Shipping from one state to another is expensive.
However, when you start shipping internationally, the prices continue to get even higher.
Sometimes international shipping is so expensive that it becomes too costly to send something overseas.
There are many reasons behind this as shipping is a very complicated process.
Here are five of the major reasons you are going to spend a lot of money shipping something internationally.
Why Is International Shipping So Expensive?
1. Fuel Charges (Boat/Plane)
It takes a lot of fuel to ship something overseas.
Most of the time, a package is going to need to be transported by truck as well as by boat or plane.
The combination of these shipping methods is what causes the pricing to be so high.
The shipping on a plane increases the costs significantly.
Jet fuel is very expensive, and because this type of shipping is so fast, you will pay to have it get there so quickly.
Shipping via sea can typically be a bit less expensive, but it takes a very long time to get there as opposed to air freight.
Shipping rates are determined by how far something needs to travel but also by how it is going to get there.
When you ship something internationally, you are not going to have many options when it comes to pricing.
If you look at local or domestic shipping, you usually have several carriers to choose from, and there are additional rates you can pick as well.
You may find that, if you wait an extra day or two, your package can get there for a few dollars less.
Since the fuel charges are so high for international shipping, there is not much that can be done about choosing different shipping rates.
You will essentially be stuck with the rate you are given and will have to decide whether or not to ship an item.
2. Bulk and Volume Discounts
With all of the low-priced products you see for sale that are coming from other countries, you may wonder how that could be.
How could it cost $85 to ship a small box overseas, yet there are products that were shipped internationally selling in stores for $2.00?
This has everything to do with bulk and volume discounts.
If you are an individual person shipping one package, you are not going to get a bulk or a volume discount.
You will be charged a premium price because your project is going to take almost as much manpower as a large shipment.
Therefore, the pricing has to make sense, and there needs to be enough money to cover every leg of the trip.
You can break this down into very simple terms to help understand it better.
Think about a carrier that has to take one package overseas.
Let’s just say they are going to need to make $10.00 in profit from this package.
Now, if they have another person who is willing to ship six packages all at the same time, they may be willing to make $20.00 in profit because the steps involved were essentially the same.
Taking that profit rate and dividing it among those six packages helps the shipper to save money.
The more you ship, the less money you will spend per shipment.
However, this does not mean that, if you send a box to your aunt in France once a month, you will spend less money.
These bulk shipping discounts for international shipping usually apply to something being sent all at once.
For companies that are shipping large amounts into and out of the country, they usually have shipping contracts in place.
They will partner with a company like FedEx to set up agreed rates for the weight and volume they are sending.
These rates help both the shipping company and the manufacturer determine their budgeting and their product pricing.
It would be much too complicated to deal with each package individually because of the volume that is done.
If you need to ship a package internationally, see if you have a friend who owns a company.
If they do a lot of overseas shipping, then they may have an account in place which could help to save you a bit of money.
3. Overhead Costs of Couriers
When you start thinking about the overhead costs that a courier company has, it may start to give you a bit of a headache.
The overhead costs in the shipping industry are some of the highest around.
Not only are there fuel costs like we discussed, but there is vehicle maintenance, employee expenses, insurance, and more.
A shipping company usually is involved in both ground freight and air freight.
This means that they are going to need drivers and pilots.
The training and hiring of these personnel are of the utmost importance which leads to large human resources departments.
There will likely be hundreds of employees who are all going to need insurance, benefits, and time off.
Without the employees and the people, no packages would be delivered.
After you have accounted for the costs for all the people, you need to consider the costs of the vehicles.
Vehicles like cars, trucks, and airplanes are quite expensive.
They will have a high initial cost, but the maintenance costs are also going to remain quite high.
In addition to continual checks on the equipment, there will be employees and entire departments of people who are dedicated to keeping the equipment in great shape.
After all, if a plane or a truck breaks down, it is going to mean there are quite a few unhappy customers involved.
Having to continually monitor these vehicles also costs money when it comes to parts.
If a truck is out delivering packages six days a week from morning until the night, it is having quite a few miles put on it.
This truck will need oil changes and other work done to the outside and the inside, and all of that is going to cost money.
Also included in the overhead costs the couriers have to pay are the taxes and fees specific to where they are shipping and what they are shipping.
If shipments contain food and or liquid, they will go through additional inspections.
These inspections need to be paid for.
There are taxes that shipping companies need to pay when it comes to importing and exporting goods.
As you can see, the entire process is very involved, and it costs quite a bit of money to keep a courier business up and running.
These costs get placed back into the hands of the customers.
4. More Steps Involved
Another reason international shipping is so expensive is the extra steps involved.
When you ship a package from one town to the next, there are a few steps involved.
The package will be picked up, sorted, and then put on a truck and sent back out.
The process takes some time, but it is not quite as involved as international shipping.
When something is shipped internationally, it has to go through quite a bit of ground shipping before it even takes a flight or a trip on a boat.
The package needs to travel a long way before it gets to travel overseas.
When the package does arrive at the international destination, it needs to be moved around yet again.
This is quite a bit of working with and moving the package around.
When you consider all of the times an employee had to move a package, you can see how the pricing is going to increase.
The package needs to be handled with care so that it does not break, but it needs to be kept track of as well.
The complicated and high-end software that helps manage all packages and their location is another reason international shipping costs are so high.
These steps are kind of unavoidable in order to get to specific locations.
There won’t be much you can do about lowering your international shipping rates, but you certainly won’t be able to complete this process on your own.
The weight of your package is going to have a large effect on the cost of international shipping.
The heavier your package is, the more it is going to cost to send.
Of course, this is the case with domestic shipping as well, but there is a much larger impact when it comes to international shipping.
The planes that are used to move cargo internationally have precise weight limits.
As an example, if a plane can take 10,000 pounds of freight, and your package weighs 1000 pounds, you will be responsible for 1/10 of the cost of that flight.
Of course, this is a very simplified example, but you can see that the weight of shipping a product is a major consideration in the price that you pay to have a package delivered internationally.
Sometimes you can avoid this by packaging things a bit lighter and only choosing to ship lighter items internationally.
For some people, though, the heavier weights are unavoidable, and you will be stuck with these costs.
How to Save Money on International Shipping
If you, as an individual, are shipping a package to another country, there won’t be much you can do to save money.
An individual is going to pay the premium rate for the delivery of one package.
If you are trying to send a gift to someone in another country, you may be better off looking for an online seller who can deliver the new product for you.
You could purchase something in the United States, but by the time you pay the shipping on it, you will end up spending too much to get the gift delivered.
Instead, see if you can buy the product online and have it delivered directly to the person who lives overseas.
Although you still may pay a shipping surcharge, it is usually not relatively as high as shipping a package on your own.
The company you purchase from likely has a bulk discount shipping rate which you can benefit from.
Hopefully, we have helped you see that international shipping is costly for many reasons.
The prices are justified because of all of the steps that are involved in this process.
When you want to get a product from one country to another, you can expect to pay a great deal of money.
For every person involved in the shipping process to make their fair share of the money, this process is not likely to get less expensive anytime soon.
International shipping rates are also going to be continually affected by fuel prices.
Be prepared for a large bill the next time you try to ship something to another country.