DHL Service to Give Global Shipping Costs Up Front

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DHL Airways Inc., Redwood City, CA, the U.S. arm of DHL Worldwide Express, yesterday announced plans to introduce a service that will enable shippers to determine, in advance of shipping internationally, additive charges imposed by foreign customs authorities.

A pilot program of the service will be implemented early next year. The service, provided through an alliance with Syntra Technologies, New York, a global commerce management software, content and services provider, will be targeted toward companies involved in international e-commerce. These companies must sift through a tangled web of government-imposed duties, tariffs, taxes and other additive charges associated with international shipping and cannot quote a price to a customer until a shipment has been delivered.

In some cases, these government-imposed costs can drive up the price of a $27 order for compact discs an extra $168 by the time it reaches a customer in a different part of the world.

According to a recent report by Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, 85 percent of the retail, Internet and manufacturing companies interviewed for the study that have an online presence cannot fill orders internationally because of the complexity of shipping across borders -- including the inability to price total delivery costs. The study found that The complexity of global fulfillment is currently the biggest impediment to leveraging the scale economies and instant global market penetration offered by the Internet.

"Until now, there has never been a way for shippers to know the exact costs of the government-imposed duties, tariffs and other 'landed costs' associated with direct international shipments before the shipment is sent," said Vic Guinasso, president and CEO of DHL Airways. "Many companies, especially those in the Internet space, have found the inability to quote those costs up-front precludes them from entering international markets. With DHL's planned service, these costs will be available in real time, reducing costly returns, and enhancing customer satisfaction and market planning capabilities."

The application, which DHL customers will access over the Internet, views an order from 23 different government-imposed additive cost perspectives. It is planned to be available on the DHL Web site (, through DHL's desktop shipping software, DHL Connect, and through DHL EasyShip proprietary shipping systems.

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