New GlobalPost Processing Hub Opens in Houston, Texas

April 21st, 2021 Comments off

GlobalPost International Shipping Services

GlobalPost, the industry leader in affordable, innovative international shipping services, today announced the addition of a new processing hub near Houston, Texas. Warehouses, fulfillment centers and online retailers in the Houston metropolitan area will now qualify for consolidation discounts and free package pickups for shippers doing a minimum of 30 shipments per day. GlobalPost customers typically save at least 30% on shipping rates by consolidating their international parcels. They also benefit from exclusive features such as electronic customs forms and free coverage against loss or damage on every shipment.

GlobalPost is available in the most popular shipping software applications including Stamps.com.

About GlobalPost
The GlobalPost delivery network leverages partnerships with international postal operators as well as commercial carriers to offer worldwide delivery. GlobalPost services reach over 200 countries and territories and includes unique features not found in traditional international shipping service.

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Shipping from the U.S. to UK with 2021 VAT Rules

December 22nd, 2020 Comments off

Starting January 1, 2021, shipping to the UK is becoming more complex due to Brexit.

If you’re an online retailer shipping products from the U.S. to the United Kingdom (UK), you will need to change your fulfillment process starting January 1, 2021.  The UK has left the European Union trading relationship and the country has implemented new rules for goods and services to be imported into the UK.

Brexit Background – UK Exits the European Union Trade Agreement

The UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, a process that is commonly called “Brexit.”  This announcement triggered a “transition period,” where trade would continue as is with no changes to UK Value-Added Tax (VAT) rules, treatment of transactions or filings through December 31, 2020. 

Starting on January 1, 2021, all UK imports and exports will fall under the World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, which requires changes to many fulfillment processes for U.S. e-commerce parcel deliveries to the UK. 

Changes for E-commerce Orders Being Delivered to UK:

Under the World Trade Order terms, there are four important changes occurring for products being shipped to the UK from the U.S. (along with all countries):

#1 Register for VAT and Collect VAT Fees:  As a U.S. online retailer, you will now be required to register for a VAT number and create an online account from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to deliver e-commerce orders into the UK.  Once you have your VAT number, you will be required to collect all VAT fees from your buyers at time of product purchase. This VAT fee was previously being completed when a parcel entered the UK, typically with the buyer having to pay VAT to release the package from Customs.  The new WTO rules pushes that VT tax collection burden to the online retailer in the U.S. who is exporting the product to the UK.

VAT rates for collection depend on the product price:

A)     Most Goods and Services valued UNDER £135 have a 20% VAT Rate

Goods and services shipped to the UK with a value between £0.01 and £135 (between $1 and approximately $180 USD) will incur VAT fee of 20% of the product price (not including shipping fees).  U.S. online retailers selling products to UK buyers are require to collect this 20% VAT fee at the time of sale.  Online retailers will be responsible to pay all VAT collected to HMRC every three months.

B)     VAT for Goods and Services valued OVER £135

All shipments with goods and services valued higher than £135 (approximately $180 USD) will be subject to the current VAT procedures, which state VAT is payable as the parcels are being imported into the UK.  These types of packages are often cleared through customs via parcel consolidators and all applicable duties and VAT will be paid to HMRC directly by the parcel consolidator, who then normally invoices the online retailer.

#2 Make Quarterly VAT Return Payments to HMRC:  Online retailers must report and pay the VAT Return (taxes) collected from their online sales each quarter to HMRC. You can find your actual deadline inside your VAT online account, but in general the deadline for HMRC’s bank to receive payment is one calendar month plus 7 days after the end of the accounting period (annual quarter).  If your VAT Return payment is late, you could be liable for additional late fees.

To submit your VAT Return, you can use HMRC’s free online service or one of the many commercial accounting software platforms that HMRC has partnered with. The approved software list includes many popular solutions such as QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud and SAP. 

Your quarterly VAT Return should include key data points for your UK sales such as:

· Total sales and purchases for your account (only orders delivered to UK)
· The amount of VAT you owe from your UK sales
· The amount of VAT you can reclaim (i.e. order returns, product defects)
· The amount of VAT refund due from HRMC

#3 More Info Required in Customs Documents: All parcel shipments into the UK will be subject to customs clearance and inspections, which could add significant delays for parcels being delivered to the buyer.  U.S. online retailers shipping goods or services into the UK will need to provide import or export declarations to UK Customs.  A customs invoice will be required for each parcel that shows UK VAT along with the product price in order for the parcel to be released out of customs.

#4 Elimination of the Low Value Consignment Relief: In addition to implementing the WTO trade terms, the UK is removing Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) – a rule that allowed good and products from outside the EU that had a value of £15 or less (estimated $20) to be tax exempt.  In 2021, those products will now be subject to the 20% VAT rate.

