Singapore Expats Forum

Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10410
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 03 May 2016 12:04 pm

I used to have a lot of faith in Singpost but after reading a lot of negative posts here, I'm not so sure.

I need to mail the CPF Board a number of documents... one is an original from ICA, which I could obtain another copy with some pain.

How would you send six pages of docs to CPF from the USA? Fedex and UPS are about $80 US without signature delivery, USPS priority about $60, and USPS first class, registered and return receipt, about $23. I really don't care how long it takes to get to Singapore, I just don't want stuff lost.

The Ref
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed, 19 May 2010

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby The Ref » Tue, 03 May 2016 1:00 pm

Most of the time a "mug off the street" gets terrible rates with the couriers, but companies with accounts get massive discounts.
If you know anyone with a company that uses a courier service they are likely to pay about a quarter of the rates you were quoted, possibly less. A small company you don't know may even do it for half the quoted rate and make a small profit.

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 03 May 2016 2:01 pm

The answer is the U.S. Postal Service's First-Class Mail International (postage $1.15 and up; $2.29 and up for large envelopes) with Registered Mail service ($13.40). Return Receipt service ($3.70) is optional since you get a tracking number with Registered Mail, and you can use that tracking number at Singpost's Web site once the piece lands in Singapore's mail stream. You get up to $42.56 worth of insurance with Registered Mail to help you pay for a replacement document. No, I don't know why it's such an odd amount.

Private couriers also lose pieces from time to time. There is no completely risk free way to send anything. The USPS and SingPost both have low mail loss rates, and they're even lower when delivering to businesses and government agencies such as CPF.

earthfriendly
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1831
Joined: Sat, 20 Aug 2005

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 04 May 2016 9:45 am

How good is the tracking using USPS. Are you able to track it all the way till it reaches its destination in SG? The issue with international mail is that it involves two parties (each country's national mail). If something should go awry, they may deflect and point finger towards the other party. One time, my US to Canada shipment arrived damaged at the Canadian's customer end. My local post office recommended I claim with Canadian mail and vice versa. With no resolution in sight. I just ate the loss. Even though I had paid insurance for it. Which kind of taught me the uselessness of buying insurance. Life is inherently risky and not possible to insure against everything. When I shipped to France and had trouble pulling up tracking info, I called my local post office. They were of no help. And they told me once the package arrives at the shore of the foreign country, it is totally off their hands. With a courier service, if anything should go wrong. You know who exactly to hold accountable for.

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 04 May 2016 1:08 pm

earthfriendly wrote:How good is the tracking using USPS. Are you able to track it all the way till it reaches its destination in SG?

Yup. Once it arrives in Singapore's mail stream you can also track it at SingPost's Web site. The U.S. Postal Service is getting the same data at that point.

The issue with international mail is that it involves two parties (each country's national mail).

Two or more, but that's not a unique characteristic of postal services. The postal services tend to do better with customs clearance, another part of the equation (and another part of government, but the same government). The couriers don't get to bypass customs.

If something should go awry, they may deflect and point finger towards the other party.

Also not unique to national postal services. And did you know that UPS and Fedex in the United States routinely rely on the U.S. Postal Service for "last mile" delivery? That's also true in some other countries. They just inject the piece into the local mail stream if it's not an address they serve, and they don't serve many addresses in the U.S. (in overall percentage terms -- it's still a very rural country). It's best to think of the couriers as shipment integrators, and they do a good job of that (for a price).

Another advantage the postal services in many countries have (in the U.S., certainly) is that they're the only services legally allowed to deliver to post boxes. UPS and Fedex cannot put anything through a U.S. mail slot or into a U.S. mailbox, not even a delivery notice. Not legally, anyway.

What you buy from a courier is speed, and sometimes you need that.(*) Statistically, at least with these two countries, you don't buy reliability, which is the requirement in this case.

(*) As an example, if you're sending something to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service from overseas, then the IRS accepts proof of private courier acceptance for shipment -- for specific published couriers and classes of service -- as proof of shipment, with the date of shipment deemed the official date of receipt at the IRS. So let's suppose you're Singapore Airlines, and you owe $1 million in U.S. tax. If you send that payment as a paper check using one of the IRS's published couriers and classes of service, then the IRS treats that payment as having been made on the date of shipment. There's some interest on big amounts of money -- some time value to money -- and in such cases speed is important. U.S. Postal Service First Class Mail domestically within the United States is also treated the same way by the IRS (date of shipment acceptance is what counts, i.e. the postmark date), but from overseas you need to use one of the couriers and classes of service on their list if you want to satisfy a filing deadline or payment deadline based on the date of shipment acceptance.

earthfriendly
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1831
Joined: Sat, 20 Aug 2005

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 05 May 2016 12:07 am

I wasn't expecting such a detailed post :P. But thank you. It is quite country specific then? Seems that SG-USA national postal integration is pretty good. It is happening a lot. A shipment would start off with a courier and then the local post office end up delivering it to my house. More efficient and cost-effective for the courier?

