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The 3 Factors Determining International Shipping Costs

The 3 Factors Determining International Shipping Costs - International package parcel

What makes the difference when calculating shipping costs?

Today’s post comes courtesy of Robert Joseph of delivery management service ParcelHero

It is fairly easy to send a package overseas these days, certainly easier than it might have been just a few years ago. Most couriers will offer quotes for a delivery from their homepage – all you need to do is enter a few specifics for each parcel being sent before selecting the delivery type that best suits your needs and budget. [Editor's note: See our coverage of the top 5 shipping companies here]

Courier prices are not set in stone, of course. Sending a parcel to China, for instance, can vary a lot in cost depending on which parcel delivery service you chose. [Editor's note: Check out our post on international shipping here] There is a loose structure though, and understanding how this works can make finding a service that meets your requirements that little bit easier.

The 3 Key Factors Determining Cost

Most deliveries will be priced according to three factors:

  • Destination
  • Speed
  • Size

Taking a typical example, international express deliveries are normally charged in half kilo increments. You can expect to pay a set rate for the first 500g of any parcel with charge added for each 500g thereafter.

By way of a contrast, an international economy delivery will typically be charged in larger increments of 1 kilogram or more. Again there will be a base charge for the first kilo with a charge added per kilo thereafter.

As you can see, the variation here is twofold. Express services are more ‘sensitive’ to increases in weight but will arrive sooner while the opposite is true of economy services.

Shop Around for Deals

You’ll find that each courier service will have different set prices and incremental increases which can quickly lead to significant variations in cost for the same delivery. The result is that it will almost certainly be worth your while shopping around to find the courier that can offer you the best deal.

With so many couriers available, finding a company that can make your delivery is a relatively simple task. The variations in how each courier determines their prices should make finding a great deal fairly easy too.

About the Author

Robert Joseph works as a Depot Manager at Parcel Hero. ParcelHero.com is the UK’s fastest growing online courier company shipping-thousands of parcels every day within the UK and Worldwide. ParcelHero.com brings together the services of the world’s best carriers including DHL, UPS and FedEx. ParcelHero gives you the fastest transit times from the world’s best carriers and, what’s more, we make life easier by selecting the best carrier for each shipment so all you have to do is select the service and transit time to suit your budget.

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Author:Sunny Mui

Sunny Mui is the chief editor of Globial Talks Business and is always interested in the latest international business news,


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