The UK is taking these actions to ensure that goods and services from outside the UK are treated in the same manner as products within the country, so as UK businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT free imports.

Failure to adhere to these new UK Customs procedures could result in:
· Parcels being refused entry into the UK by customs
· Parcels being returned to sender (including return shipping fees depending on carrier used)
· Parcels and products being destroyed
· Parcels incurring major delays in being delivered to buyer
· Parcels generating additional shipping and/or customs fees, or penalties

Required actions to sell and ship products into the UK in 2021

Starting January 1, 2021, online retailers selling goods or services to UK buyers will be required to register their business with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to obtain a VAT number.  Here are the steps to complete this process:

How to Create UK Government Gateway Account and Register for VAT

1.            Go to the HMRC login in page by clicking the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services

2.            Click on the Green “Sign in” button.

3.            Click on “Create sign in details”.

4.            Enter your Email Address and click “Continue”.

5.            The site will email you a “Confirmation code”.  Enter the code and click the Green “Confirm” button to continue.

6.            User ID Issued.

7.            Enter your name.

8.            Create a Password and hit “Continue”.

9.            Set up a Recovery Password and click “Continue”.

10.         You will now receive your Government Gateway User ID which consists of 12 numbers.

11.         You will then need to register for VAT using your Government Gateway User ID and Password.

To register with HMRC for a VAT number, proceed to the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/how-to-register

Do Sellers on eBay, Amazon or another Online Marketplace Have to Collect VAT?

Online marketplaces (OMP) such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and others will be responsible for collecting the VAT from the buyer when the sale occurs on their website as long as the price is £135 or less.  For sales that are over £135, the OMP will not collect the VAT and existing import rules will go into effect (seller pays at port of entry).

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GlobalPost Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2020

October 26th, 2020 Comments off

GlobalPost, the industry leader in affordable, innovative international shipping services, has announced the 2020 Holiday shipping deadlines to assure package delivery by December 24th.

Be sure to mail by these deadlines so your packages arrive on time.

GlobalPost Economy InternationalGlobalPost Standard InternationalGlobalPost Plus
AfricaNov 27Nov 27Dec 4
Asia/Pacific RimDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
Australia/New ZealandDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
CanadaDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
CaribbeanDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
Central & South AmericaNov 27Nov 27Dec 4
MexicoDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
EuropeDec 1Dec 1Dec 11
Middle EastDec 1Dec 1Dec 11

GlobalPost Shipping Service Descriptions:

GlobalPost Economy International is a cost-efficient international shipping service that offers tracking into the destination country for packages up to 4.4 lbs. or Flats/Large Envelopes up to 1 lb. The service includes up to $100 in coverage against loss or damage, plus shipping costs. Duties and taxes are paid by recipient (DDU).

GlobalPost Standard International is an international shipping service that offers door-to-door tracking for packages up to 70 lbs. to over 200 countries. The service includes up to $100 in coverage against loss or damage, plus shipping costs. Duties and taxes are paid by recipient (DDU).

GlobalPost Plus is a premier international shipping service that offers Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), which allows the shipper to prepay duties and taxes on behalf of its customers to minimize delays and surprise fees at delivery. The service includes door-to-door tracking and has parcel coverage up to $200. There is a volume requirement of 30 international shipments per day.

What is GlobalPost?

The GlobalPost delivery network leverages partnerships with international postal operators as well as commercial carriers to offer worldwide delivery. GlobalPost services reach over 200 countries and territories and include features not found in traditional international postal services. Get more info on International Shipping.

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COVID-19’s Impact on USPS International Shipping Deadlines

October 22nd, 2020 Comments off

A typical year would have us just simply post the USPS holiday shipping deadlines and say “enjoy a great holiday shipping season”, but this year is like none other.

In my 20+ years of work with USPS international services I’ve never witnessed a more interesting year than 2020. I spoke with Kelley Martinez, Vice-President at RR Donnelly (a large international consolidator) and she agreed “It has been a very unique year with every day presenting new challenges. Volume surges during historically slower periods coupled with destination suspensions and resumptions with little notice has been both challenging and rewarding.” 

So, let’s have an honest conversation about 2020 “Peak” and what you really need to know about the international shipping deadlines for the 2020 holiday season.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines at First Glance

After reviewing the holiday shipping deadline (see table below) for major international markets, the USPS deadlines have not changed much from previous years. This is very interesting since postal and shipping carriers across the globe have seen delivery delays due to COVID-19 closures and increased residential delivery due to growth in e-commerce. 

