OptimalShip's Helpful Shipping Tips

How to Choose the Best Overseas Shippers

Posted by K. Sterrett on Aug 26, 2021 9:46:32 AM

If you're looking for the best international shipping companies, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before making a decision.

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Topics: International Shipping, Exports, Imports

Online Bill Pay Now Available!

Posted by C. Keers on Jun 14, 2021 11:07:31 PM

We have some exciting news to remind you about: Optimal Ship supports Online Bill Pay! Our Online Bill Pay is a secure and simple to use bill pay system that affords you peace of mind. Here are some of benefits of using Optimal Ship’s Online Bill Pay:

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Topics: International Shipping, Domestic Shipping, account, billing

New Export Regulations for Russia, China, and Venezuela.

Posted by C. Keers on Jun 11, 2020 3:16:41 PM

The U.S. Department of Commerce has instituted a new regulation for the export, re-export, and in-country transfer of products to the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and Venezuela. These new controls enable the U.S. government to more closely monitor exports, re-exports, and in-country transfers of certain items, broadening the scope of export-controlled items to include electronic and telecommunications equipment. These changes include but are not limited to: PC’s, mobile devices, smart watches, heart monitors, night vision goggles, and so on. These new controls apply to all shipments to these countries even if there is no military end use for the products, and is effective as of June 29. 2020.

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Topics: Exports, China, restrictions, Venezuela, Russia

Exporting COVID-19 Relief Goods from China

Posted by C. Keers on Jun 4, 2020 2:26:40 PM

For several months now special restrictions have been in place for exports of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical, and general COVID-19 relief supplies from China. Although these restrictions have been in place for some time, businesses are still experiencing delays as a result of incorrectly processed shipments. In this post we will cover in detail how to correctly process a shipment affected by this restrictions.

If you are already familiar with these restrictions please note that the only change is the lifting of the China/ Hong Kong weight restrictions. You may now process shipments that are above 150 lb (70 kg) per piece and 660 lb (300 kg) per shipment. However, the 1100 lb (500 kg) cap per account number is still in place. Shippers will need to follow the cap guideline in order to have their shipments picked up.

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Topics: Exports, China, restrictions, covid-19

Emergency Situation Surcharge (ESS)

Posted by C. Keers on May 15, 2020 10:30:58 AM

DHL introduced an Emergency Situation Surcharge (ESS) back in April of 2020. Today they have announced new changes that will be effective as of May 24th, 2020.

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Topics: International Shipping, Exports, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Imports, Europe

What to Look for (and Avoid) in a Freight Forwarder

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 30, 2019 11:42:00 AM

A freight forwarder's marketing strategy -- or lack of one -- can say a lot about how they will be to work with. As you select your freight forwarder, keep these do's and don'ts in mind.

If a freight forwarder falls in the "Don't" category, be careful. You'd likely be much better off with a different freight forwarder. If a freight forwarder falls in the "Do" category, they are likely a good choice. Here are our Marketing Do's and Don'ts for how to choose a freight forwarder, followed by an infographic reference with this information.

Do's: What You Should Look for in a Freight Forwarder 


It's easy to get into the freight forwarding business, but harder to do it right. 

Country Agents

Does the freight forwarder have connections in the country you're exporting/importing from?

Correct Services

Not all freight forwarders offer the same services. Does this one have everything you're looking for?

Good References

How are the reviews across the web? Do you know anyone who uses this freight forwarder? More references are better.


Your freight forwarder should answer the phone, emails, and any correspondence in a really reasonable amount of time.


Don'ts: What You Should Avoid in a Freight Forwarder

No Website

No website is a no-go. Make sure your freight forwarder has a presence online.

No Phone Number

Some freight forwarders try to save money by not providing "live" customer service, or upcharging for it. The best do not.

Lack of Reviews

Are there just no reviews across the web? They could either be silenced by the company or too new to have any yet.


Does the freight forwarder have a consistent online presence, or do they come and go? Watch their website for up-to-date information, as well as their blog and social media accounts -- if they have them.

Unwilling to Help

Customer service isn't helpful when they don't know what they are doing or can't help you. They should go above and beyond to help you. Don't settle for less.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping, Freight Forwarder

Should You Offer Free Shipping to Your Customers?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 23, 2019 11:12:00 AM

If you need more business, it’s likely that you’ve thought about offering free shipping to people who buy your merchandise, especially if you don’t have a storefront. It's become an increasingly demanded and popular option for customers. Amazon does it, Walmart does it, and even DollarTree offers it for shipments sent to your closest store.

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Topics: Domestic Shipping

What Determines Shipping Costs?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 18, 2019 11:03:17 AM

Shipping costs are determined by numerous complicated factors. We know you probably didn't want to hear that!

While some of the factors can be difficult to predict, with some proper guidance and research, shipping costs can be predicted within reason.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping, Domestic Shipping, Import Basics, Exports

DHL's Hours During the Chinese New Year

Posted by L. Thompson on Feb 2, 2019 11:52:15 AM


If you ship to China regularly, you know well that the Chinese New Year impacts international shipping during the holiday. If you plan on shipping to China or Southeast Asia soon, here's what you need to know about the Chinese New Year, closures, and DHL's hours during the holiday. If you are new to shipping to China, here's some important information for you. And, whether or not you ship to China, I'll share a checklist for shipping during any holidays that impact countries you export from and to that you can keep on file.

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Topics: International Shipping, China, holidays

Tips for Shipping to India & a Few Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by L. Thompson on Jan 18, 2019 6:39:46 PM

foreign nationals-4

Unfortunately, India's Customs will no longer accept revised shipping documents. All documents must be correct and included with each shipment. Furthermore, India's Customs will not allow that shipments be returned to the origin location. This certainly raises the bar on accuracy for shipments to India (and stress levels). This new change has already taken effect, so please read below so that you can avoid any problems with future shipments to India.

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Topics: International Shipping, KYC Documents, Shipping to India, Exports