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Long time to ship items overseas

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Jul 2, 2020 - 10:29:21 PM
469 posts since 12/10/2006

Hi All,

I was at the Post Office today mailing an item overseas, and the Post Office Guy told me that it would take 40 days, or longer to get the package overseas.

I know it usually takes several days to get items sent overseas, but if any of you overseas members of the Banjo Hangout are wanting to order items from the USA, be ready to wait a long time to get it.


Jul 2, 2020 - 11:00:20 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23805 posts since 6/25/2005

What service did you use? The consensus is that the best way to ship (when available) is Priority Mail Eperess.

Jul 2, 2020 - 11:31:43 PM
Players Union Member



12726 posts since 8/30/2006

For every delivery company?? it’s like another Xmas rush = extra crunchy

Jul 3, 2020 - 12:56:48 AM

182 posts since 8/11/2015

Packages from the US to Europe have always been randomly slow and I have found that regular and express often take about the same length of time. It is another continent after all. Many points of potential delay on the way. Sometimes I’m lucky and a package from the US takes only two weeks to get here. And then some times it is held in customs here while they take forever to process it so that a fast arriving package will be slow anyway.

A carrier would logically be quicker than regular mail. I much prefer regular mail to them but I still think they are the future of all parcel shipping. Regular mail cannot keep up with our consumer habits. Especially now when people are spending more time indoors shopping online while the world outside is slow and struggling.

These days I would certainly expect some extra waiting time. In fact I wouldn’t order anything at all from far away if I didn’t feel I needed it.

Jul 3, 2020 - 3:22:06 AM

1213 posts since 2/4/2013

Passenger planes carry a lot of goods as well as people so there will be a shortage of capacity. I would guess that freight companies like FedEX with their own aircraft will ship more quickly.

Jul 3, 2020 - 4:04:32 AM
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2255 posts since 4/7/2010

I usually send international packages via USPS. Most of the time it is 2 weeks in transit. Recently a guitar to Germany shipped in May took exactly one month for delivery and a package to Brazil, shipped in December, was almost 3 months. one week to get from West Virginia to S?o Paulo, then 10 weeks to get from S?o Paulo to São José do Rio Preto, about 5 hours away.

And the cost of international shipping has increased significantly since I started business.

UPS and FedEx are definitely faster, but they also charge a brokerage fee in addition to customs fees that are forwarded to the government of the receiver. To save those fees, I usually request senders ship via USPS. A recent order of Gotoh Banjo tuners was sent via FedEx costing me $38 in brokerages costs. But with out paying those fees, my tuners would not have arrived in reasonable time and United States banjo production and repair could have ground to a halt.

Bob Smakula

Jul 3, 2020 - 4:32:16 AM
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Players Union Member



12726 posts since 8/30/2006

I concur with Mr. Smakula.

I've used USPS for years now exclusively, like a decade of years.

After UPS breakage of my work, once is enough, the door to restitution is tiny, you can't get through. I contacted management of each of the three to see what I was missing.

Also besides the tracking #. USPS offers "special handling." That means all the time they carry my work by the exposed handle because it's easier for them. No throwing, no dragging and spilling uncontained peanuts. I won't chase peanuts anymore. That's insulting.

UPS "packed" my customer's box just halfway with peanuts, I had photos. Extra bull means extra time on nothing details. Waste is called scrap, so I scrapped them.

Jul 3, 2020 - 10:27:22 AM

Bart Veerman


4674 posts since 1/5/2005

Ditto what Bob said.

Delivery time through the mail depends a lot on the declared value of what's in the package. Many EU countries have a limit, $20~40 depending on the country, if it's less than that then there's no import taxes/duties charged so there's no delays in delivery time and packages arrive in a reasonable time: 1~3 weeks. If packages get inspected by Customs officers then, time wise, all bets are off.

Shipping to other countries via couriers is very expensive. For me to ship a $25 bridge in a bubble envelope from Canada to the U.S. via UPS, that would cost approx $60 + the customer will be charged brokerage fees - to me, that just wouldn't make any sense.

Bob: brokerage fees though, there may be a possibility to get them waived. In a "previous life" I used to import stuff from the U.S. to resell here (Canada). I always instructed my suppliers to clearly mark the Customs tariff numbers of each item on the package(s) and successfully argued with UPS that since the tariff numbers were already supplied then there'd be no reason for UPS to involve a customs broker and got those fees waived time after time. Mind you, that was many years ago and may no longer apply, but, it couldn't hurt for you to check into that.

