Overseas? Save money by using a “freight forwarder”

A couple of people in Australia and New Zealand have used freight forwarders to reduce shipping costs when ordering DIY Packraft kits, and I thought I should tell the rest of you about this potential cost-saving step. The amount of money you can save depends on your location and the size and weight of the parcel, so it won’t make sense for everyone, but Nicola K. saved about $50 NZD by shipping her V3 kit to New Zealand through a freight forwarder, so if you live overseas and shipping costs are deterring you from making a purchase, definitely look into it.

How does freight forwarding work? Something like this:

  1. First you have to find a reputable freight forwarder online. I’ll start a list based on your recommendations and I’ll post it on the Shipping, Taxes, and Customs info page.
  2. Then you sign up on the freight forwarder’s website. You’ll have to give them your shipping address and credit card information, and they’ll tell you their ship-to address in North America.
  3. You go shopping online, and when you purchase something – a DIY Packraft kit, for example – instead of entering your own address in the Shipping Address form, you enter the freight forwarder’s address in North America. Because the shipping address is in North America, you pay up to about 80% less during checkout.
  4. I ship the parcel to the freight forwarder’s address that you provided.
  5. The freight forwarder receives your parcel and bundles it together with a bunch of other parcels destined for your country or region and they all get shipped overseas together (presumably this is how they save money).
  6. The freight forwarder’s people in your region unpack the bundle and send your parcel to you using a local delivery service, and they charge you a fee.

In Nicola’s case, shipping her order directly from Canada to New Zealand was going to cost $114 NZD ($80 USD), but using the freight forwarder it cost about $30 NZD ($21 USD) to ship within North America, plus the freight forwarder’s fee to get it to her in New Zealand, which was about $35 NZD ($24.50 USD) – not nothing, but significantly less.

I don’t add any markup to the shipping costs, so I don’t lose money if you use a freight forwarder – it doesn’t affect me either way. I hate paying for shipping as much as anyone, so I wanted to tell you about this potential way to save a bit of money.

If you have experience using a freight forwarder, please leave a comment below and if you’re happy with their service I’ll add them to the list of recommended freight forwarders. One question I have is how much longer does it take for a parcel to arrive if you use a freight forwarder? If you have an answer, please let us know.



2 thoughts on “Overseas? Save money by using a “freight forwarder””

  1. It cost me about $80USD total to get it to Tasmania via a US freight forwarder.
    When I first ordered the site was quoting me $140 AUD postage which is a bit of a deal breaker.
    I notice now its only quoting about $100AUD.
    So I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the forwarder now.

    However the postage times from the forwarder are generally fast.
    They often have special rates for DHL, FedEx, UPS etc. So it ends up taking 2-4 Days from Los Angeles to Tasmania.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Aaron. I’ve been refining the estimated weights used to calculate the shipping costs of the different kit variations so they’re closer to the actual weights, and that’s probably why the shipping price has changed. Smaller kits with lighter floor material and/or no extras can weigh under 3 kg, which is one of those thresholds where the price jumps up on overseas shipments. Thanks!

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