OptimalShip's Helpful Shipping Tips

Express Shipping Services: When Speed is Paramount

Posted by K. Sterrett on Dec 28, 2021 10:15:00 AM

What You Need to Know About Express Shipping

We live in a globalized world where shipments must be delivered quickly. Whether personally or professionally, fast shipments can prove to be vital. Getting a shipment to its destination can mean the difference between resounding triumph and abject failure.

Getting something from point A to point B sounds simple. But getting it there within a strict time limit is a whole other story. This is an area of expertise where standard shipping options fall short. It’s when you need to opt for express services.

Express shipping might be a rare need for the ordinary individual. But it is an essential tool for the modern entrepreneur. Some organizations formulate their entire business model around fast shipping.

Continue reading to learn more about what express shipping entails and how to pick the right service for your needs. 


The different types of international shipments

Every shipping courier uses different terminology to describe their fastest shipping options. We’ve compiled this list of terms to help you navigate what the different couriers have to offer.

  • DHL: Express shipping comes with a 1 to 3 day delivery time.
  • UPS: Their “Saver” option is the fastest way to send a shipment.
  • FedEx: Shipping “Priority” with FedEx is the fastest available shipping option. Shipping “Economy” with FedEx is their slower/delayed service.

Keep in mind that UPS and FedEx also have an “Express” shipping option. This can be confusing for customers who are looking for the fastest option. If you ship Express with UPS or FedEx, your package will take at least five days to arrive. Many customers think that comparing DHL, UPS, and FedEx “Express” shipping options are equal. But, in reality, you’re comparing two different tiers of shipping services. 

Have questions regarding the fastest shipping options? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Here at OptimalShip, we help our customers get their shipments out ASAP. And we do it every day. 


What are express services in the context of international shipping?

Express shipping is exactly that. The delivery process is made faster than that of standard delivery. Of course, the caveat of a boost in speed is the extra cost. But when your deadline matters more than your dime, the tradeoff is favorable.

How fast is express shipping with DHL?

“How long does express shipping take?” is the first question business owners ask. But the answer may not be as simple as you might think.

The whole point of an express delivery service is to ensure speed. But not all logistics companies can offer the same kind of delivery time. And like we pointed out, not all “Express” shipping times mean truly fast delivery. 

These are the express shipping times that DHL offers its customers when shipping within the same country. 

DHL offers:

  • Express 9:00 
  • Express 10:30 
  • Express 12:00 
  • Express Worldwide 
  • Express Envelope options.

DHL Express 9:00

This option guarantees delivery by 9:00 a.m. the following day. DHL provides:

  • Door-to-door service
  • Tracking visibility
  • Delivery notifications
  • Customs clearance facilitation 
  • Delivery management

DHL Express 10:30

This option guarantees delivery by 10:30 a.m. the following day. DHL provides:

  • Door-to-door service
  • Tracking visibility
  • Delivery notifications
  • Customs clearance facilitation 
  • Delivery management

DHL Express 12:00

This option guarantees delivery by 12:00 p.m. the following day. DHL provides:

  • Door-to-door service
  • Tracking visibility
  • Delivery notifications
  • Customs clearance facilitation 
  • Delivery management

DHL Express Worldwide

This option guarantees delivery by the end of the following day. DHL provides:

  • Door-to-door service
  • Tracking visibility
  • Delivery notifications
  • Customs clearance facilitation 
  • Delivery management

DHL Express Envelope

This option guarantees delivery by the end of the following day. DHL provides:

  • Door-to-door service
  • Tracking visibility
  • Delivery notifications
  • Customs clearance facilitation 
  • Delivery management

Are you shipping to another country? It will take 2-5 business days to arrive, depending on how close or remote your destination is. Contact us if you have more questions.

How much does sending an express delivery cost?

Most answers to shipping questions have complex answers. This is no different. There are a wide range of variables. 

