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Crazy World of Shipping Prices
#1
There is really something strange going on with shipping prices. Yes, some normal shipping prices can be found here and there, but they are mostly sky-high. I don't know if it's just the case with EU where I live, but look at a few examples.

First, here is eBay. OK, I know this example is totally nuts, but believe me, all other shipping prices are crazy as well, especially when the item is located in the USA. And, of course, for all items outside EU, there is additional VAT (in my case 25%) added by eBay on checkout!

[Image: Crazy-world-of-shipping-prices-2.jpg]

Then, there's Amazon. The shipping price (on everything!) is always at least three times the price of the item, lately. And then the VAT is added. Just look how that works. Something costs $75, but the total (with all the shipping prices, VATs and Devil's feeds) is $427.73!

It was crazy before, but I think this is ridiculous. Also, that's something that could have serious repercussions regarding the sales in general. I mean, who would buy anything with this kind of prices?

[Image: Crazy-world-of-shipping-prices-4.jpg]

And, last but not least, here is my favourite Japan shop, the Plazajapan. There is something going on with Japan Post (I think they don't ship to Europe anymore due to some Coronavirus reason), and the prices of Japan Post were very nice. But now Plazajapan is shipping only with DHL to Europe, and look how much they charge... Yup, for €40.18 New Rainbow Bridge Thomas Set - the DHL shipping is €123.38, so the total is €163.56. And that's not all; since the VAT is not calculated in that price, I'd pay some 40 Euros more, if I order this. So, that €40 set would cost me €200. 

Something is seriously wrong with this world. 🙄

[Image: Crazy-world-of-shipping-prices-3.jpg]
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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#2
i hate ebay make some of the US sellers to use priority shipping method to ship the goods. on top of that i am forced to pay the import duties. to this day, i still haven't figure out what is the threshold for paying import duties.
My Trackmaster/Tomy/Plarail Photo Gallery Page (over 600+ photos and still under construction)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/183311600@N03/
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#3
I still struggle to understand why some people think that a shipping price that is three or ten times the value of the item being purchased is justified. 😵
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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#4
there are desperate buyers.
My Trackmaster/Tomy/Plarail Photo Gallery Page (over 600+ photos and still under construction)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/183311600@N03/
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#5
Err... $267.18 for shipping & handling? $427 for an $75 item?
They are not "desperate". They should seek help. 🥰😳🤡
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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#6
This is what shows when shipping to NZ using japan post. I'm sure tax include in shipping price as never got call out to say i have to pay tax which is 15% here. We have to pay tax on online purchases. Definity something wrong where you at. On Ebay i usually avoid buying from USA as it super high shipping cost.

     
[Image: Screenshot-6.png]

(I don't know how to make this picture bigger sorry about that)
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#7
@MrNo

Does the war have any impact in your area or the supposed limits on gas, oil and natural gas in your part of the world impacting costs?
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#8
@MrNo, On Plaza Japan, don't you get an option to choose between DHL and Japan Post EMS Express? That's what I see when I enter a UK shipping address. The second option is considerably cheaper, but still an awful lot for a single item.

If you order a bunch of stuff at the same time the shipping price stays the same until the package gets quite large, and thus looks a lot more reasonable.

In November last year I ordered 12 items whose base price was 28072 Yen, and shipping (it came by Fedex) was charged at 6128 Yen, ie about 22% of the order value. It might have changed by now of course, it would be interesting to repeat the exercise and see.

OK, 10 items in my cart, 28653 yen, EMS shipping 11250 yen, i.e about 40%. Sheesh!!!
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#9
(08-01-2022, 06:57 PM)Super Wrote: Does the war have any impact in your area or the supposed limits on gas, oil and natural gas in your part of the world impacting costs?

The war greatly affects prices and the standard of living here. Inflation is 12%, prices are skyrocketing, many basic products (bread, milk, oil) cost at least twice as much as last year, but the worst is with energy prices. A liter of gasoline is currently around €2, and gas and electricity prices are shocking. My gas bill for the house last month (in July!) was €332 (the average salary in Croatia is €1,011, and the average pension is €385). New price increases are announced. If someone does not end this bloody Russian aggression, we will burn chairs and eat our cat for the winter.

Quote:chrisjo
Quote:@MrNo, On Plaza Japan, don't you get an option to choose between DHL and Japan Post EMS Express? That's what I see when I enter a UK shipping address. 

No. Until a few months ago, Plazajapan offered Japan Post delivery (as well as some other deliveries), but now the only option is DHL, whose prices cause heart attacks.
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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#10
Welp, I got a few gems for ya, one is Plarail related, the other not :D

So, the Plarail related one first.