First Class Package International Service201820192020
Africa1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Asia/Pacific Rim8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Australia/New Zealand8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Canada8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Caribbean8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Central & South America1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Mexico8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Europe 8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Middle East8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Priority Mail International201820192020
Africa1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Asia/Pacific Rim8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Australia/New Zealand8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Canada8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Caribbean8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Central & South America1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Mexico8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Europe 8-Dec9-Dec7-Dec
Middle East8-Dec9-Dec7-Dec
Priority Mail Express International201820192020
Africa8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Asia/Pacific Rim15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Australia/New Zealand15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Canada15-Dec16-Dec14-Dec
Caribbean15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Central & South America8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Mexico15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Europe 15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Middle East15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec

There are two challenges that we feel will have a significant impact on international parcel delivery during the holiday peak period.  After analyzing global parcel delivery over the last 120 days, we feel you should allow for 1-2 weeks of delay for peak this year. So, if take the most popular product by volume and destination (First Class Package International Service to Canada) and the USPS deadline provides a “mail by December 7” date, then I would try to have it out by November 30 to be safe.

Challenge #1 – COVID-19’s Impact on International Airplane Transportation

Many might not know, but those very planes you take to visit your Aunt in France are the same planes that deliver packages to other countries. Reduced routes because of COVID-19 means fewer flights and fewer flights means more packages being held waiting at transportation hubs. The situation became such an issue that USPS has resorted to ocean freight for parcels. If transportation is still limited during the holiday season, then we should expect continued delays from international transportation alone.

Challenge #2 – COVID-19’s Impact on Domestic Parcel Delivery

USPS has five international service centers located around the country in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Miami. Depending on where you ship your package, your shipments will travel through one of these locations. To get your package to these locations, your shipments will travel on the very same network used for domestic shipments. Right now, USPS is experiencing an increase in domestic parcel delivery (up 46% in July 2020, compared to July 2019 according to data from ShipMatrix) and the holiday peak period is starting to look like a monster. If the domestic network gets clogged it will surely impact the speed of your international shipments to one of those processing centers.

Giving a Refresh on the USPS International Shipping Deadlines

I would start your Q4 seasonal sales promotions by at least two weeks earlier than previous years. By doing so it will allow a little more time to get your packages to your recipient and it will fall outside the typical holiday windows that will impact domestic and international transportation.

Should I Seek an Alternative Carrier?

Not necessarily. USPS still offers a very competitively priced product and with proper planning, you should be fine. Also, other alternatives are not immune to some of the same delivery issues and this year looks to be a challenge for all in the international shipping space. At GlobalPost, we try to address these impacts by using a mix of postal based services using USPS and other postal operators to provide the best possible postal optimized delivery experience. 

What is GlobalPost?

The GlobalPost delivery network leverages partnerships with international postal operators as well as commercial carriers to offer worldwide delivery. GlobalPost services reach over 200 countries and territories and include features not found in traditional international postal services. Get more info on International Shipping.

About the author

Shea Felix, General Manager – GlobalPost

With years of implementing global business solutions under his belt, Shea Felix brings distinct insights into the world of shipping. As the global shipping guru for Stamps.com, Shea inspires and empowers small businesses to take their services global. He is experienced in strategic planning and tactical execution, and has an exceptional understanding of product development, cross-border trade and logistics, e-commerce technology, website and mobile design, and global online marketplaces.

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GlobalPost Introduces USPS Canada DDP Service to Help Avoid Delays and Returns

September 25th, 2020 Comments off

GlobalPost is excited to announce the launch of USPS Canada Delivered Duties Paid (DDP) service for Stamps.com shipping customers.

USPS Canada DDP allows customers to prepay duties and taxes for their First Class Package International Service parcels to Canada. For a flat fee of $6.95, packages of 4 lbs. or less will be delivered directly to the buyer’s door without having to pay required customs fees upon delivery, or having to travel to the Customs Office to pick up their package.

GlobalPost’s USPS Canada DDP service offers online retailers these great benefits:

Better Customer Experience: With sellers paying DDP, the buyer receives a smooth and easy delivery experience.

Decreased Returns: Shipments that arrive with duties owed face a high rate of refusal, or abandonment, as unhappy consumers refuse to pay the additional costs. When customers refuse a package, the seller typically has to pay the return shipping fees to get the package back.

Increased Sales Conversion: DDP is designed to help online retailers improve their shopping cart conversion rate for Canadian orders. Without DDP, customers are left guessing their total fees and end up abandoning their cart.

Eliminates $9.95 Surcharge: If Canadian duties and taxes are assessed by customs and DDP was not included, Canada Post collects the fees upon delivery, plus an additional $9.95 surcharge.  That extra surcharge could end up being a large percentage of the overall product cost, cutting further into the seller’s margin.

How GlobalPost’s USPS Canada DDP service works:

It’s easy. When preparing a First Class Package International Service label to Canada in Stamps.com, open the Duties/Taxes drop down menu and select “Prepay Duties and Taxes.” That’s all there is to it.

Note: If you are using Stamps.com Software for your PC, you must upgrade to the latest version of the software to use Canada DDP.  Download now.

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

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