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.

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GlobalPost Upgrades Standard International Shipping Service

September 1st, 2020 Comments off

Now ship up to 70 lbs. with door-to-door tracking to over 200 countries.

GlobalPost has always been a great choice for affordable, hassle-free international shipping. We’ve recently made a number of improvements to the service while maintaining our existing pricing.  Now you can use GlobalPost Standard for even more of your shipments to even more countries!

GlobalPost Standard Service Now Offers:

• Increased weight limit from 4.4 lbs. to up to 70 lbs.

• Expanded door-to-door tracking capabilities from 36 countries to over 200 countries.

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 includes features not found in traditional international postal services.

There’s never been a better time to choose GlobalPost for your international parcel shipping.

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USPS Restores International Service to Four Destinations

June 15th, 2020 Comments off

The USPS has resumed service to four international destinations: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, and Myanmar. Service to these destinations was initially suspended on April 24, 2020 due to lack of transportation as a result of coronavirus.

With these updates, the list of USPS suspended international destinations now stands at 106:

BruneiCubaEritreaFrench Guiana
GuadeloupeLaosMartiniqueMongolia
MyanmarReunion (Bourbon)Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Miquelon)Samoa
South SudanTajikistanTimor-LesteTurkmenistan
Yemen

International Mail Announcements — May 27th

May 27th, 2020 Comments off

The USPS has received communications from four international postal services regarding new service interruptions. For more information about service alterations due to coronavirus visit the Stamps.com Cornavirus Updates Page.

Honduras
Empresa de Correos de Honduras (Honducor) has extended the suspension of all postal services until May 31, 2020—this date may be subject to change.

Peru
Servicios Postales del Perú has announced that the suspension of all postal services has been extended until further notice.

Slovenia
Slovenia, Pošta Slovenije, has announced that postal services are now gradually returning to normal. Outbound mail service will resume based on the availability of flights and transport capacity.

Spain
Correos y Telégrafos has advised that the Spanish Government has extended the state of alert until at least June 7, 2020. As a result, the alterations to postal services will remain in effect.

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