The challenges faced by cross-border shipping are closely linked to the type of shipping system used. Typically, open systems are used in international e-commerce goods transport. In these types of systems, the participating package delivery services are independent of one another. This means there are no standardized shipping labels, tracking codes or machine-sortable packaging.
Once packages reach their destination country, postal services in an open system are confronted with numerous challenges:
- No accompanying data or barcodes
- Addresses that are difficult to read—sometimes with foreign characters
- Many single items consisting of letters or small packages
- No ability to track shipments
- No machine-sortable packaging
The disadvantages of open shipping systems are obvious. Sorting systems reach their limits, employees must manually process shipments, costing time and money, and customs clearance makes the entire shipment a loss instead of a profit.