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Border Clearances and International Parcel Delivery

February 2018

Could More Inclusive Globalisation of Border Clearances Improve International Parcel Delivery?                                          
Earlier in February 2018 at the first-ever Global Cross-Border Ecommerce Conference in Beijing, over 1,500 stakeholders gathered to discuss developments, challenges, and opportunities in the world of digital trade. One of the main results signalled that while there is plenty of potential for inclusive growth, the absence of global rules and border clearances could prevent or slow down such opportunities.

More inclusive globalisation of border clearances could be beneficial for a range of industries that rely on international postage, from cross border eCommerce and online retailers to others that regularly send items overseas.

​​The Rise in International Parcel Delivery

In many ways, the world feels like it has become a smaller place and the rise in international parcel delivery has enhanced this. Digital consumers have taken advantage of this, propelled by massive eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay allowing them to order nearly anything they want from across the world and have it delivered within days.

Across the world, international routes have experienced faster growth of 5.4% from 2013 to 2017 compared to domestic ones. The main reason for this has been growing cross-border eCommerce, which has also impacted upon B2C growing quicker than B2B markets as well across the same time period. By 2020 it’s also forecast that 40% of all trade for UK online retailers will be from international customers.

With consumers and businesses getting used to having more options available, every international parcel service needs to be adaptable and offering a plethora of international parcel delivery options to keep up with the competition. These can range from international parcel tracking to time-specific deliveries, as many invest in furthering the speed of their global deliveries (which cross-border regulation can assist with).

Need for Widespread Regulation

According to one report, in 2015 B2C eCommerce cross-border sales accounted for around US$189 billion. In China especially, international exports and imports have seen rapid growth of 41.6% and 116.4% respectively as cross-border eCommerce continues to gather pace. However, while it is exciting and provides many opportunities, for SMEs and start-ups it can be limited due to the significant costs involved.

Many trade rules are still based in the 20th century and have not developed at the same pace as technology, the internet, and international postage into the 21st century. Small, high-frequency shipments are less supported by the constraints of such rules that are more focused on large deliveries on a more infrequent basis.

National customs and border administrations can slow down the process and provide extra work for businesses hoping to expand internationally. Keeping on top of different requirements can prove costly and timely, something that would greatly diminish with global cross-border regulation and benefit both parties.

Impact of Global Border Clearance

Customs policies that support eCommerce growth would include global certification that set out a baseline for inspection and risk management. A higher minimal threshold could save resources otherwise used on assessing low-value international postage while reducing the costs for eCommerce and online retailers sending such products overseas.

The main benefits of global border clearance would be:

  • Cheaper international parcel delivery, with reduced sending costs and money wasted with items being denied entry
  • A quicker international parcel service, as less time would be spent preparing and going through the customs process
  • Government benefits, with less time-wasting on low-value goods and refocusing of public revenue on other areas

In order for it to become a reality though, coordination between businesses, customs authorities, border agencies, and governments is required. Creating an exact model for global e-commerce cross-border clearance that is agreed upon could take a while to devise and then put in place.

Get Started with International Parcel Delivery

Until global border clearance is developed (if it is at all), there are still plenty of international parcel delivery options available. Get started with Whistl where we offer everything from international parcel tracking to standard and express delivery speeds within our international parcel delivery solutions.

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