I had to return over $400 worth of merchandise back to Nordstrom.com using their prepaid label. I dropped it off at the post office but they would not issue me with a receipt. Mail clerk told me to take a photo of the mailing label affixed to the box. No evidence or paper trail that I had shipped it out. And I could not pull up any tracking info at all. And once again, I call my local post office :P . And they say to just wait for the recipient to get their package. It took almost 2 weeks to get the notification from Nordstrom. If the package ever get lost, I would not be able to produce any proof :-| . So far, I only had one lost mail batch. In over two decades. So it is worth taking the chance?

Altho people in out town had been loosing mail, thru mail thefts. Our cluster mail boxes also kenna. These thieves would pry open the mail boxes hoping to find packages or checks. And during Christmas time, they would steal the packages off your porch. Some would follow the UPS truck and immediately lift the package right after the driver drop it off. These are some lazy thieves :P . Who do not want to work too hard for their loot.

User avatar
Aragorn2000
Regular
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun, 30 Dec 2012

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby Aragorn2000 » Thu, 05 May 2016 7:10 am

I usually use DHL. Packages go through their own network without any "last mile" or other courier services along the way. You need a person to receive the package though. Otherwise it will be returned to the sender. DHL is generally cheaper than Fedex or UPS.

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby BBCWatcher » Thu, 05 May 2016 8:13 am

Aragorn2000 wrote:I usually use DHL....

DHL is somewhat hard to access in the U.S. They used to be much bigger in the U.S. after their acquisition of Airborne Express, but they significantly downsized a few years ago when they couldn't gain much traction against UPS, Fedex, and the U.S. Postal Service. They don't handle everything in their own network, at least not routinely when it comes to the U.S. I just looked up the DHL drop-off location for a town I know well. It's...The UPS Store. ;)

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9161
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby x9200 » Thu, 05 May 2016 8:50 am

earthfriendly wrote:I wasn't expecting such a detailed post :P. But thank you. It is quite country specific then? Seems that SG-USA national postal integration is pretty good. It is happening a lot. A shipment would start off with a courier and then the local post office end up delivering it to my house.

It's a standard integration for, I believe, majority of postal companies. Even if you sent an RA from China to Singapore you will have this info provided.
But regardless, knowing that more recently Singpost seems to rely occasionally on its daughter company - speedpost, for local delivery, I would never send anything important with USPS.

I also disagree with the suggested superiority of the through the customs stage mentioned by BBCW for the non-courier postal carriers. Even if there is some "fast track" it does not translate anyway to the speed of delivery as compared to the major courier companies. Just opposite, it seem from time to time the post is just withheld somewhere for a week or two.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9161
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby x9200 » Thu, 05 May 2016 9:03 am

BBCWatcher wrote:The postal services tend to do better with customs clearance, another part of the equation (and another part of government, but the same government). The couriers don't get to bypass customs.

Not sure what do you actually mean but the standard post is also checked by the customs.

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 06 May 2016 1:30 am

x9200 wrote:Not sure what do you actually mean but the standard post is also checked by the customs.

Absolutely, but in many countries (including the two we're talking about) customs and the postal service are parts of the same government. That has its advantages, at least in practice.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34262
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 06 May 2016 10:30 am

BBCWatcher wrote:
x9200 wrote:Not sure what do you actually mean but the standard post is also checked by the customs.

Absolutely, but in many countries (including the two we're talking about) customs and the postal service are parts of the same government. That has its advantages, at least in practice.


Not quite, but close I'll admit. (especially if you count Temasek as a major shareholder of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd).

"Singapore Post Limited, commonly abbreviated as SingPost, is an associate company of Singapore Telecommunications Limited and Singapore's designated Public Postal Licensee which provides domestic and international postal services."

"Singapore Post Limited was listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange (SGX-ST) on 13 May 2003. Singapore Post is the first Public Postal Licensee. TAS granted the licence in 1992 in accordance with section 42 of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore Act 1992. As a licensee, Singapore Post is empowered to operate postal services with the exclusive privilege of receiving, collecting and delivering letters and postcards from one place to another until 31 March 2007."

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 06 May 2016 11:04 am

I do count that. ;)

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34262
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 06 May 2016 12:10 pm

Believe me, you shouldn't. I was here for 10 years prior to the privatization of Singapore Post. The dependability and accuracy has increased by double or more. I was forever getting mail misdirected, lost and generally taking 3 to 5 days just to get it across town. I haven't had any problems thus far with bad deliveries (although I do get peeved when they get too lazy to deliver a package to the door but just put a failed delivery notice in the po box). But a trip to the PO has always had the package there. So, I'm not complaining and will be the first to say thank doG that it was privatized. Singtel only the other hand is a piece of Sh*T.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10410
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: Best Way to Send Reasonably Important Documents to Singapore?

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 11 Jun 2016 10:28 pm

Following the advice of BBCW, which incidentally, was also the recommendation of the USPS clerk, I mailed a flat envelope, registered mail, return receipt, last Saturday, 7 days ago, for the charges that BBCW mentioned.

It has proven to be completely worthless trying to track the package. From day 1 until right now, the USPS website displays the notice below.

Image

The SingPost website is no better...

Image

Presumably the item is on its way... presumably it will get there... but the tracking isn't worth crap.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests