According to a recent poll, a whopping 75 percent of the people who shop online expect free delivery. That’s every three in four people ignoring a great deal of hassle that goods have to go through when it comes to shipping or transporting; the fuel alone makes it so that ensuring free delivery on every item could make the retailer themselves go bust with just a couple of deliveries. And the same goes for international shipping. The costs are just astronomical for international shipping, which leads us to this question; why exactly is international shipping so expensive?

Well, for one, international shipping is very much different than your UberEats from the local mom-and-pop eatery, even though they follow the same routine, the same procedure (albeit a bit scaled down) and the same transportation methods. But even UberEats charges a hefty amount in lieu of taxes, VAT and surcharges, so you might have an idea why international shipping gets so expensive. But one might argue, doesn’t bulk shipping drive down costs that make it not a task to find good deals? Well, yes, of course. It certainly doesn’t mean that a ship that fails to meet its least cargo requirement sets sail nonetheless, but the fact is, it still keeps the price pretty high. 

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Here are a few reasons why international shipping is so expensive,

Why Is International Shipping So Expensive?

As explained beforehand, even if we factor in the simple logic that bulk shipping drives cumulative costs down and benefits the end customer who has ordered an item to be shipped from overseas, the operating costs are still huge, and while many factors do drive price down, it still isn’t very budget-friendly. Here are some reasons why,

International Shipping is Complex, Which Makes it Expensive:

For your UberEats to get you that burger and fries, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes things that are happening. Same is the case with an international shipment being delivered thousands of miles across the ocean, only all of those things and factors being taken for granted in a local delivery is being passed through international customs. All this mumbo-jumbo might seem a bit of an overkill, so let us simplify it for you.

If you buy a product from in the UK and you reside in Australia, the distance itself is a big reason why shipping will be expensive. But then there are other things which have to be done prior to shipping. 

The packing and delivering to the courier service will be handled by the retailer themselves, after which, the package will be labelled as ‘overseas delivery’, which would allow the Customs of the UK to poke in and see whether the product you want is legal for overseas delivery, isn’t evading custom taxes, and is perfectly legal to be imported to another state. 

Once the package has been through Customs, the international shipping service will determine its weight and board it on the vessel, which could be either a plane or a ship, depending on the time you’ve selected for your delivery and the transportation method you’ve opted for. If the weight exceeds a certain limit, the shipment will then be done via water vessels and not a courier airline. 

After this whole process, the item reaches you, for which you shell out some hundred dollars, disgruntled that international shipment is so expensive, not knowing the entire process through which the package goes and all the time and manpower spent on it.

This is one of the major reasons why international shipments are so expensive.

Shipping Distance:

The second biggest factor that determines the price and the total amount to be paid to the courier service is the distance, which as logic would have it, the more the distance, the more the price. This is where bulk shipment and price drops come in, but they can slash only so much, which would still burn a good hole through your wallet and your pocket. Still better than paying full for it.

Keeping this analogy in mind, you can now understand why it costs so much to ship a product overseas, all the while customers want free shipping. However, its important to note that while distance does determine price, this is not always the case, especially with sea or air courier. Because the fuel, time and distance has been pre-calculated and already been accounted for, making a short-distance trip actually costs the service more, which is why sometimes long-distance shipments are preferred as they keep the overall costs down. Now you know.

Shipping Transport Method:

Another really obvious determinant of price at this point is how the shipment is transported overseas. Only airplanes and ships are used for this, with each coming with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. These also determine the price at which the item will be shipped; airlines usually charge more, but since air shipment take two days maximum, the overall costs can be minimized much. As for shipment using water vessels, which provide safety and relatively no weight restrictions, the costs are initially low as a bulk shipment is being carried by the ship (which drives cost down), but since it takes longer and the courier company has to factor in the costs of living of the crew on the ship, this can drive the cost up substantially.

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There are many factors that also weigh in where costs are concerned; however, these three are the major ones. International shipments only cost reasonable when a bulk shipment, carried by a water vessel, is bound for a long-distance target. This drives the overall cost down, translating into lower costs for the end customer, not to mention good savings and operating costs for the courier company as well. All in all, international shipments cost so much due to the very complex and numerous procedures and protocols behind it, not to mention the various Customs and procedures it goes through before it even leaves the place from where it is initially bought online.