Jul 3, 2020 - 1:27:40 PM


New Zealand

10954 posts since 6/29/2003

I sent a banjo here to a BHOer in Belgium. It took about 7 days to get there then sat somewhere in their postal system for another 21 days before being delivered. Go figure.

Jul 3, 2020 - 7:36:46 PM

1491 posts since 4/29/2013
Online Now

Yeah, I sent a banjo to France about two weeks after the restrictions were lifted (to allow the initial rush, I thought, to be over). That was on June 1st, and it's last update was on June 8th that it had departed an airport there. Hopefully it arrives unscathed to its owner. 

Jul 3, 2020 - 8:42:15 PM

11870 posts since 4/15/2012

We've just received a handwoven footstool pad cover from Ankara, Turkey, shipped by DHL. It arrived here in two days, no problems. (It came via Istambul and Cincinnati.) For internatinal shipping, why not check them out?

Jul 4, 2020 - 4:16:37 AM

182 posts since 8/11/2015

The biggest problem I have with these private carriers (all of them) is that they seem to hire a lot of delivery people who should really never be allowed near anyone else’s property. Sometimes everything works out fine but reoccuring scenarios are:

- They leave the package at your door stop. I live in an apartment building with a lot of apartments. People move in and out and anyone could just help themselves to it without any witnesses. So far nothing unfortunate has happened to me however and it is very rare now that they leave a package unattended.

- They say they have been to your house and you weren’t home. You were in fact at home and they were never actually there. Your package is now somewhere in their system and you have to contact them and brokerage some sort of appointment. It feels like a kidnapping. This has happened a lot of times.

- They call you and want to deliver your package at 1pm on a weekday. You say you are at work but the guy won’t drive there because it’s not on his route. The ball is in their court. Again you have to come to some sort of arrangement that suits them. Also a reoccurring theme.

- The driver calls you and is overly enthusiastic. You have gotten one of their cool drivers and things can go either way. He is close to your house NOW and you need to act fast. You can ask him to stop outside the supermarket where you are at the moment. He will arrive speeding, grind to a hault, windows open, music blasting at full volume. He is either a guy who acts like your best friend or a guy who looks at you like you just challanged him to a fight. Either way you are as uncomfortable as he is confident. It can be a very nice encounter tho. This has happened surprisingly often.

- The previously mentioned cool driver is unable to communicate with you because he mostly speaks a language you don’t know or he is on the phone all the time while handing you your package. You try to say that there were supposed to be two packages and not just one. He doesn’t hear you and gets back into the van. You feel stupid try to get his attention before it is too late. «Excuse me... Sir? Sir?»

- They hand the package in at my locan Seven Eleven, where a very excentric franchise owner works. He once gave me a two (!) days deadline to collect my package before returning it. Another time he gave my wife someone else’s package. She noticed when she was just down the street and took it back. He still insisted that it was hers. Even when showing him her id he insisted that she was wrong and that her name was in fact Edward. Eventually she was victorious tho. I still wonder what was inside Edward’s package.

- The package is handed in at a tiny corner shop. It is six bus stops from my house but this is still my preferred arrangement, as the man working there is pleasantly professional and I can pick up my stuff when it actually suits me.

And of course... quite often nothing dramatic happens at all.

Jul 5, 2020 - 10:10:03 AM

Bart Veerman


4674 posts since 1/5/2005

Storm: the Canadian post office here's private couriers (UPS etc.) and gets them to delivers their packages to remote locations. The other way around also happens here in Canada...

Jul 5, 2020 - 10:48:13 AM

764 posts since 9/7/2005

In early March I ordered some parts from Britain, proposed delivery date was three weeks later. I am still waiting for them. The vendor says once they give it to the international shipper, it is their responsibility so I am SOL. Scratch that vendor!
In late February I also ordered some items that were coming from Australia. I had a tracking number so could follow the route they took. From Australia to Seattle took three days. But they sat in Seattle for two weeks, then went to Portland, then Sacramento, then Oakland (where I live) then to San Francisco, then back to Seattle....????, then back to Portland, then back to Sacramento, then to San Francisco for five days, then to Oakland and finally to my doorstep. Total time, almost five weeks, 90% of the time going in circles in the US postal system.

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