Importance of Finding the Cheapest International Shipping Rates

January 24, 2024 Chase Flashman

In today's global market, businesses strive to gain a competitive edge, and reducing operational costs is paramount for growth and sustainability. International shipping can be a significant expense affecting your bottom line. With the right knowledge and strategies, businesses can save substantially on shipping costs, sometimes by an average of 25% or more.

Overview of the 15 Ways to Save on International Shipping Costs

We'll explore 15 proven tactics to decrease your international shipping expenses. These strategies cater to proactive businesses eager to optimize their logistics operations without compromising service quality. By adopting these approaches, companies can unlock cost efficiencies and bolster their competitiveness on the global stage.

Research and Compare Shipping Carriers

USPS International Shipping Rates

Begin with USPS, known for its cost-effective solutions, especially for small packages. Since USPS is a government-run entity, its rates are often more affordable, making it a strong option for shipping internationally.

FedEx International Shipping Rates

FedEx offers a wide variety of international shipping services with the added benefit of speed and reliability. While generally pricier than USPS, it can be negotiable for businesses shipping in volume.

UPS International Shipping Rates

UPS is a robust competitor in global logistics, providing extensive international services. By understanding your needs, UPS can be a reasonable option, especially for larger shipments.

DHL International Shipping Rates

Renowned for international focus, DHL can offer competitive rates for overseas shipping. Known for its express services, it's a brand that resonates with swift international delivery.

Utilize Online Resources and Tools

Compare Shipping Rates Using Shipping Calculators

Shipping calculators can be invaluable assets. By inputting package details, these calculators generate estimates from various carriers, allowing businesses to select the most cost-effective options.

Use Price Comparison Websites Like ShipHawk and Shippo

Websites such as ShipHawk and Shippo aggregate data on shipping costs, providing a platform for comparing rates across multiple carriers, which can lead to substantial savings.

Take Advantage of Online Shipping Marketplaces

Shipping marketplaces bring together various service providers, offering competitive rates that often undercut standard carrier pricing. These platforms allow businesses to find unexpected deals.

Explore Flat-rate Shipping Options

USPS Flat-rate Boxes and Envelopes

USPS offers a "if it fits, it ships" policy for their flat rate options, meaning regardless of weight, the shipping cost stays the same if items fit within the specified dimensions.

FedEx One Rate

FedEx One Rate provides simple, predictable pricing for packages under 50 lbs within the US, which can extend to international shipping as part of a cost-effective strategy.

UPS Worldwide Express Boxes

UPS Worldwide Express Boxes offer a similar flat-rate service for express shipments. If speed and predictability are paramount, this could be an ideal option.

Consider Alternative Shipping Methods

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders consolidate shipments, offering lower rates by leveraging bulk logistical operations and negotiating capabilities.


Similar to freight forwarders, consolidators amalgamate packages heading to the same destination to optimize space utilization and cost.

Peer-to-Peer Shipping Platforms Like Grabr and PiggyBee

Emerging peer-to-peer shipping models provide alternatives to traditional carriers. These platforms can offer lower rates by matching travelers with shipping needs.

Optimize Packaging to Reduce Costs

Use Lightweight and Compact Packaging Materials

Shipping costs are heavily influenced by weight and size. Utilizing lightweight, size-efficient packaging minimizes unnecessary expenses.

Minimize Packaging Dimensions and Weight

Assess your product's packaging. If it's larger or heavier than necessary, it's time to downscale. Precision in packaging directly translates to cost-efficiency in shipping.

Utilize Flat-rate Boxes Whenever Possible

When products fit within flat-rate dimensions, it’s usually the most economical choice, eliminating concerns around weight surcharges.

Take Advantage of International Shipping Discounts and Promotions

Sign Up for Carrier Loyalty Programs

Many carriers offer loyalty programs that include discounts, rebates, and other incentives that reduce shipping rates over time.

Seek Out Special Deals and Offers for International Shipping

Carriers and third-party vendors periodically offer promotions. Staying alert to these can result in significant savings.

Leverage Regional Carriers and Local Postal Services

Research Local Carriers in the Destination Country

Sometimes regional carriers in the destination country can offer better rates for the final leg of delivery.

Utilize Localized Shipping Services Like Asendia, Parcel Monkey, etc.

Using localized services for international shipments can be a game-changer in cost savings, as these carriers often have specialized, lower-cost networks.

Ship During Off-Peak Seasons and Non-urgent Periods

Avoid Peak Holiday Seasons

Rates tend to spike during high-demand periods. Whenever possible, schedule around these times to secure lower rates.

Consider Economic Shipping Options for Non-essential Items

For less time-sensitive shipments, economy services offer considerable savings over express options.

Explore Shipping Options with Online Marketplaces

Buy Items from International Sellers Within Online Marketplaces

Purchasing from sellers with stock located closer to your customers can slash international shipping costs.

Utilize Marketplace Shipping Programs and Fulfillment Services

Large online marketplaces offer shipping programs with volume-based discounts, which can be very cost-effective for businesses.

Consider Forwarding Services to Buy in One Country and Ship to Another

Research Package Forwarding Companies

Forwarding services act as intermediaries, receiving packages and then forwarding them internationally often at better rates than direct shipment.

Utilize Package Forwarding Services Like MyUS and Borderlinx

Services like MyUS and Borderlinx negotiate shipping rates on your behalf, providing an option for cheaper international logistics.

Negotiate Shipping Rates with Carriers

Discuss Volume Discounts with Carriers

Most carriers are willing to offer lower rates for businesses that ship in large volumes. Don't hesitate to negotiate.

Explore Negotiated Rates for Regular International Shippers

If your business ships internationally on a regular basis, use this leverage to negotiate better terms and services with carriers.

Optimize Customs Declarations and Paperwork

Understand Customs Regulations and Documentation Requirements

Mitigate the risk of delays and additional fees by comprehensively understanding and complying with customs regulations.

Accurately Declare Item Values and Categories

Proper declarations prevent penalties and ensure that shipments move quickly through customs, avoiding unnecessary costs.

Track and Manage Shipments Efficiently

Utilize Tracking and Monitoring Tools

Using tracking tools helps identify and resolve issues proactively, potentially saving money on lost shipments and customer service.

Stay Organized with Shipment Management Software

Software solutions can streamline the shipping process, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency, ultimately cutting costs.

Start Saving Today with ShipSigma

We've examined various strategies businesses can implement to reduce international shipping rates effectively. From leveraging shipping calculators to optimizing packaging and negotiating with carriers, the approaches discussed provide a comprehensive roadmap to cost savings in global logistics.

As businesses face escalating shipping demands, these 15 tactics can be transformative. ShipSigma invites you to integrate these practices and realize substantial savings. Execute these strategies to not only survive in the competitive international marketplace but to thrive with improved margins and enhanced customer satisfaction.

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