Customers shipping packages to international recipients must confirm that they can track their packages during delivery. The United States Postal Service (USPS) charges a small fee for parcel tracking while UPS, FedEx and DHL include tracking in the cost of shipping. Every consumer should consider insurance as well as parcel tracking for international packages due to the higher likelihood of damage in transit. Once a package has been authorized for tracking, a clerk applies a sticker to the package that features a unique bar code. This bar code is scanned at each stop during delivery to provide real-time information for interested consumers.
The language used for various stops during international shipping differs from carrier to carrier. After a delivery service has processed a package, a delivery truck brings the package to a regional distribution office. This distribution facility sorts out national and international deliveries into common groups to decrease the number of trips needed to complete daily parcel orders. International packages are carried by airplane to distribution facilities in Asia, Europe and points beyond before delivery to their recipients. Delivery trucks, trains and cars in foreign countries may be held up due to road problems, weather conditions and technical problems. Customers can track the progress of their packages every hour of the day by inserting the tracking code into the parcel service's online tracking tool. After the code has been entered, senders will see a stop-by-stop account of international delivery until the recipient has signed for the package.
An international package finishes its circuit once a delivery person gets a signature from the recipient. Delivery services use handheld scanners to read the tracking bar code and process the signature to a central server. Once the signature has been confirmed, the online tracking list is updated so that the sender knows who acknowledged receipt of the package. UPS, FedEx and DHL offer email confirmation of delivery to its customers as soon as online tracking has been updated. USPS customers can purchase delivery and signature confirmation for a small fee if they want to receive a note by mail that their international package has reached its destination. If a package has not been delivered within one or two days of the projected delivery, senders should contact the delivery service to determine if transportation or communications problems are preventing proper tracking.
- Photo by James Vreeland (Flickr)