Global Carriersl Carriers

Fed Ex / TNT

These two companies have now combined and dependent on the service required and the point of origin, different services may be offered. As examples transit times are shown from the UK and the US:

Fed Ex - International Priority - 2 business day to main centres – from the US

Fed Ex - International Economy - 2 to 5 business days – from the US

TNT Economy Express - 2-day delivery - from the UK

TNT Express - Next day delivery - from the UK


UPS offers a range of services and delivery times to the Netherlands subject to country of origin and the specific destination. The example service times below are from the UK from where all the services are available except UPS Expedited (which applies only to non-EU destinations). UPS services are designed for business deliveries and the service times shown are for delivery to business areas. Residential / rural areas may take a little longer and may incur a surcharge.

• UPS Express Plus – next business day – delivery by 09:00

• UPS Express – next business day – delivery typically by 10:30 noon or by 12:00

• UPS Express Saver – delivery by end of next business day

• UPS Expedited – 2-5 business days – delivery by end of day – 2 days from the UK

• UPS Standard – day definite by date scheduled – delivery during the day - 2 days from the UK

The Express services come with a money back guarantee should the delivery be attempted after the specified time.


DHL offers four service options to Belgium and the Netherlands with example transit times to main centres shown below – deliveries to remote areas may take slightly longer:

• Export Express 09:00 delivery the next possible working day

• Export Express 12:00 delivery the next possible working day

• Export Express Worldwide - Guaranteed delivery by the end of the next possible working day

• Export Economy Select

For ecommerce deliveries it is likely that the most viable option will be Export Economy Select where, by example delivery from the UK is 2 working days.


DPD offers four main international services to the Netherlands with availability and transit times dependent on the origin of the shipments:

• DPD Direct – a consolidation service with transit times of 3 to 4-days from the UK

• DPD Classic – offers an intra Europe service with delivery typically between 2 and 6 days » 2 days from the UK

• DPD Air Classic – typically offering global delivery in between 3 and 10 days » 3 to 4-days days from the UK

• DPD Express - typically offering global delivery in between 2 and 8 days » 2 days from the UK 

Domestic carriers

In addition to the global carriers mentioned (which will also be domestic carriers in some markets), domestic carriers based in the retailer’s own market will often accept online retail orders and ship them to the Netherlands through third parties. Domestic carriers will sub-contract the onward shipment, often to a global carriers or postal service, but for a retailer holding a contract with a domestic carrier this can be a natural starting point for accessing services in cross-border markets. Finding out what options they provide can be a useful benchmark. Service times will vary depending on the line haul arrangements in place and the service partner chosen.

Direct access

Direct access describes a solution used to consolidate volumes from di erent senders to achieve be er air transport rates. Consolidated orders are shipped to the destination country where they are handed to local partners for the final delivery. Direct access operators provide a managed service that can include:

• In-transit tracking

• Customs clearance – often ‘wheels up’ in advance of arrival

• Multiple points of entry – reducing ‘in country’ line haul costs and lead times

• Calculation and payment of duties in advance of order and dispatch

• HTS (Harmonised Tari Schedule) code classification

• Tracked returns – for unwanted and undeliverable items

Where a retailer has sufficient volume to be able to contract with a direct access operator there is the opportunity to get a ‘courier’ level service at less than ‘courier’ rates.

Parcel brokers =

Parcel brokers provide retailers a way of accessing be er pre-contract rates through postal operators, global and domestic carriers and direct access providers. Parcel brokers do not offer all carrier options, only those that choose to contract with them and some are more suited to consumer and SME retailer dispatches. For example, companies like Parcel2Go and Parcel Monkey provide this channel into the Netherlands using the likes of TNT, DPD, Asendia, UPS, Hermes and Parcelforce. For larger retailers, bulk brokerage is available to Belgium. A leading broker for these markets is Spring Global Delivery Solutions who consolidate volumes and use their resultant buying power to obtain preferential rates from service partners, creating savings which can be shared with their clients. Brokers may, in some cases simply sell on the services of their chosen partners or, acting in a similar way to direct access operators, can also create service packages.


Retailers with a reasonable volume of orders going to the Netherlands may wish to consider the option of parcel management service integrators who can provide immediate integration with a wide range of service providers delivering into the Belgium and the Netherlands market. These will include most of the options above (excluding parcel brokers) and many others. The retailer will need to have or enter into a contract with the delivery service provider but then the integrator will o er the ability to allocate orders to the most appropriate service – using agreed business rules - printing labels and customs documentation, providing tracking and helping to manage returns. For smaller retailers some integrators o er their own parcel broker option that can help obtain better rates. Providers of such services include MetaPack, ITinSell, Consignor and Electio.

In-country fulfillment

Should a cross-border retailer generate suffcient orders to fulfil those orders ‘in country’ then it may choose to hold its inventory more locally. For example, PostNL - the Dutch postal operator, provides a fully managed solution including warehousing and warehouse management, order picking and packing, IT and customer services support with, of course access to a full range of transportation and distribution services

Imports Duties

The question of taxes and duties needs to be referenced under the heading of logistics because any error can clearly delay clearance and delivery to the customer. The delivery operator selected will be able to provide full details and advice on the necessary documentation and processes and some can go further by pre-clearing orders whilst the goods are in transit or at the start of their journey using a Consumer Duty Paid process. This can be done using the HTS (Harmonised Tariff Schedule) code assigned to each product category and can reduce delivery times and remove a potential barrier of having the goods held when they arrive in the Netherlands. Retailers are therefore advised to specifically ask what their chosen delivery partner can do to facilitate customs clearance and duty calculation / collection. Of course as a member of the European Union dispatches from within the European Union to the Netherlands will not be subject to customs clearance.

For both the Dutch and Belgian markets, there is a €150 threshold8 above which consumers are expected to pay duties. VAT registered businesses based in another EU state, selling goods online to Dutch consumers, must register in the Netherlands for VAT when those sales exceed €100,000 per annum. Because the rules around duties are complex, particularly around di erent product categories, the Dutch customs authorities provide guidance for consumers which is also indicative for businesses. For example, for consignments up to €22, consumers aren’t liable for either VAT or duties when purchasing online from a non-EU business. Between €22 and €150, VAT becomes due but duties aren’t applied. Over €150 and both VAT and duties become chargeable. Alcohol, perfumes and toilet waters attract excise duty at any value. VAT in the Netherlands for most consumer products is at the standard rate of 21%. Duties however are much more varied. For example, footwear varies between 3.5% and 17%, depending on its constituent parts.

Delivery Times

The speed of delivery available from a retailer is important to consumers when they are making the decision to shop with them. 43% of Dutch consumers consumers consider it important that a maximum 3-day delivery option should be on o er 13.

• Dutch shoppers have a higher than normal expectation for fast delivery with 32% expecting delivery in 1 to 2 days and 57% in 3 to 5 days 14.

• The Dutch requirement is confirmed by independent surveys: » A DHL Global study in 2013 showed that the maximum acceptable delivery time for Dutch shoppers is less than 5 days, one of the shortest delivery window expectations in Europe 15. » A UPS study showed that against a European average score of 15%, 18% of Dutch consumers ranked delivery speed as the most important consideration when selecting a retailer to shop with 16

The UPS study also confirms that the majority of Dutch consumers (76%) expect next day delivery as the norm from local retailers, compared with an average 38% of shoppers in the other European countries surveyed where a 2-day delivery is acceptable (60%).




16.8 million

OECD Risk Score: