The international mailing system is complicated. When you send a package, one single carrier isn't responsible for delivering it to your recipient. International packages depend on availability of transportation, meaning they go with whichever transportation mode is there at the time (typically a plane, but sometimes it's a boat).
Based on what's happening in the world, available transportation options may be more limited. When tracking your package, this can result in "dead spots" where you might not see any updates for several days at a time... but that doesn't mean your shipment is lost 😉
Global events are beyond the control of the Postal Service, UPS, and Asendia
USPS, UPS, and Asendia are all reliable carriers, and we see most shipments get delivered without a hitch! However, certain global events are out of their hands altogether. Think of situations like certain countries closing their borders due to COVID-19, or a huge container ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal for a week and blocking 10% of global trade 🙈
These sorts of events can clog the international mailing system, and may result in a shipment's tracking info not updating as frequently as normal. Most foreign customers know that international shipments take time... but occasionally, you might run into a frustrated recipient wondering where their package is 😅
No matter what's happening in the world, here are a couple of ways to be proactive about your international shipments:
Purchase additional insurance
Buying extra shipping insurance is the best way to protect yourself against any packages that go missing or arrive damaged. If your international recipient hasn't received their shipment 40 days after you bought the label, you'll be eligible to file a claim for the full declared value of the package 💰
Insurance only costs a few extra bucks here and there, and it's well worth it in case your shipment goes missing. You can learn more about how to add insurance to your packages here.
Set realistic expectations with customers
A second way to protect yourself is to manage expectations from the start. In our experience, a shipping policy on your website can go a long way. Your policy can be as simple or as thorough as you'd like. Either way, it's an opportunity to inform your customers that international shipments may take longer than expected to arrive for reasons beyond your control 👍
Investigating a package once it has left the United States
When you ship an international package with USPS or Asendia, keep in mind that it's extremely difficult to investigate or locate a package once it has left the United States 😅 It's a bit easier to find a package with UPS, however, since UPS utilizes its own network to transport packages around the world. Just enter the tracking number into the UPS tracking portal for the best source of information!
If you're trying to locate an international USPS or Asendia package once it has left the United States, your best bet is to have your recipient contact their country's postal service (or local Post Office), since neither USPS nor Asendia can provide much information once a package is outside of United States borders.
Have any other questions? Chat in with our Support Crew - we're always happy to lend a hook 😃