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Best international shipping services and companies: a definitive guide

Daniel Bengochea
Daniel Bengochea
Nov 8, 2023
Best international shipping services and companies

Are you feeling overwhelmed when trying to determine the best international shipping service providers for your business? You've come to the right article.

Shipping internationally can be a complex process, but it is essential for businesses and individuals who want to reach a global audience. With so many different international shipping services available, it is important to choose the best match for your needs.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the different factors to consider when selecting the best shipping company for packages and provide tips for finding the best services for your specific needs. We'll also review some of the top international shipping carriers available.

How to choose the best service for international shipping? Key factors

  • Reliability: you need to be able to trust your shipping service to deliver your packages on time and in good condition, especially when shipping internationally.
  • Price: the best international shipping service can be expensive, so it's important to choose a service that offers competitive rates. However, avoid choosing the cheapest service available, as this may compromise the reliability and quality of the service.
  • Speed: note that express shipping is typically more expensive than standard shipping.
  • Tracking: It's important to be able to track your packages as they make their way to their destination. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to keep your customers updated on the status of their orders.
  • Customer service: choose a private shipping company with good customer service so that you can get help quickly and efficiently if you have any problems with your shipments.

Table of the best international companies for shipping packages

If you're wondering which carrier is the best for international shipping, you can do a quick check in the next comparison table.

Reliability Price Speed Tracking Customer service
UPS Hight Moderate Fast Excellent Good
DHL Hight Moderate Fast Excellent Excellent
FedEx Hight Moderate Fast Excellent Good
Maersk Moderate Hight Slow Moderate Good
TNT Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate
DB Schenker Hight Moderate Moderate Excellent Good
DPD Moderate Low Moderate Good Good
Mondial Relay Moderate Low Slow Moderate Moderate

Are you an online store? Outvio offers seamless integration with most national and international carriers. Connect your store and experience streamlined order management that empower business growth.

The best shipping company for packages: a complete list

Let's do a more in-depth analysis of the different shipping companies and see which one is the best for your needs:

UPS

UPS logo, one of the best international shipping service

UPS is one of the world's largest and most reliable international shipping companies. This logistics provider is renowned for its fast deliveries and a comprehensive range of logistics solutions tailored to various sectors and industries. Probably, it is one of the best international shipping services from the USA.

Why use UPS?

  • Delivers to over 220 countries and territories worldwide, ensuring that your packages reach their destinations seamlessly
  • Offers exclusive customs clearance services, streamlining the process of shipping internationally
  • UPS makes up to three delivery attempts per shipment, minimizing the risk of missed deliveries
  • Provides comprehensive tracking and real-time updates, allowing you to monitor your package's progress throughout its journey
  • Offers a variety of shipping options to suit your specific needs, including time-definite delivery, freight forwarding, and supply chain management

Best UPS international shipping services

  • UPS Express: delivery within 1-3 business days to most parts of the world, with guaranteed delivery times available.
  • UPS Worldwide express Freight: International shipping of pallets weighing more than 70 kg, with delivery within 1-3 business days.
  • UPS Standard: non-urgent shipping between European countries, with delivery within 2-5 business days.

DHL

DHL has of the best mailing services

DHL, composed of DHL Parcel, Express and Global Mail, is one of the best companies for international shipping in Europe. It competes with FedEx or UPS in quality and services available, but with slightly more affordable rates.

Why use DHL?

  • Economical and quality option for shipping between European countries
  • It has an express service, a standard service, and one exclusive for light packages
  • DHL offers one of the best mailing services for letters and small packages
  • Digital service for customs document management
  • Excellent customer support, with a team of representatives who are available to answer questions and help customers

Best DHL international shipping services

  • DHL Express: delivery within 1-3 business days to most parts of the world, with guaranteed delivery times available
  • DHL Global Forwarding: international shipping of pallets, containers, and other large shipments.
  • DHL eCommerce: shipping solutions for online retailers, including fulfillment and warehousing

FedEx

FedEx, international shipping company

FedEx is another well-known name on this list of the best international carriers. This private shipping company offers a service that is very similar to UPS. As a plus, it has tools to improve the delivery experience for the end customer.

Why use FedEx?

  • Exclusive shipping service for certain dangerous goods
  • Delivers to over 220 countries and territories around the world
  • Fast and secure shipping to almost any country in the world
  • Provides the best online shipping service for businesses
  • FedEx has a reputation for being a reliable and on-time carrier

Best FedEx international shipping services

  • FedEx Express: delivery within 1-3 business days to most parts of the world, with guaranteed delivery times available
  • FedEx Freight: international shipping of pallets and containers
  • FedEx Trade Networks: global trade services, including customs brokerage and freight forwarding

Maersk

Maerks, international shipping service

Maersk is a leading global shipping company that operates in over 130 countries. It is known for its reliable and efficient shipping services, as well as its wide range of shipping options.

Why use Maersk?

  • Large fleet of ships and a network of warehouses and terminals that allow it to ship packages quickly and efficiently
  • Offers a wide range of shipping options to meet the needs of its customers
  • Maersk can help customers with customs clearance in over 100 countries
  • Provides real-time tracking for all of its shipments

Best Maersk international shipping services

  • Maersk Line: container shipping service with a global network of ports.
  • Maersk Logistics: supply chain management services, including warehousing, transportation, and distribution.
  • Maersk Damco: freight forwarding services for air, ocean, and land transportation.

TNT

TNT, one of the best international shipping services for business

TNT is an international shipping company of Australian origin with a strong presence in Europe. It is currently part of the FedEx group, which is a guarantee of quality. It is a great alternative for urgent shipments within Europe.

Why use TNT?

