Differences between domestic and international shipping
Mark Feinstein Sr Vice President at Asendia USA (a large US consolidator) really stresses transparency… “Online retailers should clearly communicate holiday shipping deadlines to avoid disappointment. Running a promotion to offer shoppers an incentive to shop early is an effective way for retailers to get orders in and shipped in time to meet deadlines.  When retailers are transparent with shoppers about holiday shipping deadlines, it leads to a more enjoyable customer experience.”

When goods or documents are shipped from A to B within a country’s borders that is considered Domestic shipping. Regularly, you will often find these services to be extremely fast, and occasionally same-day delivery is available from certain carriers. Two-day and three-day delivery are other common methods of delivery.

In International shipping you will find a difference. The two-day and three-day delivery times are often more costly. In addition, while you might fine delays in domestic shipping uncommon, international shipments can be held up at borders of either the exporting or importing country for customs inspection.

Another difference between the two is that when you ship domestically within the United States you don’t usually need to include any documents beyond a shipping label. While for international shipping you will find more paperwork is needed to ship.  Certain documents, such as a commercial invoice or packing list, are common to both types of shipping, but there may be additional data required when shipping internationally, such as the Schedule B or Harmonized System (HS) codes of each product in the shipment. The differences between domestic and international shipping can play a major part when the peak season starts.

Breaking down International peak season
In many cases logistics can be one of the toughest parts of running a successful business. With so many interchanging variables happening It can be very difficult to guarantee the safe and prompt arrival of your goods.  At least a few times a year you will notice a high volume of traffic in the international freight business known as Peak Shipping season. For those who are new to international logistics this time can be very difficult.

Peak shipping season in the U.S. will occur from August through October. This is due to the many of holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) that are celebrated by many in the following months. For some businesses, the peak season continues through December and January due to Valentine’s Day. Thousands of retailers prepare to stock up for the holiday shopping season. You can even notice volume picking up as early as July.  In the world of international shipping you will find out that there are two main peak shipping seasons.  The first one takes places due to the demand of holiday shipping. The logistics for the first peak season starts in mid- August and runs through mid-October. Unlike the first peak season the second one is shorter which is triggered by the break of Chinese New Year.

You will find that demand on shipping services is increased during these times of the year. Volumes for shipping will increase drastically globally as retailers make their orders and distribution centers feel the strain. With supply and demand, this means that prices include a surcharge at these times of year and are a lot more expensive to fulfill. You also find that truck drivers are harder to come by, freight rates will increase tremendously, and transit times will experience lengthy delays.

Causes for the Peak Season
You might be wondering what causes a peak season for international shipping. The main reason is demand. As school begins to start back in the fall the demand for supplies starts to go up kicking off peak season.  This demand surge will continue through Black Friday and Cyber Monday causing a massive increase in volume of retailer sales. The last-minute holiday sales that come through keep the peak season busy.  With the last few months of the year being prime shopping season retailers need goods in their stores to meet the demand by consumers. The holiday season is key to driving the retailer’s profit. With new technology and product launches for iPhones, tablets, mobile phones, game consoles, toys and other electronics are timed to take full advantage of the shopping season. Getting them to market quickly and on time for releases also drives the peak season.

What To Expect during Peak Season
With any high demand you can expect to see an increase in prices. The same goes for international shipping.  Carriers understand there is high demand around this time period so they will increase rates. Expect international shipping cost and higher rates from carriers during peak season. The General Rate Increase (GRI) and Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) are terms you will see during peak season GRI is the adjustment of container shipping rates across all shipping routes.  If you are thinking how you can avoid paying high, unfortunately there’s no real way to avoid paying higher rates during this time.

You can expect high volumes of traffic and delays, cargo will be among extremely high volumes of traffic. There is also a higher risk or theft, as a shipper you must understand and beware cargo is at higher risk and more likely to be stolen than other times of the year. Some thieves may try to get your cargo by impersonating as truck drivers and security guards.

How Can You Be Ready For Peak Season<
One of the first steps to get ready for peak season is to prioritize. For instance, if you have certain products you really need to transport and arrive on time more than others you should try get those shipped out first. The high demand products should always be sent first to ensure them arrival on time. Peak season is can become very hectic so shipments can get delayed. In some cases, ships can be come overcapacity and then a container can get moved to the next vessel.  Splitting your shipments to manage your inventory is also a good strategy to have. With capacity becoming tight during the peak season its best to book ahead to secure space for your goods.  All your shipments should be insured during peak season due the high risk of accidental loss and damage. Marine insurance covers the loss or damage of ships, cargo, terminals, and any transport by which the property is transferred, acquired, or held between the points of origin and the final destination.

The National Day of the People’s Republic of China holiday takes place from 1st to 7th October. You will find that most activities cease during this time, importers and exporters can expect delayed responses to freight queries as well as considerably less space available on the vessels for their cargo. Be sure to plan for this stop during the peak season.

GlobalPost Products To Help You Get Through Peak Season:
  • Canada DDP will help move products faster during peak.
  • No volume restriction using GP
Let us help you with your shipping needs.