Send package abroad

When you are going to send a package abroad, there are several things that you have to take into account. We are happy to tell you what these are!

The product

If you want to send a product to a country outside the European Union, you as a sender must familiarize yourself with the export requirements that apply to the country in question. Each country has its own conditions and other products to which they set requirements. The different rules are there to protect consumers, protect the environment or protect the home market against (unfair) competition. In addition, carriers may also impose restrictions on certain goods, such as lithium batteries, glassware, live animals, works of art and dangerous goods.]


The package

Good packaging is essential to protect your shipment and prevent damage. Your shipment is loaded into and out of different vehicles several times and passes several times over a conveyor belt in a sorting center. During sorting, your package will regularly bump into other packages and other packages may also be placed on top of your package. You can imagine that when your package is at the very bottom of a roll container, there are quite a few packages on top. Your packaging must therefore be able to withstand a knock, but also be sturdy enough to bear the weight of other packages.

If you are going to send shipments with a high value, it is of course important that you do not show this on the outside of the packaging. So do not send a brand new iPhone in the original packaging, but also do not send a product of a lower value in packaging from an expensive brand.


Choose the transport service

We can write entire books about choosing the right transport service. At its core, you have the following three basic transportation services:

  • letter post: these are documents and letterbox parcels that are delivered through the letterbox. Usually the local postal services such as PostNL or LaPoste are specialized in this, because they have these delivered by the postman on the bicycle at the same time as the letter post instead of a parcel deliverer in a car.
  • Parcel post: these are packages that do not fit through the letterbox and for which the driver rings the recipient's doorbell. These networks are intended for very many packages to keep costs down. Think of carriers such as DPD, PostNL, DHL eCommerce and GLS in the Netherlands.
  • Express: these are fast deliveries over a network in which fewer shipments are processed. Shipments get a lot of attention here. Think of carriers such as DHL Express, UPS and TNT/FedEx.

In addition, each carrier has its own specialty. Here too we have various criteria on which you can choose the carrier. You read this here.

Our experts are happy to help you make the right choice. Via shipping rules we can configure our software in such a way that you always choose the right service and carrier, taking into account the above points. This way we can of course also set you to always opt for the lowest rates!



The various aspects described in the previous section will of course influence the rate that will be charged. In addition, many carriers have additional surcharges:

  • Additional services: carriers have various extra services, such as a signature for receipt, non-delivery at a parcel point or at the neighbours, age check or even an identity check.
  • Size: carriers would like to be able to stack as many parcels on top of each other as possible. If your package cannot be stacked because it has an odd shape such as a triangle, most carriers will charge an 'extra handling' surcharge. This is also the case when the shipment cannot be sorted via a conveyor belt, such as, for example, with a cylindrical package or package in a plastic seal bag. If the shipment is larger or heavier than allowed, it will be returned and there will be a substantial surcharge.
  • Incorrect dimensions or weight: Most carriers charge extra costs if the dimensions or weight of your shipment are incorrect. Most carriers measure and weigh each package and bill if it differs.
  • Fuel Surcharge: sometimes carriers list fuel costs in the fine print. Due to the rising fuel prices, a surcharge of 20 percent is currently common practice.
  • Prepare customs forms and clearance costs: each carrier charges a substantial extra amount for checking the commercial invoice and customs form. Some carriers even charge for this when the recipient refuses the shipment. If you forget to add the commercial invoice to the shipment, the shipment will often be returned or the carrier will ask you to send it (more about this later).
  • Peak surcharges: in the busy period around the holidays, carriers often charge extra surcharges.
  • Consumer delivery: Express carriers such as UPS and TNT are designed for delivery to business addresses and therefore apply a surcharge if they deliver to consumers. All deliveries in a house (residential area) are often seen as consumer deliveries, even if, for example, a physiotherapist or hairdresser is located here.
  • Second delivery: a surcharge is often applied if the recipient is not present when the carrier attempts to deliver the shipment. 
  • Return: if a shipment cannot be delivered, you usually pay the outward, return and a fine. 
  • Remote areas: some carriers charge extra if the shipment has to be delivered to a remote area. In the Netherlands, for example, these are the Wadden Islands. 


To ensure

When you send a product with a high value, it is important that you make a choice whether additional insurance is necessary. The options differ per transport service:

  • letter post: insurance is usually not possible here, because there is no proof that the shipment has been delivered. The carrier almost never looks for a lost shipment. Gone is gone.
  • Parcel post: most carriers charge a kilo price when a shipment is lost. Carriers use CMR conditions for transport within the Netherlands and AVC conditions for transport outside the Netherlands. The carrier is thus liable for loss and damage. However, standard liability is limited. For CMR this is about 10 euros and for AVC about 3,40 euros per kilogram.

