Why is My International Package Taking So Long?

Learn why international packages may experience tracking "dead spots" and how you can be proactive about combating inevitable delays
Why is my international package taking so long?

As eCommerce keeps growing, more and more business owners find themselves shipping products to customers overseas. While international sales are super exciting, it isn’t without its fair share of headaches. Namely, packages have a tendency to go through “dead spots” in their tracking information…which can be extremely frustrating to have to explain to an impatient customer. So, we thought we’d offer a brief explanation of why your international package may be taking so long to arrive.

International Packages are Subject to Global Events Beyond a Shipping Carrier’s Control

Many shippers are quick to blame the carrier when an international package takes way longer to arrive than expected. “It’s DHL’s fault!”; or “Asendia really messed things up!” are some of the phrases we hear thrown around a lot. However, while carriers do make the occasional mistake, shipping companies aren’t the ones to blame in most cases.

The truth is, the global mailing system is a complex system that’s based on availability of transportation. That means that a package goes to whichever mode of transportation is available for it at any given time. Sometimes this is a plane, and other times this is a boat. Certain global events can make transportation much more scarce than usual. Two examples are the Coronavirus pandemic that caused nearly every country to close its borders during 2020, and more recently, the huge ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal and held up 10% of global trade for a week!

How You Can Prepare for Your Packages Arriving Later than Expected

If you’re shipping to overseas customers, delays for some packages are unfortunately inevitable. However, you can always be proactive about these before they become an issue! Here are two ways you can prepare for delayed international packages:

Purchase Shipping Insurance

Adding shipping insurance to your packages is the best way to protect yourself in the event of long delays. Shipping insurance typically only costs a couple of dollars (depending on the full declared value of your item), and it’s well worth it to be able to file a claim in case your package is stuck in transit for a long time. You’ll also be able to file a claim if your shipment arrives damaged…which does happen, too!

Learn more about protecting your packages with shipping insurance.

Manage Customer Expectations

Secondly, it’s all about setting the right expectations. Here’s the thing: if you know the service you paid for typically takes a certain amount of time for delivery, be transparent about it. Including a shipping policy on your website where you lay out these facts is a simple way to do just that. You can also include in your policy that you insure your international packages (if you do, in fact, buy insurance), and that you’re able to file a claim after a certain amount of days have passed from the time you sent their products. This way, you’ll be able to either offer your customers a full refund, or send a replacement item at no extra cost.

Trust us when we tell you that, when it comes to keeping your customers happy, a little information can go a long way!


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