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How Costly Is Cross border Shipping, Really?

How Costly Is Cross-border Shipping, Really?

Phuc Le
May 29, 2023

What Is Cross Border Shipping?

Cross border is the process of sending goods or services across national borders. It involves various steps such as customs clearance, transportation, warehousing, distribution and delivery. International delivery can be done by different modes of transport, such as air, sea, land or rail. Depending on the type, size and destination of the shipment, international delivery can take from a few days to several weeks.

Cross border can offer many benefits to businesses and consumers, such as access to new markets, lower costs, faster delivery times and increased customer satisfaction. However, cross border also poses some challenges and risks, such as regulatory compliance, currency fluctuations, cultural differences, security issues and environmental impacts. Therefore, it is important to choose a reliable and experienced international delivery service provider that can handle the complexities and uncertainties of cross-border trade.

What is cross border shipping?

How Costly Is Cross Border Shipping?

How costly is cross border shipping?

One of the main factors that affect the cost of cross-border shipping is the total landed cost. This is the sum of all the charges associated with your international shipment, including:

Shipping rates: These are the fees charged by the shipping provider for transporting your goods from the origin to the destination. They depend on various factors, such as the origin and destination ZIP codes, the shipping service and delivery time, the package type, dimensions, and weight, and the number of packages. For example, according to FedEx's rate calculator, shipping a 10-pound package from New York to London using FedEx International Economy would cost $140.85, while using FedEx International Priority would cost $173.85.

Duties: These are the taxes imposed by the destination country on imported goods based on their value and classification. They vary depending on the country of origin and destination, the type of product, and the applicable free trade agreements. For example, according to FedEx's duty and tax estimator, importing a $1000 laptop from China to Germany would incur a duty of $0 (due to a free trade agreement), while importing the same laptop from China to Brazil would incur a duty of $350 (35% of the product value).

Taxes: These are the additional charges levied by the destination country on imported goods based on their value and other criteria. They include value-added tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), sales tax, and other country-specific taxes. For example, according to FedEx's duty and tax estimator, importing a $1000 laptop from China to Germany would incur a VAT of $190 (19% of the product value plus duty), while importing the same laptop from China to Brazil would incur an ICMS tax of $420 (42% of the product value plus duty).

Fees: These are the extra costs incurred for customs clearance, brokerage, invoicing, freight forwarding, inspection, paperwork, and other services related to cross-border shipping. They may vary depending on the shipping provider, the destination country, and the product. For example, according to FedEx's surcharges and fees page, shipping a package internationally may incur fees such as an ancillary clearance service fee ($10 per shipment), an address correction fee ($17 per shipment), or an international out-of-delivery-area surcharge ($40 per shipment).

Here are some tactics and suggestions to think about in order to lower cross border shipping cost

Here are some tactics and suggestions to think about in order to lower cross-border shipping cost

One of the challenges that many online businesses face is how to reduce cross border shipping cost. Shipping products internationally can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if there are customs fees, taxes, or tariffs involved. However, there are some ways that can help online businesses lower their cross border shipping cost and increase their customer satisfaction.  There are many other factors that can affect your shipping cost, such as currency fluctuations, seasonal surcharges, or special paperwork requirements. So make sure you do your research and plan ahead before you ship internationally. Here are some examples:

Investigate and Compare Shipping suppliers:  Compare different shipping providers and their rates. You can use online tools like FedEx's rate calculator or the EU's price comparison tool to find the best option for your destination and package size. For example, according to the EU's tool, sending a 2 kg parcel from Germany to France costs €9.90 with DHL, but only €7.99 with GLS. Choose a shipping service that includes duties and taxes. Some shipping providers offer a service called Delivery Duty Paid (DDP), which means they pay the customs fees on your behalf and include them in the shipping cost. This way, you avoid any surprises or delays at the border. For example, FedEx offers DDP for many countries around the world.

Take advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs) between countries. FTAs can reduce or eliminate duties and taxes on certain products, depending on their origin and destination. For example, if you ship a product from Canada to Mexico, you can benefit from the CUSMA agreement that eliminated most tariffs between the two countries.

Improve Packaging: Cost-saving packaging can be used. Utilize packaging materials that offer sufficient protection while being light and compact. Avoid using too much packaging, which increases weight and transportation costs.Choose a shipping service that includes duties and taxes. Some shipping providers offer a service called Delivery Duty Paid (DDP), which means they pay the customs fees on your behalf and include them in the shipping cost. This way, you avoid any surprises or delays at the border. For example, FedEx offers DDP for many countries around the world.

Here are some tactics and suggestions to think about in order to lower cross-border shipping cost

Consolidate Shipments:  If you ship multiple items to the same destination, you can save on shipping cost by sending them together in one package or pallet. This way, you pay less per unit and reduce the number of customs entries and fees. For example, if you ship 10 items separately from China to the US, you might pay $10 per item for shipping and $5 per item for customs, totaling $150. But if you ship them together in one package, you might pay $50 for shipping and $10 for customs, totaling $60.

Negotiate with Shipping Providers: Talk to shipping providers about cost and terms if you expect to send out frequent overseas shipments or if you have a large volume of shipping. Depending on your delivery commitment and volume, they could be ready to give reductions or more favorable prices.

Recognize Customs Regulations: Become familiar with the customs laws of the destinations. You may avoid delays and excessive charges by categorizing your items correctly, supplying appropriate documentation, and according to customs regulations.

Make Wise Use of Incoterms: Recognize and use Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) correctly. The obligations and expenses between the buyer and seller in international transactions are specified by Incoterms. Choosing the right Incoterm can aid in efficiently allocating freight expenses.

Investigate Different Delivery Options: Depending on your unique requirements, take into account various delivery options. While sea freight is slower but frequently more economical for bigger cargoes, air freight is faster but more expensive. Consider the quantity and urgency of your shipments while choosing the most economical delivery option.

Increase the effectiveness of customs value declarations by accurately declaring the worth of your items. Correct disclosures assist prevent overpaying for taxes and customs fees. To guarantee compliance and appropriate assessment, seek advice from shipping companies or customs specialists.

Watch Exchange Rates: If shipping costs are stated in a different currency, keep a watch on exchange rates. Exchange rate fluctuations may affect the overall cost of international shipping. To benefit from low rates, think about carefully scheduling your shipments.

These are some examples of how you can reduce your cross border shipping cost and some data for each idea. Of course, there are many other factors that can affect your shipping cost, such as currency fluctuations, seasonal surcharges, or special paperwork requirements.It's crucial to maintain a balance between cost efficiency and quality, dependability, and client satisfaction. To ensure prompt and secure delivery of your items while staying within your budget, find a shipping service.

Conclusion

Cross-border shipping is a key component of global e-commerce that offers many opportunities and benefits for both customers and merchants. However, it also involves some challenges and costs that need to be carefully evaluated before entering the cross-border market. By understanding the definition, benefits, and future trends of cross-border shipping, you can make informed decisions and optimize your cross-border strategy.

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