International packaging and shipping has never been easier as industries around the world now have easy access to a large collection of freight companies vying for their business.
Three household names have emerged as the world’s biggest international packaging and shipping companies— FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, and DHL Aviation. These top shippers have more aircraft than several of the top 10 international packaging and shipping companies combined.
- FedEx Express has 654 total aircraft worldwide, serving 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express Website
- UPS Airlines owns 266 jets and leases more than 250 additional aircraft during the November-December peak shipping season. UPS serves 97 U.S. Airports and over 112 International Airports. UPS Airlines website
- DHL, the smallest of the three, has a fleet of more than 100 aircraft and serves 150 destinations worldwide. DHL website
Thanks to the sheer volume of business, these top shipping companies have more resources than other shippers. This allows them to offer the most competitive rates. Knowing which shippers are the largest in the industry will help trim the list to just a few. This means, companies won’t waste time on shippers that may not be able to work within their budget.
In addition to the type of shipping company (large, medium, small), several other factors will affect shipping costs. These factors include commodity, gross weight, and volume of the cargo.
- Commodity refers to goods (i.e. laptop computers, heaters, mobile telephones, paint, clothing, etc.).
- Gross Weight of a shipping container, trailer, or package is the weight of the cargo plus the weight of the container, trailer, shipment, or packaging.
- Volume of the Cargo, also known as dimensional weight, is the product of length, width, and height (in inches) of the package.
Keep in mind that air-freight rates are driven by market conditions and are subject to volatility. Charges may also need to include delivery and customs clearance depending on the freight terms. For shipments that include custom checks consider an observation port to expedite customs inspections, download our Observation Port Case Study
Here are some tips on how you can compare international shipping costs FAST!
- Visit the shipper’s website to get a rate quote.
- Enter as much of the requested information as possible.
- If a ballpark figure works for you, then continue on to several other shipper websites to get a rate quote, and shop and compare. It’s fast and it’s easy—especially if your parcel is small.
If the shipment is large and a more precise estimation of international shipping costs is preferred, it might be a good idea to work with a freight forwarder.
- A freight forwarder is already familiar with the process and extensive amounts of paperwork involved with international shipping
- A freight forwarder can arrange storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of shippers.
- A freight forwarder will negotiate freight charges (and leverage their bulk freight buying power), which may result in significant savings on international packaging and shipping costs.