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Old 28th March 2010, 11:12 PM   #1
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Default International shipping options (from US)

Given the worldwide community on this site I would have expected this topic to have been more prominent, but some searching didn't really turn anything up.

How are people shipping stuff to international destinations? Looking at the USPS site, the cheapest international option they list is the Priority Mail flat-rate boxes. These aren't horribly expensive, but are far from cheap. It appears that custom-packed boxes are substantially more than the flat rate boxes for the same weight, so you'd generally be better off with a couple smaller flat-rate boxes than a single larger custom box if possible. Is there really no 'parcel post' equivalent for international destinations? I would have thought that there would be a 'slow boat' option that takes a couple weeks to arrive but is comparatively inexpensive; if there is such a service, it doesn't appear on the USPS site.

I was unable to find anything on UPS, Fedex or DHL that was appropriate - everything was expedited service running ~$200+ for a 10lb package.

Any experience/pointers welcome.
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Old 28th March 2010, 11:30 PM   #2
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Replying to my own post....

Indeed. According to this thread on a rather different hobbiest site, USPS Mail Changes - International Surface Mail Going Away | BoardGameGeek | BoardGameGeek most cheap surface mail options were eliminated in 07.
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Old 28th March 2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk123 View Post
I would have thought that there would be a 'slow boat' option that takes a couple weeks to arrive but is comparatively inexpensive; if there is such a service, it doesn't appear on the USPS site.
It won`t help You much but as it doesn`t harm I`ll tell anyway.
This kind of USPS shipping doesn`t exist anymore. I know because formerly I bought quite a lot from US which I have had shipped this way. USPS used to call this "Surface shipping" and it usually took about 4 weeks to Europe and of course it was quite cheap. Also never had a problem with it. Since USPS discarded this kind of service I stopped looking around and buying heavier stuff from US.
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Old 28th March 2010, 11:50 PM   #4
Apex Jr is offline Apex Jr  United States
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DWK123....
This affects me too... I have the same problem.

I lose a bunch of sales do to the shipping costs, I have found
that the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope (up to 4 lbs)
and the Flat Rate Box (up to 20 lbs) International is the least
expensive, If it will fit in there boxes. The only way you'll
save is in a multiple box shipment and I use Bax Global, they
seem to have the best price.

Be wary of UPS there brokerage fee's are VERY EXPENSIVE

Steve @ Apex Jr.
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Old 29th March 2010, 01:29 AM   #5
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Yes, consider UPS a nonStarter...

USPS did a big disservice to US exporters when they discontinued surface post. It is now often cheaper to ship by FedEx than USPS.

dave

PS: Canada Post still has surface mail.
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Old 29th March 2010, 03:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by planet10 View Post

PS: Canada Post still has surface mail.
Interesting. I'm actually headed back to the Great White North next weekend to visit my folks, and did a sanity check on a package I'm facing shipping. Canada post surface was cheaper than USPS priority, but not by a whole lot (this is an open-rate package with USPS priority, not a flat-rate box). About $120 US vs $100 CDN. Of course, I'd incur a $50 extra bag fee to get the stuff up there in the first place so it's academic, but the gap is far smaller than I expected.

I guess the lesson learned here is that for US shippers if your stuff doesn't fit in a flat-rate USPS priority box, International shipping is going to be rather pricey.
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Old 29th March 2010, 04:06 AM   #7
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I've heard the humor.....'That its easier/cheaper to get contraband to Canada than it is to do legitimate commerce'......certainly seems true.....guess NAFTA was a S.American deal only! Many 'southern' Canadians maintain a 'mailing box' in the states.
The worst is something rather heavy coming out of the UK to here.
Italy......no comment!
Charles
UPS broker fee to Canada is $30. min
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Old 30th March 2010, 07:44 AM   #8
macGP is offline macGP  Colombia
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Thought I'd let you know of an option widely used in Colombia.

Due to the high costs already noted a couple of posts above, using Fedex or similar services can be cost prohibitive to receive packages send from the US. Therefore a couple of freight (air) companies came up with an interesting idea to lower the shipping costs for people wanting to buy things in the US. Since our market exports different products such as flowers to the US by mean of air freight, many of those planes were retuning empty to Colombia once the cargo was delivered (mainly in Miami). Since most shipping companies are required to have offices in the US to be able to export/import, they started setting up suites or virtual offices similar to PO boxes but with a real street address, a person that could sign for any packages/mailings and an internal organization to forward the received mail/packages on the returning cargo planes. Prices are much lower than any other service and they do all the customs/taxes duties in an expedited manner through an express import permit. All packages are inspected for damage upon arrival in Miami and are then insured for the full value on the invoices that accompany each shipment. If the companies deem it necessary to beef up packaging for international flights, they will do so.

Long story short, we are now able to freely order items in the US, and have them send to Miami as if it were a normal address. The item then gets forwarded to us at a decent price and the seller doesn't need to worry about international shipping hassles nor do they have to lose sales due to an CONUS only shipping policy. Sellers also have the added benefit of having the shipment being received and signed for, therefore they have all the delivery proof necessary in case of any problems. I know these services are popping up in countries all over the globe, especially if they have international commerce with the US. No transport company wants to have a one way business.

Sellers should encourage international buyers to look if someone in their country offers a mail forwarding service with offices in the US. Chances are they will find one and it'll have better prices than any traditional mail service.
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Old 30th March 2010, 07:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk123 View Post
Replying to my own post....

Indeed. According to this thread on a rather different hobbiest site, USPS Mail Changes - International Surface Mail Going Away | BoardGameGeek | BoardGameGeek most cheap surface mail options were eliminated in 07.
The old sea mail generally took 2-3 months, depending on where it went. You just hoped it would show up.
Priority International and Express International take about a week to most places. Express has tracking, and is a little more expensive, but not that much more expensive.
Recently had a package shipped from Boston to Australia. Paid the extra $15 for Express and tracking.
Shipping across oceans is expensive no matter what.
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Old 30th March 2010, 10:01 AM   #10
mobyd is offline mobyd  New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stvnharr View Post
Shipping across oceans is expensive no matter what.
Depends on who you are. Smalltime occasional shippers (like most of us, I suspect) get right royally rogered by the freight services. There was recently some lawsuits over here about the anticompetitive price fixing activities of the freight companies. Don't know how it turned out...prices certainly haven't reduced. Bigtime shippers are on a totally different negotiated rate - how else would the Semi companies be able to send free samples Fedex ?. Mouser and Digikey send stuff freight free for orders over about $100?.
Miss the old USPS surface post where I could buy a set of headers for my ancient CB400f on ebay from some guy in Wisconsin and have them show up in NZ (albeit about 10 weeks later) for a mere $30. These days it would cost more than the bike is worth.
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