Need an effective return mechanism to get packages returned from Canada? IMS now offers "International Business Reply Service (IBRS) Canada Small Package Return" service that makes it very easy for your customers to return packages back to your USA location.
The service is designed for items measuring up to 24” in length and weighing up to 4.4 lbs. IMS will provide you with a preapproved label containing content information along with your US address. You can make this label available by either enclosing with each outbound package, via email, or post in your web site. Then, your customer simply affixes to the package and drops off at any Post Office or Post Collection Box in Canada. No postage required. Items are delivered back to the US in an average of 4-7 days. You’re charged only for those items actually returned.
What is Commercial ePacket (CeP)? It’s a relatively new service from the United States Postal Service that provides door to door tracking to 36 countries (as of 2/11/18) with more being added. The service is only available for small packages containing merchandise and weighing 4.4 lbs or less.
HUGE SAVINGS! Compared to First Class Package International (FCPI), our all-inclusive rate for CeP will save you 50% or more. Your savings will vary by piece weight and destination country. This is a mere fraction of what you’d pay for other trackable services like PMEI and PMI.
Countries served (effective 2/11/18):
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
How do customers use the service? IMS can integrate with the most popular types of shipping software to print the unique CeP labels and facilitate the package data transfer. Once enabled (usually takes a week or less), you can begin using the service immediately. For most integrations, there's no cost or revenue obligation to the customer. IMS will sort your packages by country and apply our permit imprint to pay for postage.
What can you send? You can send packages weighing up to 4.4 lbs with a value of $400 or less. The packages must be rectangular in shape and the total of length, height, and thickness cannot exceed 36″ (not greater than 24″ in length alone). Minimum size is 6″ x 3″ x 1/4″.
Tracking packages: The USPS tracking number sequences are preassigned. When you generate an order or package label, the “LX” prefixed number appears on your manifest and shipping label so you can pass this on to your customers immediately. Packages can be tracked direct from USPS.com.
What is the cost? You get tracking and 5-6 day delivery (worldwide average) with savings of 50% or more off the cost of First Class Pkg Intl postage alone. Your savings will vary by destination country, weight, and overall volume.
TRACKING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES – helpful tips from IMS
What we’ve learned about tracking packages …….
- Packages will get an acceptance scan at IMS the same day we receive the packages. This includes the PMEI – PMI services, Commercial ePacket, and packages sent via IPA (Endicia integrations only).
- The number of scans a package gets will vary by service. Packages sent via the PMEI and PMI services will normally get more scans (visibility) while the ePacket service will average about 3-5 scans including the acceptance scan and delivery scan.
- Some countries are better at this than others. In order for the USPS to include a country for the ePacket service as an example, they must be able to give a delivery scan on 90% plus of the packages – our overall average has been 95% plus. A delivery scan is not guaranteed.
- Just because a package does not show scans does not mean it is not moving. Sometimes barcodes are smudged, torn, or any number of other things that can render them “unreadable”. It can also mean that someone on the other end just for whatever reason didn’t scan a package – it happens. The 5% on average that don’t get a delivery scan are more than likely to have been delivered, just not scanned upon delivery.
- If customs holds a package (for whatever reason), they are “supposed” to notify the recipient. We have no control over whether that’s done or not.
- Packages may go into a seemingly black hole with no activity for a period of time. Australia as an example, only gives us a delivery scan for ePacket packages – no scans when passing through customs, etc. Again, this does not mean your packages are not moving and/or delivered (see #8 below).
- If a package shows to have passed through customs or a “facility” and then goes dormant for a few days, have your customer check with their local post office as they could be holding it.
- You can also enter your USPS tracking numbers on the foreign post’s website and SOMETIMES get additional scan activity. Ask us and we'll send you the links.
- In some extenuating circumstances, we can enlist the help of contacts we have at USPS headquarters in DC, but that’s not an option when looking for a single package.
I hope this helps when fielding customer inquiries and managing expectations.
Effective April 30, 2017 the Commercial ePacket service will be available to Japan bringing the total number of countries to 30 with more being added. Japan will be in the newly created Country Group 6. Related, Brazil will be moved from Country Group 15 to Country Group 10.
Please let us know if you'd like information about this or other IMS Parcel Services.
We get a lot of questions about what to expect when tracking packages sent via the different services so I think it's time to share some information for future reference. Your tracking results will vary by service level, destination country, and how you run your package labels (online, PC postage, shipping software, etc). Additionally, the percentage of packages that actually get a delivery scan will vary too - they should all be well over 90% but some countries are just plain better than others at this.
First, we'll look at the various USPS service levels ...........
First Class Package International (FCPI): Tracking can only be described as "limited" at best and is not to be relied upon. The USPS does claim on their website that "FCPI includes electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International when you ship online to select destinations". Safely put, your results will vary.
IMS "International Priority Airmail" (IPA): The IPA service does not offer door to door tracking. IMS customers using Endicia to print labels will however at least get an acceptance scan here in Kalamazoo. Additional scans from there are a bonus and again, not to be relied upon.
IMS "Commercial ePacket" (CeP): This is a fully trackable (door to door) service available now to 31 of the most popular countries (including the two news ones mentioned above). For about HALF the cost of FCPI, you won't get quite the visibility of a PMEI or PMI package, but you do get a delivery scan (scan rates are about 95%, some countries better, some a little lower). For an example, cut and paste the tracking number LX595336037US to USPS.com
IMS "PMEI and PMI" (both "Standard" and "Presort Drop Ship"): Fully trackable services to most countries with more visibility (scans). For an example, cut and paste the tracking number CY008968223US to USPS.com
Once in a while, you'll hear from customers that the package shows "Delivered" when actually it hasn't been or you'd just like some additional information on the whereabouts. For many countries, you can actually enter the USPS tracking number into the destination country's postal web site and get more information. The country specific links for some of the most popular countries are as follows: