For international shipments, UPS can act as the customs broker for the importer. A customs broker is needed to facilitate the shipment and then submits paperwork and payments to Customs on your behalf. UPS charges “Brokerage Fees” associated with the services provided as a customs broker. These fees aren't included in the cost of your label, and they must be paid in order for your recipient to receive the package.
What are Brokerage Fees?
Brokerage fees are “service fees” that UPS assesses by acting as the customs broker to clear packages through countries’ customs departments.
Brokerage fees vary from country to country but are generally based on entry complexity, customs and other agency requirements, and the UPS service selection. Fees include, but are not limited to: Entry Preparation Fees, Disbursement Fees, and, of course, any applicable duties and taxes.
The premium and faster air international UPS services include the Entry Preparation fee in the shipping rate, so you will likely pay fewer brokerage fees versus UPS international ground service (i.e. UPS® Standard to Canada and UPS® Standard to Mexico).
Which International UPS Services Are Subject to Broker Fees?
All international UPS services are subject to brokerage fees. While the more premium/expedited UPS services may incur fewer brokerage fees, these fees should be expected with all services.
For instance, if you use a UPS international air service (i.e. UPS Worldwide Express®, UPS Worldwide Saver®, and UPS Worldwide Expedited®), routine brokerage fees like Entry Preparation fees are included in the cost of postage, but any additional brokerage fees that are applicable are not included. On the other hand, UPS International ground services (UPS® Standard to Canada or Mexico) incur both routine brokerage fees and any additional brokerage fees that are applicable.
UPS Worldwide Express® is the premium and fastest UPS service on Pirate Ship, but incurs a lower broker fee than UPS® Standard to Canada and Mexico. This is because UPS includes routine customs clearance for UPS Worldwide Express® shipments, as well as for UPS Worldwide Saver® and Worldwide Expedited® shipments. Although you would not incur an entry preparation fee, other brokerage fees such as a Disbursement fee may apply.
Pirate Ship Doesn’t Include Broker Fees in the Cost of Labels
Through our partnership with UPS, Pirate Ship offers "DDU" labels, which stands for Delivery Duty Unpaid. UPS doesn’t include the cost of broker fees into their DDU labels, and this is how we're able to offer such affordable rates for international UPS services!
You Can Choose to Pay these Fees for your Recipients
Sometimes, UPS offers anyone the ability to pay broker fees, and you can choose to do so on behalf of your recipients. Just look for the “Pay Now” button on the UPS tracking portal when you enter your international UPS tracking number 👍
If that button is there, you can pay any import taxes, government charges, customs fees, and broker fees to clear your shipment through the destination country’s customs department!
How to avoid paying these fees
Broker fees can be an expensive—and unexpected—financial burden on your international shipments. If you want to avoid your recipients from paying these fees, here are a couple of options:
Ship with Simple Export Rate®
Simple Export Rate is an invite-only international service exclusive to Pirate Ship, and by far the cheapest way to send lightweight international parcels under 4 pounds.
To activate Simple Export Rate for your account, just chat with us or email us at email@example.com - we'll enable it for you so you can start saving booty right away 💰
Ship with any international USPS® service
Another way to avoid UPS broker fees is to use any of the international USPS services on Pirate Ship: First Class Package International Service®, Priority Mail International®, or Priority Mail Express International®.
None of the international USPS services impose any additional broker fees on top of what you pay for your postage. Once you click the green "Get Rates" button when making your label, you'll see all the international USPS services that apply listed in the Choose a Service drop-down menu.
Note: Although international USPS services aren’t subject to broker fees, your recipients will still have to pay customs duties and import taxes.
Any questions? Chat with our Support Crew and we'll do our best to steer you to clearer waters 😃