What Leads to Hidden Fees in International Shipping?

If you are familiar with international shipping, you would know the unpleasant surprises that accompany it at times in the form of hidden fees. These are extra charges which were not included in the initial quote and is incurred in the process of shipping for various reasons. While these small fees may seem like not thinking about, when you calculate them altogether, it can cut down your profit margins significantly.

Your friends at Viamar Scilla Transport International has compiled a list of some areas where hidden fees can increase the overall international shipping charges.

  • Shipping related charges

The rates may vary depending on the pickup location, delivery time, etc. There can be certain unforeseen delays on the way which can lead to extra costs you were not notified of earlier.

  • Fuel surcharge- Fuel expenses are usually included the shipping charges by international shipping companies. However, this is a variable cost that can change on a weekly or monthly basis from one country to another. This fluctuation is taken into account while providing you with the quote but if the change is drastic, it may have a significant influence on the shipping fees.
  • Remote area surcharge- Every courier service has a specific area limit and any place beyond that or too remote to access will lead to additional charges. If you want the courier company to pick up the parcel from your home, make sure you clarify your pickup location to them and ensure it is within their area limit if you want to avoid the extra fine as they charge in the form of “remote area surcharge”.
  • Optional value-added services- Additional insurance and services like delivery outside of regular working hours will lead to extra fees. However, these must be chosen by you and you will be notified of the charges, so it should not come as a surprise.
  • Fines- Mistakes may happen while sharing the delivery information and relevant documents. But unfortunately, with an international shipping service, this can cost you heavily. Fines are applicable on address correction, failed and re-attempted delivery and returning charges in case of non-delivery.

If you are shipping anything internationally from Canada, do research on the restrictions, customs fees and chances of additional charges. Choose a reliable international moving company in Canada who is well versed and transparent about their different fees applicable, to avoid last-minute surprises.

  • Parcel-handling charges

This involves the parcel you are shipping, it’s dimension, weight, type of item that is being delivered. If you are shipping anything that is too delicate and fragile, you may incur additional cost for its handling. The following are certain factors which lead to increased shipping charges in this sector.

  • Dangerous goods- Certain items are categorized as “dangerous goods” and if your shipment qualifies as one, you will be liable to pay additional fees for its These additional fees are charged as a percentage of the shipping cost or value of the shipment or sometimes both.
  • Exceeding dimension and weight limit- If the parcel exceeds the weight and dimension limit of the courier service you have chosen, there will be an additional handling fee based on the extra weight or dimension. Also, oddly shaped parcels like cylindrical ones or those made of wood or metal to lead to extra charges. This can best be clarified by the courier service experts and you can choose to consult them before attempting the shipping to be absolutely sure about the procedure.
  • Tax and custom-duty related charges

When you are shipping internationally, the process is complex and there are numerous customs and related taxes which have to be paid.  As these charges vary from one country to another, you may receive a shocking surprise when you see the final amount you are expected to pay.

  • Delivery duty unpaid (DDU)- The recipient is responsible for paying the customs duty and taxes when you opt for this method of shipping. Though you will not see any additional charges reflected on your bill, you must be alert nevertheless as the one on the receiving end may not be willing to pay the taxes or want the shipment anymore. This will lead to additional payments on your part that is unforeseen but you have to be prepared for.
  • Deliver duty paid (DDP)- When you opt for this method, the sender pays the taxes and duties. The pricing is far more complex in this case. The shipping company will charge you the amount, included in the shipping cost so that they can pay on your behalf at the destination country. Expect a “disbursement fee” which is calculated as a percentage of the taxes and duties and will be advanced by the shipping company on your behalf. This will be later billed to you and you will have to pay. The charges can be subsequently high and should not be underestimated.
  • Non-declaration of the items- Under-declaring the value of the shipment can lead to additional fees if the customs agency suspects anything and ask for a new invoice which will incur an additional If you fail to send the revised invoice in time, that in turn will lead to warehouse storage fees as your parcel will remain stranded in the customs. Adding to this, the courier company can charge a fine for undervaluing the goods.

There are many ways an international shipping company can help if you are clear about what you want and have the documents and information you share with them. If you are from Toronto, be sure to consider the international shipping laws relevant to your location.

From your end, being aware of the possible factors that lead to additional charges will help you to avoid them. The points mentioned above are the major reasons behind incurring hidden costs which can be avoided when you are organized and the shipping agent is trustworthy.