Ordered a few bits from Jauce Rakuten service, mostly just the anime themed Plarail stuff they got at the moment [Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Train, Evangelion Unit 01 Series 500/Mu-Sky & the matching Shinkalion, etc.

As usual, offered 4 choices of shipping, Ground, EMS, DHL and Japan Post Airmail. DHL was way over the value of the items [~£300], EMS was about £60 [more reasonable], Ground was ~£30ish but with the proviso that it wouldn't arrrive for a few months due to being shipped over on a boat, and Airmail would have been about £40 but wasn't avaliable for some reason. Having had experience of waiting an absolute age for a ground Jauce parcel to show, I decided to go EMS thinking it was an option - after all, surely they would send it if it was offered, right?

Nope, they tried to charge me £300 for DHL shipping. Turns out there's no EMS to the UK right now, and my package is now on the seas somewhere [but don't worry, photos will be uploaded when it arrives, I'm really excited, especially for the Evangelion trains given Evangelion is one of my favourite anime, and I didn't think i'd find either the Shinkalion or the regular models of the 500 Series/Mu-sky ^_^ No way was I paying £300 to ship something, i've never paid that much for shipping, and have no intention to do so any time soon. 

Fun fact [for those who are interested, I used to work in air cargo so I know how it works], regular Air-mail from any country is so cheap [or so much cheaper than a private equivalent, FedEx/DHL/UPS etc.] because of a little something called 'Common Carrier' policies.

Basically, any country within the UN generally is a member of the UPU [Universal Postal Union], which effectively acts as the UN agency responsible for managing and setting some postal policy across UN member states, with one key rule for membership being that any service provider that is a member, generally the state-owned or national postal organisation of a country [for this example, I'll refer to Royal Mail, as they are my local guys], that in summary the members must provide postal services at a competitive, uniform and fair price, accessible to all. In short, this means all countries are basically required to have some means for an affordable postal service for all.

The 'Common Carrier' policy, as such, is a form of either unspoken or official agreement between airlines and countries, whereby airlines generally have to accept some proportion of mail from the national carrier of their origin or destination, as part of the cargo manifest. This is how airmail gets around so quickly, in such large volumes, and at a competitive price, as the airlines can only charge a set amount to fly said mail, in keeping with maintaining the UPU standards of uniform cost. 

This also applies to EMS services which come under UPU scope as well. More importantly, the flights used for EMS and Regular airmail are mostly passenger services as opposed to dedicated cargo services, reducing the cost further by not using a dedicated plane, which is the core reason that UPS, FedEx and DHL are so expensive - The private operators are almost the same as booking your parcel a seat on a dedicated flight as if it were a passenger, and given how much flying costs as a passenger, you can see why bulk-shipping in what would otherwise have been empty cargo space on flights that will run regardless is that much cheaper. One can also account for the fixed UPU rates, and usually state subsidies to their mail operators for driving down the cost further.

What this means in practice is, and you learn this if you work in cargo like I did, you often get several consignments of mail from the same destination, but flown on different airlines - My terminal handled Emirates, Quantas, Eva Air, and occasionally Etihad, and on an average shift we would often get mail containers from [usually] Dubai, that had been flown by all these airlines to there, and then transferred onto a second flight on any one of those 4 to complete the run to London. Which airline was used generally boiled down to capacity and timing, so if a flight was leaving for London as soon as possible, and had cargo space, then it would be added.

Now, after all that, you're probably asking what the heck this has to do with Japan, and shipping Plarail?

Simple - Japan is still mostly closed to foreigners post-COVID, and as such, there isn't a large amount of passenger air traffic flying in and out going any significant distance presently. Bearing in mind all of the above, and the fact that EMS and regular airmail relies entirely on the presence of passenger aircraft for the mail to be loaded into, Japan is effectively nearly isolated from the airmail and EMS networks, and so Japan Post are not sending consumer parcels by airmail presently, ostensibly so what little airmail capacity there presently is can be used for critical shipments that require it. Now, I know Plarail is a critical shipment to most of us, but you get what I mean - Japan Post obviously have to prioritise the movement of mail that keeps Japan going.

The one bright side to all of this? Japan is likely to re-open to tourists at some point within the next year, and of course this means the return of a larger number of passenger jets, re-opening the common-carrier airmail routes that EMS and Japan Post Airmail depend on, therefore I suspect it won't be too much longer before postal costs to most of the world from Japan come down quite significantly.



Anyway, after that major digression [that hopefully explained the root-cause of this entire issue], here's a non-Plarail related cautionary tale for anyone who orders on Aliexpress - Beware the FedEx scam.

