Following the Internet boom, there came a slow and steady rise in online selling. Nowadays, anyone with an Internet connection can become an entrepreneur. The e-commerce industry, in particular, has blossomed beyond its humble roots, with more and more people thinking about expanding their business internationally.
Online businesses can do just that by enlisting shipping companies' help in sending their products across the world without breaking the bank. Many options are available to entrepreneurs, such as door-to-door, port-to-port and even door-to-port international shipping.
Instead of scouring the Internet for answers to questions like, “Does USPS ship internationally?” this quick guide will tell you what shipping options you can explore to improve your business reach. You’ll need this information to determine the best international shipping for a small business such as yours and decide which shipping option works best for you.
What Is Door-to-Port International Shipping?
Door to port is a streamlined and affordable international shipping option. In this process, a carrier picks up the items from the seller’s business address or warehouse and delivers them to the exit port closest to the buyer. The seller will be responsible for complying with foreign customs requirements and ensuring the goods reach their destination.
The courier company delivering your items to the port will notify you before they arrive at the port and will connect you with the local ground shipping transportation company so that your product can arrive safely. Unlike the standard shipping option, you must expect delays to happen throughout the whole transaction.
This shipping process comes with advantages and disadvantages. Knowing these will help you set a budget and scaling plan to help your small business thrive.
- It has more affordable international shipping and customs costs.
Sellers who organize their shipping independently find better shipping and customs rates. They get the best price for international shipping in the market because they have a trusted forwarder and customs broker at the port.
- It is suitable for transporting valuable cargo.
If you are a small business owner selling luxury items such as artwork or jewelry, you need to be more hands-on in the delivery of your merchandise. Thus, having a forwarder waiting at the port is better than taking the risk of your luxury items passing through many hands.
- It gives you a trusted network of freight forwarders.
If you're new to international marketing and want to get in touch with many shipping companies, then door-to-port international shipping is the way to go. With their trusted network of shipping companies, you are bound to find a company that best suits your needs.
- It is greatly limited by weather.
Despite being an affordable option, all international shipping options passing through a port are likely to be delayed by unfavourable weather conditions, such as storms and fog. In cases when bay waters’ depth increases, loading and unloading become more challenging, affecting port and ship assignments.
- It is not as flexible as door-to-door service.
Due to the waterway limitation and port shipping accessibility, shipping options like these aren’t known for their versatility. There is often the need for bottom surface transportation systems to cooperate and complete the whole cargo transportation process.
- It doesn't arrive as fast as you’d want.
The ship’s size is among the challenges in international shipping. Aside from that, the winds and currents must be considered. Not many ships can resist strong winds and waves, thus the need for larger ships in international cargo transport.
What Is Door-to-Door International Shipping?
Door-to-door shipping is the most common form of shipping that businesses use. In this process, the courier picks up the item directly from the seller and sends it straight to the buyer's home.
You have the option to choose between standard international shipping or economy standard shipping. The logistics company handles all of the customs and freight dealings, making things easier for the seller and giving you the best value for your money.
Advantages of Door-to-Door International Shipping
- It's perfect for time-sensitive deliveries.
Some items cannot be kept over long periods inside ports or warehouses. Examples include things with an expiry date, such as food items or plant matter. Items such as these must be delivered immediately to the buyer.
- It speeds things up for critical confidential documents.
Even though email is a norm now, some documents must be delivered the old-fashioned way. If you need to ship over personal records such as a birth certificate and marriage license, this is the best option for you.
- It saves you more time and energy.
Because the shipping company deals with the middleman for you, you save priceless time you can use to improve your business.
- It is suitable for e-commerce deliveries.
If you have an e-commerce business, it's crucial that your items arrive on time and at the correct doorstep. This convenience is how door-to-door delivery helps you retain customers and keep them satisfied. A smart e-commerce entrepreneur looks after their sales and logistics because they know how intertwined these two are.
Disadvantages of Door-to-Door International Shipping
Even with the technology to track your products in real time, you will always find yourself worrying whether or not your products are in the right hands. You can't say for sure if your products are safe and intact when you opt for door-to-door international shipping.
- It arrives either early or late.
There's no guarantee that your items will arrive at the time specified on your order. Thus, it's always good to leave enough wiggle room in your shipping schedule. Communicate with your chosen shipping company to ensure that your package arrives on time.
What Is Port-to-Port International Shipping?
Port-to-port shipping refers to the middle leg of the shipping journey in which your items are transported via shipping containers from the port of loading to the port of discharge. This service does not include on-carriage and pre-carriage transportation services. It is recommended for companies that understand how shipping works.
Advantages of Port-to-Port International Shipping
- It makes shipping large quantities of a product easier.
If you send products in bulk to another country, you should take advantage of this option, especially if you have a trusted shipping company waiting at the destination. Communicating with them helps you ensure the item is safe and secure during the entire shipping process.
- It gives you affordable shipping connections.
Even if you have a trusted freight forwarder, having connections with other forwarders allows you to compare prices and determine if you're getting a competitive price. Companies offering port-to-port shipping often provide clients with a list of prices to compare and contrast prices.
Disadvantages of Port-to-Port International Shipping
- It is a slow shipping option.
One of the disadvantages of port-to-port international shipping is that it takes more time to send your package than air shipping to ensure your package arrives safely. Often, this type of shipping takes at least a month, assuming nothing delays the process. While faster vessels are currently available, it won't do if you need fast shipping.
- It is more prone to delays.
If customer satisfaction is your priority, then port-to-port international shipping might not be for you. With inevitable delays caused by the weather and other logistical problems, it can lower customer satisfaction with your business, making it more difficult for your business to thrive.
Stallion Express International Shipping
Stop asking yourself questions like, “Does USPS ship internationally?” Instead, explore options like Stallion Express. We have reliable yet affordable options if you wish to expand your business internationally.
Door-to-port international shipping is an excellent choice if you have a trusted ground shipping company waiting for your item at the discharge port. On the other hand, door-to-door international shipping is ideal for small e-commerce businesses that want to ensure customer satisfaction. Finally, port-to-port international shipping is for companies with experience in shipping and want to transport large quantities of their product.
See what service works for you and your business, and contact us to get a quotation and decide which international shipping option will provide you with the best value for your money.