To maximize profits when shipping internationally, you may find yourself researching the most cost-efficient ways to ship your items overseas. As a vast country with a wealthy economy, Germany is an attractive location to target when looking to expand internationally. However, the cost of how much to ship to Germany is based on several factors. The package size and weight, German customs duties, travel time, and the shipping provider chosen will all implicate the final cost. Working with a professional can help you account for all costs to ensure delivery to Germany with the utmost care and attention your customers deserve.
This blog will explore the cost considerations when shipping to Germany, what factors affect shipping costs and travel times, and general facts to help you understand the process better.
How much to ship to Germany: Cost considerations
The mail courier you choose and the speed at which you want your items to arrive will be the two prime contributors to your final shipping cost when sending items to Germany. However, here are all of the factors that may impact cost when shipping internationally.
Packaging and shipment size
The size and weight of a shipment will inevitably play into the cost. However, each shipping carrier has different pricing options pertaining to the weight and dimensions of packages traveling overseas. Certain providers offer discounted rates for bulk shipments or flat-rate shipping options where the cost is a fixed rate, not determined by the weight and dimensions of the package. There is also the dimensional weight to consider (DIM). DIM refers to the pricing method shipping providers use to determine charges based on the weight and volume of the package, focusing on the amount of space your item occupies.
For example, say your eCommerce business is shipping fragile beauty products like eyeshadows and compact powders that require extra cushioning. The size of the boxes may end up larger than you anticipate due to the extra padding required. If a shipping provider determines that the products are occupying too much space on a pallet, then regardless of the weight of the package, the costs could end up being exponentially more.
To optimize costs, consider minimizing the package dimensions by utilizing more compact boxes and packing methods. You may find that using packing peanuts instead of bubble wrap is more efficient, or vice versa. Minimizing wasted space results in fewer boxes used, which is also environmentally friendly.
Nature of goods
How much to ship to Germany will also depend on the contents of your shipment. As discussed above, fragile or sensitive items may require added packing materials, increasing the overhead costs. Further, certain items may require additional paperwork to import into Germany.
Every article traveling internationally has a specific customs duty rate set by the corresponding government officials. Factors such as the item’s country of origin, the value of goods, and the quantity determine this rate. Germany has specific thresholds for import taxes and duty fees. Lower-value items may not meet the threshold and are thereby exempt from additional costs. Working with an experienced shipping provider can help you calculate European customs duties and taxes to incorporate those expenses into your final budget.
While international economy or first-class shipping are the cheapest options, the transit times may be considerably longer than those of higher costs. Transit times will vary depending on the destination, delivery option, shipping company, and mail courier service chosen. All of which play into the final rate. For example, shipping to Germany from the USA will take longer than shipping from Berlin to Hamburg and will cost more based on the travel time and care involved.
But before selecting a low-cost shipping option to save your company money, consider your customer’s expectations. German customers expect fast shipping speeds, with their packages arriving in pristine condition. While some low-cost shipping options offer delivery timeframes of 7-10 working days, other low-cost choices have an estimated delivery time of 4-6 weeks.
Further, harsh weather conditions can delay transportation methods and post offices like the Deutsche Post, Germany’s mail and parcel delivery service, observe major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, postponing deliveries and delaying when a package may arrive. A lower-cost option will inevitably take longer, but there is always potential for unforeseen delays that can prolong delivery further.
Sacrificing deliverability in favor of lower costs is not always the best outcome for a sustainable and long-term profitable business. However, if lower-cost shipping services are presented hand-in-hand with transparency, customers may select that option as opposed to higher-cost options. For example, offering a lower-cost economy or standard option with tracking capabilities allows customers to see when their shipment will arrive, anticipate its arrival, and be notified of a potential delay, allowing them to contact customer service right as a problem begins.
International shipping insurance
In addition to ensuring you select the most timely and efficient shipping process, it’s essential to ensure you account for damaged goods as well. Shipping from the USA to Germany is nearly 5,000 miles of travel time. Longer transit times invite more potential for risks like damaged goods, theft, or lost packages. International shipping insurance mitigates these risks and provides financial security when shipping items overseas.
Still have questions?
Below we’ve outlined 6 shipping FAQs to help with any unanswered questions.
Q: What customs forms or details do you need when shipping to Germany?
A: Each international shipment requires specific customs forms; however, the exact forms necessary to ship to Germany will vary based on the nature of your shipment’s goods and the corresponding customs duties or tariffs applicable. Common customs forms required when shipping to Germany include the following:
Declaration of Goods: Declares the details of goods imported or exported to a country.
Declared Value: Declares the retail price or cost to the consumer for each of the imported goods.
HS Code: International shipments require a Harmonized System (HS) code to define a product.
Certificate of Origin: A document stating where the goods were originally manufactured.
Commercial Invoice: This document or data includes information like the product name, description, quantity, unit price, and currency for the imported goods.
IOSS Number: The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) number may be required to identify the seller of the goods and advise that VAT has been collected and paid from outside the EU.
EORI Number: Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification number may be required when importing items to Germany.
Q: How much does priority shipping cost to Germany?
A: Priority mail pricing options will differ depending on the shipping provider you work with. The pricing will also be based on the nature of the goods, weight, packaging dimensions, and associated customs fees.
Q: Is express the fastest shipping option?
A: Different mail carriers define shipping terms differently. For example, some carriers use express and expedited interchangeably, while others use priority as their fastest shipping method. Clearly outline your delivery timeframes with your shipping provider of choice to ensure you are selecting the right shipping speed for your products.
Q: What items are restricted in Germany?
A: The following prohibited items are restricted from importation or exportation to Germany:
- Firearms or ammunition
- Explosive or radioactive materials
- Metals, stones or jewelry
- Playing cards
- Live plants and animals
- Human remains
- Food containing saccharin
- Ivory or ivory products
- Pornographic material
- Tobacco or tobacco products
Q: Does Germany require a consumption tax?
A: All imports to EU countries, including Germany are subject to an EU value-added tax (VAT), but it will depend on the nature of the goods.
Q: Can I use a shipping calculator to determine how much to ship to Germany?
A: Yes, but it may not be accurate. International shipping calculators lack precise accuracy and may not ask essential questions businesses need to budget correctly.
Ship to Germany with ePost Global
The growth of your business lies in the hands of successful shipping operations. When shipping to Germany, choosing a partner with global knowledge and extensive international service options is crucial.
At ePost Global, we combine our years of global experience with extreme personal attention to meet your unique mailing and shipping objectives. We built a vast network of final mile carriers as well as a long-standing relationship with USPS as a pre-qualified wholesaler to provide customized solutions at a reduced cost unmatched by other shipping carriers. We have the resources to reliably deliver our customers’ shipments to Germany with the utmost care and attention while also accounting for critical details like shipping labels, customs duties, and international regulations.
Determining each aspect of the shipping process can help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the final cost of shipping to Germany. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the international shipping industry or just getting started, we’d love to help you ship your items to Germany correctly and at a cost within your budget.
If you have further questions regarding how much to ship to Germany or the German customs process, contact us. We have years of expertise in shipping to Germany and other countries like Canada, China, Australia, and beyond.