We’re often asked, “What makes using OPAS as a package forwarder a better choice than shipping directly from the US merchant, if they offer international shipping?”
The answer to this question is simple: Cost Saving Package Consolidation.
There’s a saying in international shipping: “the most expensive lb. of any international shipment is the first one.” What this means is that because international carriers have considerable inevitable costs including manpower, customs clearance for export and import for each package they carry, they have to cover those costs in the “first-lb. rate.” It’s not like buying a product on a price per-lb. flat rate, like at a grocers’. With shipping, that first pound is going to be a bit more costly, but then the increase beyond the first pound is going to be much more gradual.
A savvy consumer wants to avoid paying that first-lb. rate as much as possible. This is where Cost Saving Package Consolidation comes into the picture. Package consolidation is, simply, putting multiple orders into a single shipment. Package forwarding members save a lot of money by shopping online in the US, but if you’re not taking advantage of cost saving package consolidation options, the international shipping costs might begin to eat into your savings.
If you had 20 lbs. of products you wanted to ship, the most effective way to do this is all at once, as a single 20 lb. shipment. You pay the first-lb. rate only once. It’s a greater cost if you were to ship the same products as two separate 10 lb. shipments, or four individual 5 lb. shipments, even though the total volume and value of goods remains the same.
OPAS is dedicated to saving cost for our customers by the careful and precise process of package consolidation.
Suppose you’re shopping on Amazon, and you see an item you wanted, and purchase it and complete the transaction for international shipping. Even with Amazon’s great international rates, if you then found something else on Amazon the very next day and bought it as a separate transaction, with a separate first-lb. rate applied to the international shipping, you’ve already spent more than you would have if you’d had an OPAS account to send both to first, so we can consolidate them for you.
And what if you planned on shopping with Amazon AND another online merchant? Consolidating within the US with an OPAS account is the only way you’ll avoid paying first-lb. rates on both shipments. OPAS gives you the freedom to shop where you want, when you want, and we sort out getting it all to you in a carefully prepared, safe, hand-packed shipment to make sure you get the absolute best value from your shipping budget.
Plus, when you get your consolidated OPAS shipment, with multiple purchases from multiple merchants, it’s like getting your own holiday gift box whenever you want! You can have any day be like your birthday, or Christmas, or whatever gift-giving holiday is appropriate to your culture!
A few important notes to consider with consolidation:
Sometimes, duties can make it disadvantageous to consolidate. Many countries have thresholds above which a higher duty rate is assessed when it comes to value. Many countries have a De Minimis value, where any shipment below that value is not dutied or taxed — this is especially important for our Australian members, and here’s an example.
In Australia, you can import up to 1000 AUD of goods without duty, on almost all classifications of goods. So if you have 1200 AUD of goods, it may be better for you to ship them as separate packages, each below 1000 AUD, because the duty will be determined based on the TOTAL value of a single shipment, NOT based on the amount the value of the shipment exceeds 1000 AUD. In these kinds of instances, OPAS is happy to help you determine the better course of action, though we highly recommend a call to your import authority to determine the duty rates for your particular kinds of goods. Even in Australia, if the duty rate for your goods is low, it may be best to send it all at once and benefit from cost saving package consolidation.
Consolidation doesn’t mean goods are ONLY shipped in one individual box Proper consolidation is about reducing the amount of empty space. Sometimes, to get the best result, we need to use separate boxes. With a carrier like UPS, FedEx or DHL, though, a multi-mail piece shipment like this has its shipping weight determined on the total shipping weight of the individual pieces. A 10 lb. shipping weight package and a 20 lb. shipping weight single package are considered a total shipping weight of 30 lbs. for the shipment, with the first-lb. rate paid only the one time.
As a practical example, imagine you have a very long, thin item like a pair of skis and a very thick, blocky item like a helmet to wear when skiing. If you put these in the same box, there’s going to be a LOT of empty space in that box. It’s empty space that you’d be paying to ship because of the influence of dimensional weight (link) on shipping cost.
But at OPAS, we’d put the ski helmet in a cube box, and the skis in a long, thin box, as a consolidated shipment of 2 individual pieces, meaning that you have very little wasted space in your boxes, and the total shipping weight (by dimensions) of the final shipment is much lower.
Save more by consolidating your shipments today with OPAS! Upgrade to Premium Membership and we’ll consolidate all of your purchases for FREE!