  • Fast delivery for intra-European shipments
  • With its Track and Trace service, you can track orders, albeit with some limitations
  • Offers a wide range of shipping services to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes
  • Strong commitment to sustainability

Best TNT international shipping services

  • TNT Express: delivery within 1-3 business days to most parts of the world, with guaranteed delivery times available.
  • TNT Economy Express: non-urgent shipping within Europe, with delivery within 2-5 business days.
  • TNT Economy World: non-urgent shipping worldwide, with delivery within 4-10 business days

DB Schenker

DB Schenker, international shipping courier

DB Schenker is a logistics operator with specific solutions for supply chains and distribution. This shipping service for businesses is the ideal alternative if you need to make shipments of heavy or bulky cargo. They operate by land, sea, and air. 

Why use DB Schenker?

  • Exclusive heavy-duty cargo services
  • Synchronize different channels and carriers to ensure that the supply chain┬á
  • Personalized and very comprehensive solutions for a wide range of industrial sectors

Best DB Schenker international shipping services

  • DB Schenker Land: Road transportation services for Europe and the Middle East
  • DB Schenker Rail: Rail transportation services for Europe and Asia
  • DB Schenker Air: Air cargo services for worldwide destinations

DPD

DPD, international shipping carrier

DPD is an international delivery company that operates in over 20 European countries. Part of GeoPost, the parcel and express delivery division of the La Poste group, DPD is renowned for its reliable and efficient delivery services, coupled with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability.

Why use DPD?

  • DPD has earned a reputation for its dependable and efficient delivery services
  • operations span over 20 European countries, providing customers with access to a wide-reaching delivery network
  • DPD's shipping services are offered at competitive rates, ensuring value for customers' money
  • Continuously innovates to enhance its services while minimizing its environmental footprint

Best DPD international shipping services

  • DPD ParcelSelect: delivery within 1-3 business days to most European countries.
  • DPD Classic: non-urgent shipping within Europe, with delivery within 2-4 business days.
  • DPD Pickup ParcelShops: convenient drop-off and collection locations for parcels.

Mondial Relay

Mondial Relay, private parcel company

Mondial Relay is a leading French parcel delivery company that operates in over 12 European countries. Renowned for its affordable and convenient shipping services, Mondial Relay prioritizes sustainability in its operations. Mondial Relay is the cheapest international shipping company on this list.

Why use Mondial Relay?

  • Is one of the most affordable shipping companies
  • Has a network of over 12,000 Pickup ParcelShops around Europe
  • Offers a variety of shipping options to suit your needs
  • It is possible to track the parcels online or through the Mondial Relay mobile app
  • One of the best mailing services in Europe

Best Mondial Relay international shipping services

  • Mondial Relay Home Delivery: delivery to homes and businesses within France and Spain.
  • Mondial Relay Pickup ParcelShops: convenient drop-off and collection locations for parcels within France, Spain, and Belgium.
  • Mondial Relay Economy: non-urgent shipping within France, Spain, and Belgium, with delivery within 3-5 business days

FedEx vs UPS vs DHL, which one is the cheapest option?

In general, DHL is the cheapest option for international shipping services, while UPS is the cheapest option for domestic shipping.

For international shipping, DHL offers a wide range of service options, from express delivery services to standard delivery services. DHL's prices for international shipping are usually lower than those of FedEx or UPS.

For example, a 1-kilogram shipment from Sweden to the United States with DHL Express Saver costs around 50 euros, while a shipment with FedEx International Economy costs around 60 euros and a shipment with UPS Worldwide Expedited costs around 70 euros.

For domestic shipping, UPS is usually the cheapest option for small packages. UPS's prices for small packages are usually lower than those of FedEx.

For example, a 1-kilogram package shipment for 100 kilometers within Sweden with UPS Ground costs around 10 euros, while a shipment with FedEx Ground costs around 15 euros.

However, it is important to note that shipping prices can vary depending on the weight, size of the package, destination, and delivery date. It is recommended to use a shipping calculator to get an accurate quote.

Here is a comparative table of shipping prices for DHL, FedEx, and UPS for international and domestic shipments:

Service DHL FedEx UPS
International Cheaper More Expensive More Expensive
Domestic More Expensive Cheaper Cheaper
Small Packages Cheaper More Expensive Cheaper
Large Packages More Expensive Cheaper More Expensive
Express Delivery More Expensive Cheaper Cheaper
Standart Delivery Cheaper More Expensive More Expensive

This table provides approximate international shipping rates. For more precise pricing, please contact each international shipping company directly.

How to reduce costs when working with an international shipping company

When choosing the best international shipping service, it is common for businesses to consider factors such as the price, delivery speed, or additional services. 

However, the most recommended option is always to work with multiple international couriers to provide the best possible service to customers.

Why?

A multi-carrier strategy allows businesses to select the most economical shipping option according to the circumstances of each order. For example, the best international parcel companies may be more economical for shipments to specific regions or destinations. Additionally, some customers may need ultra-fast shipping, while others prefer cheaper deliveries.

In short, having partnerships with multiple international shipping companies is essential to reduce transportation rates and offer customers a better range of services.

Manage your international shipments and returns with Outvio

Outvio is a powerful software that allows e-commerce businesses to optimize their entire post-checkout stage, ensuring the satisfaction of every buyer. With Outvio, businesses can effectively manage their international shipping needs, including:

  • The ability to integrate the best national and international shipping services in your operations
  • Automatic and effective management of the entire order process, from printing the label to exchanging or returning the product
  • An intelligent system for detecting and resolving transportation incidents
  • Design and marketing tools for the post-checkout phase to position your brand and generate more sales
  • A dashboard with unique analytics on the performance of your online store

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