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How international shipping costs are determined

Shoppers who have ordered from foreign merchants know that international shipping costs of merchandize ordered online can vary wildly

. The fluctuations can be caused by various factors, which are here explained in detail.

1. Weight of the package Weight plays an important part in determining the price of international shipping costs; defining the shipping weight of small packages is a rather simple process in which mass properties are combined with the height of the item. Smaller online merchants may use these simple methods; while more specialized shipping services will use advanced scales that will automatically determine these factors.

Crated items, on the other hand, are assessed differently. Their shipping charges are generally determined by their length, weight and height. This means that their shipping cost is calculated by their total amount of cubic meters, as well as their weight.

Although there are no limits to how small or a big package can be, there is a minimum charge. Minimum chargeable weight is typically 0.5kg.

2. Destination of the package - International shipping costs are also influenced by the destination of the packets. It will cost far less to ship locally, than having a designer hat or crystal vase shipped from the USA to Singapore. Distance is important because someone has to pay for the space packages take up in a cargo plane, or the fuel for being trucked around the country.

3. Content of the package - Mailing rates are influenced by what type of items are being shipped. It is the norm to expect a higher fee for having a car, furniture, or any other large structure transported, compared to a pair of gloves, a book, or an autographed basketball. The secure packaging of these large items can be substantial, adding to the overall weight. This can definitely drive up the international shipping fee.

4. Insurance coverage Insurance coverage is generally optional, and it will be up to you to decide if you want to take advantage of the option or not. With insurance coverage, your packages are covered against damages or loss. Shipping services do their upmost best to secure the safety of your online orders, but cannot fully guarantee that your international delivery will be perfect. It is a long way from, let's say, the USA to Singapore. For a few extra Singapore Dollars you can protect yourself, and limit your liability.

5. Taxes and custom fees Some countries do charge taxes and/or custom fees. Even though they are usually negligible, these fees do add to the overall international shipping costs.

6. Consolidation and Holding fee If you would like to consolidate the packages, i.e. wait out for more packages to maximize on the base charge, some providers give a period of up to 14 working days, for you to hold for the rest of the packages. However, a fee is charged after the 14 working days, which may just wipe out your savings from consolidation. Do time all your deliveries within the grace period,

How international shipping costs are determined

By: Mia Cusack
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