Weight and dimensions of your parcel

The basics come first. The cost of your delivery will be in direct proportion to the size and weight of your package. There will also be surplus charges applicable, should a certain size or weight be crossed.

The cost varies too greatly for any detailed analysis. We recommend using our quote tool to figure out what it might cost your package to be sent via express services. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. OptimalShip is here to help you. 

Destination country distance

Destinations and customs restrictions determine time deliveries. They also decide how much the delivery will cost. It's not just a question of how much further the country is. It’s also about how frequent flights are and how high import taxes are.

Contents of your package

It depends on what you're sending. Courier services may have to take additional measures to guarantee delivery. This may be for the sake of the items being sent or even the health of the staff members concerned. This is especially true if the item falls under the dangerous goods list.

Additionally, what you're sending might be a highly taxed item/substance in the destination country.

Both of these scenarios will drive up shipping costs with surplus charges.

Choosing the right express shipping service

You’ll want to look for the fastest affordable express delivery option. But there are a few perks that you might want to prioritize.


Not all shipping companies offer express shipping options. Why not? Because it requires a tremendous amount of resources.

An express service requires offices and employees in every country it plans to operate in. They need a vast fleet, including:

  • Vehicles
  • Planes
  • Crew
  • Staff

Each team member must be ready to move at a moment’s notice. 

This isn't always viable in an in-house capacity. So, shipping handlers often have liaisons. These liaisons come with what’s needed to ensure express ground shipping. This includes freight airlines, trucking companies, and other automotive services. This applies to both domestic deliveries or overseas operations.

Express shipping requires a number of dedicated agents. Constant communications must be kept with customs authorities. They also need to understand the law of the land, as far as cargo is concerned.

Experienced networks are more likely to satisfy customers with express delivery options. DHL has the most extensive global carrier network. 

Customer service

In addition to field agents, a rock-solid, reliable customer service network is essential for such businesses. Why? Because customers can have an endless variety of questions or issues that need to be dealt with.

Moreover, express orders almost always involve people who are anxious to send/receive important packages. Fast delivery times aren't the only thing required to ensure customer loyalty.


Express shipping comes with its own brand of risks and worries. Because of this, people are more likely to want to track their shipments throughout the entire shipping process .  This is even true for an overnight delivery.

Money-back/guaranteed deliveries

Some shipping companies will give delivery or money-back guarantees as long as certain conditions are met. When shipping is express, tensions are already high. So it helps to have that safety net to fall back on. Just make sure you read the terms carefully to ensure that these guarantees apply to your purchase. 

Express Shipping


Express shipping services FAQs

A well-informed consumer always has the edge. If you still have any lingering questions about express shipping, this is the section for you. We also invite you to contact us with any questions you might have. 

Why does international express shipping cost so much more than domestic express shipping?

The delivery process for express shipping involves a lot more than trips to the post office and customer locations. It requires a massive network, and maintaining such a big organization is expensive.

Is express shipping faster than standard shipping?

Express shipping is faster with DHL. It’s the option that comes with a 1 to 3 day delivery time. Express shipping with FedEx or UPS can take five or more days. So, ideally, express shipping should be faster than standard shipping. But this isn’t always the case. 

Is express shipping faster than priority?

Again, shipping options from different couriers will have various delivery times. You’d think that express shipping would be faster than priority, but there’s no guarantee of this. When you select a shipping option on a website, be sure to check delivery times. Please don’t assume, or your package might be very late to its destination!

Do express shipments go out on weekends?

If you have an emergency shipment to make, express shipping services are available 24/7. However, the recipient might lack options regarding delivery. 

Is express shipping safer?

Moving things quickly always presents a higher risk. But everyone involved in express shipments handles them with care. Additionally, the faster delivery eliminates some risk. For example, there’s less of a chance for an item to be damaged while stored for eventual delivery in some warehouse or the post office.

Can you track express shipping?

Not every shipping service offers this, but DHL does provide tracking options for express shipments.


Take a Look at Shipping Terms You Should Know