Checklist for international shipments

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Afbeelding voor Checklist for international shipments

Would you like to start sending parcels abroad? There are a number of specific rules and matters to consider beforehand, so make sure you’re well prepared! We have drawn up a checklist to help you.

1. Stick to the specifications for parcel shipments.

For countries in the European Union and beyond, different requirements apply in terms of the maximum permitted sizes and weights for parcel shipments. Make sure you check the specifications carefully before sending your parcel.

2. Check that you are permitted to send your products.

For parcels with destinations within the EU, the same rules apply as for parcels with destinations in the Netherlands regarding what you are and are not permitted to send. Outside of the European Union, some items are prohibited or may only be shipped to the destination country under certain conditions. Those items include alcoholic beverages and flammable liquids. Check which items you are permitted to send in advance. Read the list of prohibited items.

3. Check that the content of your parcel is permitted in the destination country.

When shipping your products to international destinations, check that they are permitted in the destination country. In the event of a breach of customs rules, customs authorities are authorised to destroy the prohibited items. Your items cannot be reimbursed and you may receive a fine.

4. Be aware of import duties.

If you are sending a parcel to a destination outside of the European Union, your customer may have to pay import duties. The amount depends on the type of product. Always enclose a clear, honest invoice.

5. Use the correct packaging for your products.

Parcels shipped to international destinations can cover quite some ground. That’s why it’s important that your parcel can take a beating. Always use sturdy packaging that is the right size and protects the product. An extensive list of packaging tips is available here.

6. Check the address on the shipping label.

To ensure your parcels with international destinations are delivered to the right recipients at the right time, the addresses need to be stated correctly. Foreign addresses can have a different format from domestic addresses. This is country-specific. To check this, there is a useful tool that can save you a lot of time.

  • Check in advance whether a PO box address or pick-up location has been specified as the delivery address. With the exception of Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, parcels cannot be sent to foreign PO box addresses or pick-up locations.
  • Company name: If the address relates to a company, hotel, bungalow park, sports club or apartment complex, you can specify this here. If no company name is specified, leave this field blank. If a company name is known, the company name on the label must correspond with the name on the façade or by the doorbell.
  • Name: If a company name has been entered, enter the name of the contact person or relevant department that can receive the parcel. For shipments to consumers, the name on the label needs to correspond with the name specified on the door or doorbell.
  • Postcode: Postcode formats vary from country to country. The country-specific formats are listed on this page with an example for each format.
  • Street, house number, suffix:
    • Write the street name in full. 
    • If your customer specifies that there is no house number and the house has a name instead, the house name needs to be specified as the company name. 
    • In Belgium, suffixes that come after the house number are indicated by Bus (e.g. Marktplein 3 Bus 2). 
    • Try to keep suffixes in foreign addresses as short as possible (Apt. 3).
  • Extra street field: Please note that many addresses in Scandinavia and France require a door or apartment access code. You can specify the code in the extra street field.
  • Town/city: Enter the town/city and, if applicable, the region.
  • Email address and telephone number: Specify a telephone number and email address for your customer on the parcel. In many cases, the recipient is contacted by the foreign carrier about the status of the shipment. If your customer is not present at the time of delivery, the foreign carrier may deliver the shipment to the neighbours.

7. Specify the transmission time in advance.

Avoid frustration and ambiguity by informing your customer in advance about the expected delivery date of the parcel. You could include this in the Track & Trace email, for example. For parcels that cross the border of the European Union, customs clearance time needs to be factored in. Clearance time may extend a parcel’s transmission time. A full summary of the transmission time per country is available here.

8. Adhere to the customs formalities.

If you send parcels to countries within the European Union, free movement of goods and services and favourable conditions apply to trade. The conditions affect delivery times, delivery conditions, customs formalities and tariffs and do not apply to goods and services shipped to destinations outside of the European Union. Customs formalities apply to shipments with foreign destinations. For countries that require customs forms, the forms are integrated into our system. The CN23 form, CP71 form and Commercial Invoice are all provided by our system. More information about completing the required customs forms is available here.

9. Unsuccessful delivery attempt notification.

If a delivery attempt is unsuccessful, the foreign carrier is not obliged to put a notification in the letterbox. For foreign shipments, it is important that your customer monitors the shipping status. To ensure that your customer can track a foreign shipment, you need to include the customer’s email address when creating the shipping label and enable the function that sends Track & Trace emails to your customer. If you have not yet enabled this function, you can do so by following the steps below:

Log into your MyParcel account —> Account settings —> Track & Trace —> Send Track & Trace emails —> Ja

More information

We hope our checklist has helped you prepare your parcels for shipping across the world. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!