Why Is International Shipping So Expensive?

Found a great product you really want, but shipping to your country is almost twice its price? Left your shopping cart and tweeted about your disappointment? Well, you’re not alone there. Have you ever wondered why international shipping is so costly? We have. And we found that one of the reasons is the way carriers calculate the shipping costs.

When you are done reading through some technical definitions, you will be learning a trick that will let you save quite a bit of money on international shipping. Let’s have a quick look at the different types of weights that shipping service providers use for calculating shipping costs.

Actual weight (Gross weight)

The weight of all goods including packaging. It is measured using the same units as the net weight (weight without packaging) and you can use the GW abbreviation (gross weight) to identify it.

Volumetric weight (Dimensional weight)

Dimensional weight, also known as volumetric weight, is a pricing technique for freight transport (including courier and postal services). It basically estimates the weight based on the package length, width and height. The dimensional weight is usually expressed in cubic meters or cubic feet.

Chargeable weight

The chargeable weight is the highest of the two calculations: actual weight and dimensional weight.

Let’s take a look at this example. You want to buy warm knee-high boots, a woolen sweater, jeans and a winter jacket. The actual weight of your shipment (including packaging) is 8 kg. Package dimensions are 30cm x 50cm x 50cm. To calculate the volumetric weight we need to multiply the three dimensions and divide the result by 5000: 30x50x50 / 5000 = 15 kg.

The volumetric weight is compared with the actual weight of the shipment and the higher of the two is used to calculate the shipment cost.The volumetric weight in our example is greater than the actual weight of 8 kg, therefore the volumetric weight would be used to calculate the price charged for shipping.

Of course, shipping rates vary from carrier to carrier and depend on the shipping route, but the thing you need to keep in mind is that your shipping costs may be higher if the item you ship internationally is small but heavy or light but big.

What can you do with all this info? Well, the main thing you can do is try to save some money on your next shipment by reducing its dimensional weight. You know how stores may ship a small item, such as a camera or a smartphone, in a huge box surrounded with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap? If this box is shipped internationally, the shipping fees may rob you of the joy of finally getting the gadget you really wanted. Using a forwarder in the store’s country may help you save quite a bit.

For instance, forwarders on offer package consolidation as a service. What that means is that someone takes your purchases out of the box they came in, removes the bubble wrap, the styrofoam and whatever else there might be (like coupons or advertisements), and repacks your items into the smallest box they could be shipped in. That shrinks the package dimensions and therefore reduces the dimensional weight often resulting in significant savings on shipping. If you have a friend or a relative in the store’s country, but have never thought of using them as a forwarder, you may want to try it. It may be well worth it.

Hopefully, now that you know this trick, you will not have to overpay for shipping ever again and will have more fun shopping internationally!

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shaima said alwahaibi
1 year ago
do you have storage limit ?how long can the item be stored in your office, as i used to shop alot and want all my items be shipped at once to save shipping fee
1 year ago
shaima said alwahaibi, regularly our forwarders restrain of charging the storage fee. Simply let your forwarder know that you'd like to purchase products one by one and he would gladly keep your packages for a reasonable amount of time. Please feel free to contact me through "contact us" button in case you need any help using Parcl. Thanks!
Ramanathan B
4 months ago
Dear sir. I am ram from India ; I am a National Table Tennis Player & I need some Table Tennis equipment's from this below shop can You Please purchase for me & send. Then Please get me your service fee details I will shop regularly,Then I am not a dealer & i am buying for my own use only. Then how to place my order.Please guide me. I am from India. Waiting for your Reply. Thanks; Ram.
4 months ago
Hi Ramanathan, thank you for getting touch. We'll be sending you the instructions on how to use the service shortly. Thank you!
2 months ago
hi my name is abdu from lokoja kogi state nigeria please i want know how much you are charging per lb.and are you charging including custom fee or i am paying when the goods arrived. e.g used iphone 6 that cost usd 100 price quote
2 months ago
Hi Abdu, thank you for getting in touch. Please create a deivery request to get a shipping quote. It's free and you will be able to delete a request any time. You can cerate a request here: . Thank you.
Johana Dominguez
3 weeks ago
Hi I made a request and the estimated shipping cost was around $70 but now forwarders are charging around $250. Is this how all shipping costa are?
3 weeks ago
Hello Johana, thank you for getting in touch. This amount might include the items price and additional services cost. You have received several delivery offers, please, email us the particular offer which was initially $70, and then increased to $250 at Thank you.
2 days ago
Hello I want to purchase some items from and ship it ti the united states, the price of shipping is to high, is there anything you can do?
1 day ago
Hi there, thank you for getting in touch. Parcl forwarders can definitely help with your requst. Please create a delivery order to get precise shipping details. Here's a link where you can submit your delivery request: . Thank you!
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