OK. You’ve decided that you want to send your package to or from Spain by Courier because you want real-time tracking; because it’s valuable and you don’t trust the ordinary post; because you need a time-definite delivery or just because it’s cheaper. How do you choose which of the four international couriers from Spain you are going to use?
Well, if you are a member of the public and you come to the Citibox website for a Discounted Courier Quote we will make the decision for you so you don’t have to worry. It will be far cheaper than going direct to the courier company and you will have the added protection of using Citibox with its high-level contacts direct into the courier companies.
However, if you are a business sending courier to and from Spain, there are many other factors so here is a little help in making the choice. Nearly every business regularly sending more than a couple of parcels a week will be able to get some discount from the international courier companies (this is far more problematical if you are trying to achieve a discount from the Spanish courier companies, you need massive volume). Most times, a representative will call and will ask to see some evidence of your current spend on parcels. FedEx do not run a domestic service within Spain but the other three international couriers do so they may take into account both your domestic and international monthly spend. If you send 100 courier parcels to or from Spain every week, you’ve already got a good prive but for those who send two or ten or twenty, what do you do?
Let’s look at the four services, one by one, and I’ll give you my opinion of each service. I emphasise that this is purely a personal opinion based on personal experience of dealing with all four. I am giving my impression as a business user and not as a member of the public, Citibox has accounts with all four so can usually give you a discount and I’ll put my least favourite first. It must be bourne in mind that NO service will deliver 100% of the time and the most valuable thing you can have is backup when something goes wrong. Also, some services in Spain cannot offer next-day delivery for your really urgent packages, neither TNT nor UPS offer next-day delivery from Javéa in Alicante because they truck the parcels and letters to Madrid whereas FedEx air-lifts them from Alicante airport.
TNT. On the minus side; you will have a regional representative to whom you can ask for help in the event that something goes wrong. You may very well not get through, you won’t get much help if you do, they loose and damage a disproportionately high number of items. Currently we have a customer who has asked to try them out because they are cheaper than FedEx and has had three missed collections in a row. Items in the UK have gone missing, presumed stolen by the van driver, in Spain things have been consistently damaged or delivery has been late (i.e. after the trade show ended the samples arrived). Many of these negatives are down to the franchise system that they operate in many parts of Spain. On the plus side they are very competitive on price within Europe, especially for Eastern Europe within the EU where they cannot be beaten for heavier items.
DHL. To be fair, I haven´t used DHL much. Two dismal experiences with them, the second being that a next-day delivery collected one Friday which arrived the following Wednesday because it was a fiesta on the Monday and the van driver could not be bothered to go back to the depot so he went straight home and left all his parcels in the van over the long weekend. As with TNT, we never received a payout but this may owe more to the complexities of the claims procedure than refusal to honour commitments. Their website is terrible. DHL in Spain have a bad reputation within the trade and in the UK if you’ve got a problem it will take at least 6 months for them to sort it, expect lots of computer-generated threatening letters and no help from your representative. They are also expensive out from Spain except… On the plus side, no one can touch their prices to North Africa because they fly direct from Sevilla rather than route through their Northern European hub in Leipzig and they offer truly great freight prices from the UK to Spain but the parcels do not go in a straight line and London – Madrid might call at Milan on the way.
UPS. TNT and DHL will give you a fixed price-list (as will FedEx) and then withdraw the concessionary prices on the review date if you fall behind with your monthly spend. With UPS, you are more likely to get a sliding scale of charges so if you send lots of courier within the month your rates are discounted by 50% or more but if you send only a couple of packages a week you are getting a very low discount and if you close for part of the month, December for instance, you all but loose your discount. I have found their service efficient but, again, if something goes wrong the chances of getting in touch with your representative and getting the problem instantly resolved are not good. A parcel sent last week to the UK was delivered to a totally different address two streets away and only the honesty of the recipient saw it taken by him to its correct destination. UPS have failed to give an explanation for delivery to an entirely different address. Their prices under 1kg are good, over that they become prohibitively expensive however much discount you get in the month.
FedEx. Well I would make them top, wouldn’t I? Citibox puts 95% of all its international courier from Spain through FedEx and there has to be a reason. Firstly, the down-side. To Eastern Europe FedEx are particularly expensive. They charge more (on a discounted basis) than either TNT or UPS for a simple 500g envelope to the EU. TNT and DHL are not really competitive on price for inter-continental parcels nor on service and transit time. FedEx collections from some areas can be a problem but are always rectified if reported early enough. For heavier weights outside Europe and for their outstanding Economy service which brings parcels down below postal prices FedEx cannot be beaten for the price/efficiency ratio. The main benefit of sending FedEx is the superb support from the switchboard who really know what is happening to your parcel and can instantly get in touch with the local base to solve your problems. All genuine claims are handled very fast and paid out very quickly although I should say that we have only had three such claims in the last 12 months which is around 0.025% of the parcels sent.
So, if you are sending the majority of your parcels to North Africa, you particularly want to talk to DHL. If most of your courier goes to Slovenia or Croatia, consider TNT. If you are sending light-weight letters only to the EU and USA, UPS may offer the best service/value combination. My advice is to choose the courier that suits you and then put all your business through them because otherwise you just won’t have the volume necessary to give you a decent discount unless you are sending 100s a week.
However, the really sensible solution is to “pool” your courier with all the other companies that send through Citibox so that, acting as a clearing house for all your courier transactions, we can provide you with a lower cost than if you went direct AND you benefit from our high-level contacts with FedEx and the other couriers to ensure that on those very few occasions that problems happen your problem becomes our problem, whether on collection or delivery or in customs, and you receive the very best service possible to minimise and correct it. Why not ask us to quote you as well? Send a quick note to Contact Us and we´ll contact you.