TRACKING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES – helpful tips from IMS

What we’ve learned about tracking packages …….

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.