might be planning to use the items for an event, or give them as a gift to a friend. Knowing when packages will arrive shall help them plan when to buy the product. However, it is sad to note that most international shipments get delayed due to several factors. Some of them are due to customs holding the product for a longer time. 

  • Insurance

No matter how carefully and securely you packed your items, there will always be the risk of damage during shipment. Hence, to secure your packages' safety, you can insure them for damage, theft, and loss. You may think it is unnecessary to attach insurance to your packages, but it is not. 

Insurance shall serve as a safety net for you and your customer against  potential problems. By keeping these points in mind, you can ensure that shipping internationally will be easier and hassle-free. It'll ease the burden of worrying over your package. Hence, look at insurance as an investment rather than an expense. 

  • Shipping Services

The last thing you need to think of is the mode of shipping. Determining the medium of transport can also help you determine the time of delivery. Courier service is faster than air freight and sea shipment. However, air freight is more expensive than sea shipment. If you wish to send delicate items or perishable goods, shipping via ship is not advisable. If you wish to know more about these methods, we'll discuss them more in detail below. 

3 Best Ways to Ship Packages Internationally

When it comes to shipping internationally, there are a few methods you can look at. The one you should pick will depend on your budget, the number of items you are shipping, and the delivery time. We'll help you decide on which to choose when shipping from the US to Canada. 

However, before we discuss each method, we'll first discuss the factors that can affect your decision. 

  • Price – Most shippers first look at the price when shipping internationally. They would want to ship in the cheapest way possible while also looking at other factors such as  shipping time. To know the price of your shipment, you can use an international shipping rate calculator. 
  • Size - The size of the item determines the price. Different couriers have categories for the size of the item. They can categorize it from standard-sized to oversized. Those that are categorized as standard sized are way cheaper than oversized packages. 
  • Delivery Time - When it comes to shipping packages, the delivery time is often asked since you would want your receivers to know the estimated time of arrival. If you're an Amazon seller, you would want to create a factual estimated delivery time, so your customers will be aware of when they'll receive the item. The delivery time can depend on the method of shipment. 

Now that we know the three factors that can affect your shipment, these are the three international shipping methods internationally.

Couriers Services

Couriers Services

Courier service is when a person hires a shipping company to ship a package from one location to another. Popular shipping companies that you may know of are FedEx and UPS. They offer door-to-door service, which makes it hassle-free for you and your customer. 

Your customer wouldn't have to worry about picking up the package because it will be delivered straight to their doorstep, as long as you plan to ship items below 100 kg. It's best to choose courier service. 

When it comes to shipping internationally, we’ll discuss the difference between economy and standard international shipping. 

Economy International Shipping vs. Standard International Shipping

Economy international shipping is shipping goods in bulk at an affordable rate while standard international shipping is shipping several items at a higher price. When you plan to ship via economy international shipping, you can save a ton of money. However, it is best for non-urgent packages since it takes a longer time before it arrives at the destination. 

With standard international shipping, you can ship a small number of items for a higher price. The shipping time is quicker than economy shipping. Hence, if you need to ship urgent items, pick standard international shipping. It also comes with a complete tracking system for you to be up-to-date with your package. Some of the famous courier services are FedEx, USPS, and UPS. 

How long does standard international shipping take?

International shipping depends on the country of destination and origin. It usually takes between 10 to 20 days before the package is received. The great thing about it is it is faster than economy international shipping. 

Air Freight

If you plan to ship goods that are small and high value, then air freight is your best option. Your packages will be loaded onto a plane and delivered to your receiver's country. Shipment is also faster than sea freight. However, the cost of air freight is higher. 

Calculating the cost of air freight shall depend on the gross weight and volumetric weight of the package. The reason for this is the item can take up more space than its actual weight.  

Sea Freight

Sea Freight is shipping bulk goods by sea. Your packages are packed on a cargo ship and shipped to various countries across the world. Since it will be traveling by sea, it will take time before your customer receives the package. Also, you have to pick a freight forwarder that you can  trust . They must be able to take care of your goods and keep you updated on your shipment. However, shipping by sea is the most cost-effective way. The sea freight cost is calculated by the weight of the package or the volume. The cost is also cheaper than air freight. 

How Long Does International Shipping Take?

When shipping internationally, there is no standard delivery time. However, we have compiled the estimated time certain shipping carriers take to ship internationally. These estimates shall help you evaluate which one to pick. 

CourierEstimated Delivery Time
USPS Global Express Guaranteed1-3 days
USPS Priority Mail Express International3-5 days
USPS Priority Mail International6-10 days
DHL Express Worldwide4 days
UPS Worldwide Express1-3 days
FedEx International Next FlightNext day
FedEx International First3 days
FedEx International Priority3 days
FedEx International Economy5 days

Key Takeaways

Whether you pick  courier service, air freight or sea freight, it all boils down to which works best for you and your customer. You have different factors to take note of when deciding  which best way to ship internationally. If you need help shipping packages internationally from Canada, Stallion Express offers international shipping at competitive rates. 

We work closely with trusted partners to bring you the fastest and most reliable shipping service. Plus, you can save up to 80% if you ship with us. If you wish to know more about our services, you may contact us at +1 877-863-7447 or email [email protected].

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

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Pramod Bhat
Written by Pramod Bhat

Pramod is the CEO of Stallion Express - the leading eCommerce shipping provider in Canada. His vision, leadership, and innovative strategies have catapulted Stallion into one of the industry's most trusted brands. He is on a mission to help online sellers in Canada scale and succeed. He is also the reigning office ping pong champion.

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