How Long Does International Shipping Take & Ways to Avoid Shipping Delays
Here’s a quick scan through of shipping services that deliver from Singapore to worldwide, and their typical delivery times.
Worldwide Shipping Service
Delivery Time Worldwide
FedEx International First / Priority Express
1-3 working days
FedEx International Connect Plus / Economy
1-5 working days
1-5 working days
2-5 working days
2-9 working days
3-14 working days
Of course, these are just estimates. Exact delivery times vary based on the location you’re shipping to, as well as the prevailing circumstances. To get a delivery estimate that is more accurate, you can get a quote directly with the couriers.
Types of shipping delays and how to avoid them
Shipping delays can be a pain, especially for e-commerce businesses. When badly dealt with, it hurts brand loyalty and customer retention. For care package gifters, it can also be unfortunate, especially if the gift is received after the special event e.g. birthday or Christmas.
Here are some of the common types of delays, the steps you can take to minimise their occurrences or fix them when they occur.
1. Peak volume
Expect this during peak periods like the year end, or Lunar New Year. This happens when shipping partners don’t have enough capacity on their end to deal with the surge in volume.
Peak period delays can add another 3-5 days to your shipment time if you are shipping in the 1-5 working days range.
To manage such delays, plan ahead since peak periods are widely expected. Ship earlier if you can.
If you’re a business shipping to customers, manage their expectations well. This means letting them know about the extended delivery times long before the peak period begins, and encouraging them through various means to order their items in advance.
You can and also should sprinkle these messages throughout the user journey, so your customers will not get disappointed.
2. Congestions and natural disasters
Storms, bad weather, airport congestions, these are delays that cannot be avoided. The best thing to do in such a situation is to keep calm, accept the delay, and make the best of the situation.
The couriers delivering your package meet with such situations periodically, and have processes in place to address them. This could mean rerouting your package via a longer but uncongested route etc.
If this is an urgent shipment and there are other stakeholders involved, keep tabs on the delay via parcel tracking or via communicating with your courier, then update your stakeholders regularly. Also consider offering discounts to help them allay their frustrations!
3. Incomplete paperwork
This is one of the most common causes of shipment delays, and also the most preventable. If you had to take away one thing from this article, it’s probably that you should be careful with your paperwork!
At the base level, you should ensure that the following details are correct:
- Recipient’s particulars and address
- An elaborate description of items e.g. used linen men’s shirt
- Declared value of items
At the next level, there are some types of shipments that require added paperwork. We think that for consumer shipments, the efficient way to manage this is to be responsive. If customs requests details from you, be cooperative and fast.
Also assume that these paperwork can easily get lost in the flood of emails that large shipping companies and customs face while working in the bureaucracy. This means that once you have been prompted to submit paperwork, take on a proactive stance. Figure out how to fill the required paperwork with minimal guidance, and over communicate across multiple threads if needed, to ensure the stakeholders receive the filled paperwork.
A look at our data
What does the data say about what you can expect from delivery times when you ship with JustShip? We took a random sample of 100 parcels we shipped out this August to give you a sense of it.
No. of working days to deliver
Number of parcels
Upon investigation, all 14 parcels that exceeded the service delivery norms had clearance delays of 1-3 days.
Customs did not give added information for 9 of these parcels, they simply took a few days to look through the items before releasing the parcels. This is also why we recommend our shippers to wait and be ready to respond. Often, the shipment gets cleared on its own.
For the other 5 parcels, Customs reached out to the parcel senders to ask for more information regarding their item descriptions and to make some clarifications. They were then released after receiving the appropriate declarations and some simple paperwork e.g. “Do your pens contain toxic substances, where did you purchase them from?”. These are mostly simple to fill, so fret not!
Of course, this is only a sample of 100 parcels. We’ve definitely had shipments that were delayed for 1-2 months, as well as shipment rejections, but these are much fewer in number.
If you are an ecommerce business, expect fewer clearance delays. The 100 parcels we sampled were across different item categories, shipment purposes and destination countries. Ecommerce sellers typically sell only one type of item, and this will scale down compliance requirements.
Also, the paperwork required for your particular item to a particular country will seldom change, so once you learn from the first paperwork you submit, if there even is any to submit, the future ones will be a breeze.
JustShip only partners with the best shipping providers, so take this sample as a reference to what you can expect from the best international courier in Singapore.
Partner with the trusted international courier from Singapore
If you found this article helpful, you are going to love our ultimate guide to international shipping from Singapore. It covers everything you need to know about international shipping, from packing to taxes and everything in between.
Want reliable international shipping that takes 2-5 working days worldwide? JustShip not only offers premium and fast air shipping at fair rates, we also do a complementary review of your paperwork to help you avoid the most common customs paperwork pitfalls so you minimise delays.
To schedule for your free doorstep pick-up, create a shipment with us. We can be there as early as the next weekday.