Shipping documents quickly — How to find the best mailing rates online
Suppose you would like to mail some office documents from Shanghai, China, to New York City — given the importance of the documents, you want it to reach New York in less than a week.
Well, if speed is of the essence, then the way we would find the best rates for mailing a 2kg (4.4 pounds) pack of documents would be to use a reliable courier service that has a presence in the country of origin and at the destination. Fedex, DHL and TNT are world renowned brands with significant global reach, and all three courier companies offer pick up services in Shanghai. You can find the rates for mailing a package by simply visiting each of their websites. After filling up a form with the date (Dec 12, 2014 in our example), weight, from and to destinations, here are the results we obtained.
*NOTE: We went to the China websites of each provider and chose English as language. For accuracy, the rates shown are in Chinese Renminbi (CNY).
As you can see, the lowest rate for mailing a 2kg pack of documents is CNY 537.01 ($86.73 USD). Unfortunately, Fedex notified us at the time of search that the ‘date of arrival’ could not be displayed due to an internal issue.
DHL’s lowest rate is CNY660 ($106 USD) for sending the same package and delivery takes 3 days, no matter which service you opt for apparently. The higher priced service, which is normally the quickest, shows the same delivery day as the lowest priced service. We found that odd, but it is what it is.
TNT’s lowest rate is CNY 690.85 ($111 USD). If you opt for Priority, the cost increases to CNY740 ($119). Using this link to find Transit Times shows the package normally takes 3 working days to arrive in NY.
Once you select the desired rate and delivery type, you next fill out an online form with the sender’s and receiver’s details. Upon confirmation of the package being shipped, Fedex, DHL and TNT, all provide the sender (and sometimes also the recipient) with a tracking code. To use the tracking code, go to the provider’s website and enter the code at the designated tracking section. The tracking code will show the status of the package during the days of delivery. Each time the package reaches a collection center or transit point, the package barcode is scanned and that triggers the status to get updated on the website, showing you where exactly the package has reached.
Rates also vary with destinations. For example, if we were to ship the same 2kg package of documents from Shanghai to Singapore, the lowest rates are:
- Fedex – CNY 395.03 ($63.80 USD)
- DHL – CNY 406.46 ($65.64 USD)
- TNT – CNY 425.42 ($68.70 USD)
Oddly enough, despite Singapore being much closer to Shanghai than New York, the estimated delivery date for the package was still 3 days after the package had been dispatched (on DHL and TNT). It seems that three working days is a minimum requirement for international documents to be processed and to clear customs.
Whichever provider you opt for, make sure you try to be as specific and detailed about the products you are shipping. Rates and delivery times can vary significantly depending on the nature of the goods — be it documents, boxed objects, large cargo, etc.
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