How long does it take to ship a package abroad?

Sending shipments internationally is almost as easy as within the Netherlands. We also call this 'cross border' sending. Shipping is especially easy within the European Union. Outside the European Union, there is a little more to it because of the customs conditions that your shipment must meet. read here more in our blog about sending parcels abroad. There are two important aspects to the total time between collection and delivery; namely the collection and the delivery speed.


Retrieval speed

When booking a shipment, the speed of collection is very important. 


  • Same day pick up: Most Express carriers such as TNT/FedEx, DHL Express and UPS pick up the same day. This depends on the location where the shipment is to be picked up. Is this location close to a sorting center? Then you can book until well into the afternoon and the shipment will be picked up immediately. This last moment of booking is called the cut-of time.


  • Pick up next working day: if you do not meet the cut-of time, the shipment will not be collected until the next working day. This means that there is an extra day on top of the term.


  • Take it to a parcel shop yourself: carriers such as UPS also have parcel shops where the shipment can be delivered. Check carefully in the parcel shop whether the shipments have already been collected by the carrier that day. This prevents disappointment. Shipments are often collected early by carriers, because private individuals more often send shipments through a parcel shop. If you are late, it is sometimes possible to deliver the shipment to a sorting center. However, this is usually not allowed, such as with TNT/FedEx.
Speed ​​of delivery

The speed of delivery is often measured from the moment of collection. Various speeds are possible:

  • The next working day: Express carriers deliver within Europe with their fastest product (often called Express) on the next working day in the larger cities. The Economy product is cheaper, but has a slightly longer term. Outside the larger cities, Express is often not possible and only Economy is possible. 

The networks of the different carriers differ per country. One carrier can often deliver faster than another carrier outside the larger cities. Think of carriers such as DHL Express, UPS and TNT/FedEx. 

Please note that DHL Express is a completely different carrier than DHL eCommerce. DHL Express is, as the name suggests, an Express carrier and DHL eCommerce a parcel carrier that is slower cross border.

  • The same day: this is often only possible with a direct courier. This is a driver who collects the shipment from the sender and takes it directly to the recipient without using a sorting center. This service is comparable to getting in the car yourself.
  • Later than the next business day: these are often the Economy services of the Express carriers. Always check whether a parcel carrier such as DHL eCommerce, DPD and GLS does not offer the same speed at lower rates. The parcel networks try to deliver shipments quickly, but at a lower cost than the Express carriers. As a result, they use a truck more often than an airplane.
  • Much slower: do you opt for a postal transport? Then your shipment is often on its way for one or more weeks. This is often the cheapest solution if speed is not a requirement. In the Netherlands, for example, PostNL and Asendia offer this service. 
Nail Tips
  • A customs process with a non-EU shipment is a step that cannot be influenced. If your shipment is fixed, it is fixed until it has been checked. Always ensure correct paperwork to avoid delays. However, a random check cannot be avoided. In some countries, customs causes enormous delays, such as Brazil. Check with our Solutions specialists if you have a shipment that is super urgent. An onboard courier may also be an option.
  • Carriers often have time options such as delivery before 9 a.m. or 12 noon. Handy if you need the shipment for a line-stopper. In addition, most carriers have a priority option that is often cheaper and means that your package is given priority. However, this has fewer guarantees than the time options. 
  • Parcel carriers often also have Express shipments. This normally means parcel shipments with a time option. 
  • Some carriers such as DPD expect you to provide the packaging with Express tape for DPD Express. So make sure you have this in stock if you want to use this shipping service.
  • Want more tips on international shipping? Then read here our blog about shipping abroad.
Track shipments