Optimizing cross-border shipping

Optimizing the Cross-Border Shipping Experience for Customers

What’s in the Package? Optimizing the Cross-Border Shipping Experience for Customers   The laws have

What’s in the Package? Optimizing the Cross-Border Shipping Experience for Customers


The laws have changed. Posts must now know and understand the implications of a host of new regulations like the STOP Act, what the implementation of Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) means, and if the elimination/reduction of the EU de minimis for VAT (Sales Tax) impacts shipping costs for customers. Posts will also face a challenge in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU (Brexit). While the transition period – which ends December 31, 2020 – affords Posts and other parcel carriers time to adjust and take the necessary steps, it does bring considerable changes and the likelihood of significant increases in the number of customer queries.


What do these rule changes mean for Posts?

In 2018, Japan Post issued a notice which advised parcel carriers that failure to send customs information on international tracked mail electronically to the USPS would result in increased time for items to clear customs and security control. In some cases, failure to provide the required advanced electronic data (AED) may also result in parcels being returned. In addition, per the STOP Act, by 2021, the US Postal Service will have to transmit AED to Customs and Border Protection on all international packages. Japan and the US are not alone, as more and more countries across the globe are ramping regulations around cross border shipping.

As a result, Posts are now under a legal obligation to better label and manage products and parcels going across borders. This puts Posts under enormous pressure to ensure:

  • the correct label is attached
  • the item getting shipped meets shipping regulations
  • the item is not on the denied party screening or the restricted product list
  • all the correct customs duties are paid

Failing to do so incurs fines and results in disappointed customers. It may produce longer wait times for customers as senders filling out the necessary forms may not have the correct data on their package. In many cases, when the correct taxes and duties are not paid in advance, it will result in delays in delivery or returns because the receiver opts not to pay any taxes now due. Currently, there are warehouses filled with items that customers are either waiting to pay the correct customs before collection, or there is a dispute around who should pay the customs duties owed. If this unresolved, the item must then be shipped back to the sender, incurring further additional costs.


Posts are responsible for ensuring senders know about customs payments

To avoid unhappy customers or additional costs, it falls to the Posts to educate consumers about any applicable taxes and customs payments. Customers must be made aware at the counter of the correct taxes to avoid any unpleasant surprise on the doorstep. Posts will also want to avoid receiving complaints from customers who were not informed that the receiver will have to pay additional costs.


Posts are responsible for ensuring sender’s know about prohibited and restricted items

As readers are aware, restricted items are those items that require a special license to ship. Prohibited means the items are not allowed at all, and both Posts and the customer can face fines if they send a prohibited item or a restricted item without the correct paperwork. When a customer fills out the shipping information, Posts employees must know who can send what and to whom.

Most Posts and carriers offer advice to customers around what they can or cannot send.

For example, according to the An Post website:

“To ensure the safety of its customers, employees and the general public, An Post prohibits or restricts the sending of certain potentially hazardous items. We cannot deliver:

  • Flammable, toxic or poisonous liquids, including most paints
  • Items that could be harmful to employees or members of the public
  • Items that are prohibited by law
  • Items that are prohibited by any federal, state or local government of any country to or through which the shipment may be carried.”


The DHL website offers this advice:

DHL’s general list of prohibited items includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Animals of any kind, including insects, pupae, worms, tortoises, frogs, crabs, lobster, crawfish, fish, hatchling eggs or birds
  • Bullion
  • Counterfeit or pirated goods or materials
  • Illegal Drugs or Narcotics
  • Firearms, including parts, weapons, and ammunition
  • Human remains including ashes
  • Negotiable instruments in Bearer Form
  • Pornography of any kind
  • Any items of carriage that are prohibited by any law, regulation or statute of any Federal, state or local government to or throughout which the shipment may be carried.


Posts are responsible for ensuring senders know about denied and restricted party screening

Denied parties 

While the reasons for inclusion on this list vary – links to terrorist groups, national security threats, corrupt business practices – the net result is that Posts or other shipping agencies cannot do business with them. Each country has its own denied party list, and therefore, each Post must ensure they facilitate denied part screening to avoid penalties or jail time. Posts must also be able to show compliance with this process and maintain records of these efforts.

Restricted parties

These are individuals or entities upon whom restrictions—either whole or partial—have been placed. In some cases, it might be okay to deal with them if you hold the relevant license, or it may be the case that you can deal with specific items. Again, there are severe consequences for Posts and other carriers who ignore this list, and it is incumbent upon the Posts to be aware of the names of those on each list. In the US, violations of export regulations include up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $1 million in fines per violation, or both.


How the Escher + Hurricane partnership simplifies customer cross border shipping

Given the complexity of cross border shipping, and the extent to which international regulations continuously change, it makes sense that logistics companies are turning to technology to ameliorate the process. Recently we announced our partnership with Hurricane, the world leader in calculating duty & taxes and compliancy screening for parcels.

Now Escher customers have at their fingertips

  • A global aggregated list of denied and restricted parties – only available through this partnership. Hurricane’s Denied Party system screens the main lists returning results in a simple to understand format, helping Posts to remain compliant with the constantly changing requirements.
  • Using Hurricane software integrated into the Escher platform, Posts customers answer a selection of questions to determine the accurate customs payments – if any, if the item is on any restricted list and the correct international shipping codes.
  • Ultimately not only does this software ensure your Post is compliant with international shipping rules and regulations, but it also means less time for customers to wait and reduces the potential of returns– thereby saving you and the customer money.



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