Some sellers on Aliexpress will charge for shipping in the item cost with China Post [who have by and large been unaffected on the airmail front], then ask for an 'extra fee' because your item is outsized. In my case [doh] I paid the fee, because the item I ordered was genuinely quite large, so I assumed this was actually legitimate.

Boy was I wrong, as they tried to scam me - The package was sent, but they had evidently deliberately not paid the correct amount of postage, as the China Post rejected it - They then messaged me with a sob story about how China Post weren't accepting the item, and that I needed to pay an additional £100 for FedEx shipping. Fortunately, after paying 'additional fee no1', my suspicions were raised, and a quick message to China Post via email confirmed my suspicions that the seller had not paid adequate postage [indeed, an amount nowhere near what I had paid already], meaning that they were attempting to take more money that they would have just pocketed, probably paying China Post to finish the delivery and walking away with £100 for doing nothing.

Of course, I confronted the seller directly, and basically explained in the politest way possible that I was onto them, and that if they didn't want to be reported to Aliexpress for blatantly scamming people, they should send my item, and should know that if there was even the slightest hint of any more shenanigans, that they wouldn't be getting away so easily, as I was not going to consider the matter settled until I had the item.

Lo and behold, the very next day, China Post had 'conveniently' in the words of the seller, decided they could accept the parcel after all, but of course it remains to be seen if I recieve anything, or if what I recieve is any good - Naturally if even the slightest thing is out of order, then Aliexpress will be contacted to sort them out.

But, TL:DR - If they ask for FedEx fees, or any extra shipping fees, question it, don't just pay it, even if it seems legitimate. Usually, sellers will just send the item as they were supposed to if you threaten them with involving Aliexpress, as most are more afraid of losing their selling platform than making money by scamming, especially since they stand to lose more than they gain given that Aliexpress hold the money until you confirm the item is satisfactory, and therefore can refund you very easily.

[EDIT - I must mention, as I believe this is important - AliExpress is actually on the whole a very safe and generally reliable platform to use - I've been a member with them for 7 years and this is thus far the first and only time this has happened to me - It has been known to happen to others, but on the whole I have had very few issues over the 7 years I've been using them :D]
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  :cool:
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#11
Thanks for the explanation, Plarail Man UK! 😊
So that basically means no Plarail for us in EU for a year or so, when Japan Post starts shipping again (except with DHL and their astronomical shipping prices).
Just great. 😶
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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#12
(08-03-2022, 12:25 PM)Mister No Wrote: Thanks for the explanation, Plarail Man UK! 😊
So that basically means no Plarail for us in EU for a year or so...
Yeah, thanks for the explanation, to which I would add that shipping by sea container costs way more than it did pre-pandemic, so presumably that is reflected in surface mail pricing as well.

All of which is extremely regrettable given that UKL / Yen exchange rates are very favourable at the moment, which makes the base cost of Plarail cheaper than it has been for several years.
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#13
@chrisjo

Actually, I've found the ground shipment rates haven't changed much at all, even though the prices of containers have increased; Much like the common carrier policies of the airmail system, a similar arrangement exists for ground shipment, that being a container of mail with contents bound for several nations will be loaded on the first avaliable ship going to some or all the relevant stops - My first time shipping with Japan Post Ground, it took quite some time to arrive, as my parcel was initially shipped to Belgium before being forwarded on via road;

Presumably this was because the first boat heading to Europe within a sensible time frame that could carry my package was only going as far as Belgium, and of course there's no logical advantage to waiting for, & putting it on another ship to complete the cross channel run :)

In practice this is somewhat similar to the airline method, where parcels are shipped to a hub before completing their journey, albeit with the catch that there is no fixed hub per-se, rather the hub used is entirely based on the next avaliable ship, and its Port calls.

To the best of my knowledge, the reason the rates are still cheap is because of UPU pricing guidelines and of course subsidies towards the cost of national postal services provided by UPU member states to maintain a competitive price.

Also fun fact for all of you - EMS is actually a UPU brand name, which they offer to postal services for use to brand their express parcel offerings - Most member states use the EMS brand for continuity, but in the UK for example, we don't see or use the EMS brand at all domestically, as the Royal Mail refer to the system as ParcelForce Worldwide - Any EMS post generally gets handled by them upon arrival to the UK.
Been building Plarail worlds since 2001; still building in 2021 - Not bad really  :cool:
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#14
Interesting stuff here:

https://www.plazajapan.com/pages/orderin...pping-info

and following the link...

https://www.plazajapan.com/information-r...-covid-19/

Cautious signs for optimism perhaps, in that some Japan Post services are slowly resuming.

Select your country on this website to see which Japan Post options are currently available:

https://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/inform...ew_en.html
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#15
Thank you Dr Chris 👍
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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