International Parcel Delivery: Know What You are Paying

February 2019


challenges with international parcel delivery

Do you regularly ship to international customers? If you’re hoping to branch out your business and start sending outside the UK, you’re following the trend. It’s predicted that by 2020, 40% of ecommerce business in the UK will be from international customers.

With such high numbers of international trade expected in the coming years, it’s important to ensure you’re prepared. When it comes to delivering parcels outside the EU, there are streamlined services available provided by dedicated delivery companies like Whistl that are designed to ensure you can send and receive packages easily. 

However, there are costs involved with sending internationally. These cover taxes and tariffs and each country has different tax and customs requirements. When sending or receiving mail outside the borders, it’s important to be aware of these.

Around the World: How Delivery Differs

Before you start looking into the payments required for worldwide deliveries, it’s useful to understand that shipping across the borders varies depending upon where you are sending to. When we are shipping within the UK, we have expectations about home delivery, but when sending to other countries, things such as laws and cultural expectations impact upon how parcels get to where they need to be.

For example, Russia has complex personal allowance levels and other issues surrounding international delivery.  Choosing a delivery specialist like Whistl means the expectations of recipients in other countries are met. This is largely thanks to the range of tailored delivery options on offer that are designed to tick the boxes for each country. Services such as tracked and premium tracked deliveries mean that the Whistl team can liaise with your customer to let them know their parcel is on the way.

Why we Pay

Once you understand that the countries you ship to have different delivery expectations, you can then start to investigate what costs are involved and procedures to follow.

It’s worth understanding the reasons behind the costs when shipping internationally. One of the main reasons is to generate revenue. Countries rely on the money gained from international trade and the tariffs imposed very much depend upon the relationship with other countries.

Another reason is to protect some local industries from outside competition. By charging to import produce and goods from abroad, domestic businesses in their infancy are able to grow.

Duties and Taxes

The taxes and tariffs that are agreed upon are usually based on a combination of factors. These include the current trade agreements, the product’s value, where the goods and products are made, and what the goods will be used for.

As goods and products arrive and depart countries, customs officials on either side must assess the duties and taxes that apply based on the air waybill, which is the document that accompanies the shipment, as well as the commercial invoice. This invoice is the legal documentation that confirms the amount due from the recipient.

Assessments and Fees

The amount of tax and duties paid can often be the result of an assessment by customs officials based on the contents of your shipment. Therefore, to avoid excess charges or extra taxes being paid, it’s crucial to provide accurate descriptions of the goods being shipped.

Another reason to provide a detailed description is to make the clearance process easy and straightforward. If you need your parcels to get there quickly, ensuring you are sending everything you know about your parcel can help provide a smooth delivery. This, in turn, can boost international relations.

The tariffs are worked out based on three main questions, and your commodity description should cover the answers to these. You should explain what the package is, what it is made from and its purpose.

Explaining exactly what it is by answering these questions will provide the information the customs team needs, and the taxes and duties to pay can be added accordingly. It’s worth being aware of restricted goods when sending internationally, too. These rules vary from country to country. However, if you have built a relationship with international clients, you should hopefully be aware of the products that you can easily send out and receive.

Well-Rounded Service

When you use Whistl for importing and exporting in and out of the UK, tax and duties considerations are all taken care of. Our team of delivery management partners are on hand to offer a range of services and assistance every step of the way.

The services available cover economy, standard and premium options and these services are constantly evolving to reach more customers across the world. As well as sending to established markets, such as the USA, Australia and France, we tap into new and emerging markets like Russia, Brazil and China via tracked deliveries and other solutions.

In addition, there are no hidden fees. The quote you are given is a flat fee that covers the customs process and every tax and tariff is factored into the costs. Choosing us as the leaders in importing and exporting international parcels is the easiest, most hassle-free way of getting your international deliveries to where they need to go.

Share this article


Whether you’re new to Whistl, one of our customers or just want to ask some questions we’d love to chat!
01628 879 776
Or let us give you some ideas on how we can help you drive your business forward. Tell us a bit about yourself