    Some carriers such as DPD have standard insurance up to 500 euros. There are usually some conditions attached to this, such as an exclusion of electronic devices, art, money or glass. 
  • Express: because many cameras are used in these networks at every sorting center, the chance that a package is lost is much smaller than with parcel post. Here again the CMR and AVC conditions apply and you can insure a shipment extra. This can usually be done at the 'declared value' or the value of the shipment. The options offered by these insurance policies are usually very extensive.

You can of course also take out transport insurance yourself if you regularly want to send valuable shipments. This is often cheaper than taking out insurance through the carrier. Wuunder's software can be set up in such a way that shipments above a certain value are immediately insured.

Is the shipment of high value or is 100% correct delivery necessary? Maybe Same Day delivery is the right choice for your package. Here read more about it.

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The shipping label

The contents of a shipping label may seem like a simple choice, but nothing could be further from the truth… You have to pay attention to the full things here: 

  • Correct address: It is of course very self-evident that a correct address is necessary for a delivery to be successful. Therefore, try to validate the address in the check-out. Often a house number is forgotten in a hurry. Provide the option to add an addition to the location in a second address line, such as 'building A, apartment 2'. Sometimes even GPS locations are used here to make it easier for the delivery person. In some countries there are still no postal codes such as in Hong Kong and the Netherlands Antilles. Please note that sending to a PO box or freepost number is often only possible via a postal carrier (letter post) such as PostNL or Bpost. If you send via another carrier to a PO box or freepost number, the shipment will be returned.
  • Phone: the telephone number is often used by drivers abroad to contact the recipient. If the recipient does not answer, the driver often does not take the risk of driving to a remote home and the shipment is delivered to a parcel shop.
  • E-mail: the e-mail address is used by the carrier to inform the recipient of the arrival of the shipment. If you do not use the e-mail address, the chance of a return is greater, because the recipient does not know when to expect the shipment. You also do not give the recipient the opportunity to influence the delivery. For destinations outside the EU such as Switzerland and Norway, the e-mail address is used to pay the import duties. 
  • Reference: when a shipment has a high value, it is important not to use the contents. So don't use as reference for example: Apple iPhone 13.
  • Stickers: Stick the shipping label on the center of the flat side without falling over the edge. Also make sure that the ink does not run out during the printing of the shipping label. There are special printers on the market for printing shipping labels. When a barcode cannot be scanned by the carrier, surcharges often follow.
  • Upside downside: most carriers do not look at stickers on the package indicating the top and/or bottom. So assume that your package will go through the transport process in different positions during the journey.


The commercial invoice

If you send a shipment to a country outside the EU such as Norway, Switzerland and England, you must also stick three commercial invoices on the shipment in addition to the shipping label. Read more about this on our website. Wuunder employs various specialists who know everything about import and export.

Import duties

Within the EU you can send goods freely and you have to charge VAT. You can of course get these costs back from the tax authorities.

If you send a shipment to a country outside the EU, the recipient does not pay VAT on the value of the purchase, but pays these import duties. The amount of this amount depends on the nature of the product and the country of receipt. For business customers, the carrier is often asked to state the VAT numbers immediately, so that settlement is more efficient. For private individuals, the carrier sends an e-mail with a request for payment. If the recipient does not comply with the import duties, the shipment will be returned. This must therefore be communicated well with the buyer.


Tracking the shipment

When sending a package abroad, you have to deal with a longer shipping process than when you send a package domestically. This means that there are also more places where things can go wrong. With Wuunder you don't have to worry about this: we proactively track the shipments of our customers. We keep a close eye on everything from collection to delivery. If something goes wrong during the shipping process, such as delays, an incorrectly entered address by the recipient or if a shipment has not been collected, we will immediately contact the carrier to solve this. We call this service the control tower

This service is not possible with letter post, because these shipments do not contain a barcode and are not scanned by the carrier. You can of course always ask your customer whether the shipment has been delivered after the expected delivery date.


Communication with the recipient

Good communication is crucial for the recipient of the package. By proactively communicating with the recipient about the status of the order, you avoid unnecessary phone calls, emails and frustration. Wuunder takes this communication off your hands. We inform the recipient about the delivery process and when something goes wrong we keep them informed in detail. As a result, the recipient always knows what is wrong with the shipment and a successful delivery can be trusted.

✅ Checklist: Send a package abroad

When you are going to send a package abroad, there are several things that you have to take into account. With this checklist you ensure that you have everything in order and that you are ready to send your package abroad!

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