Document shipping, US to Portugal, cheap and reliable method?

I naively shipped my bank account paperwork to Portugal using USPS Priority International Mail, a superior value at the low, low price of $38. It took one day to reach the regional hub, another day to reach the international hub, lingered there for two days, then spent three days on a truck to another international hub. Now it has been at an airport in NYC for two days, with no indication of the next move.

This post advises that overseas mail delivery is in a poor state:

Even Priority Mail Express envelopes (~$70) have been travelling by container ship, a one month journey, before wallowing in various bureaucratic purgatories in lieu of onward processing.

I discern that paying $80 for a retail FedEx envelope is one way to get a package moving. FedEx runs its own logistics and has managed to keep things moving.

I solicit the community’s general advice about tips and tricks for paring down the outlandish cost of timely international document shipments. For example, I understand that FedEx and DHL offer a $12 price point for 3-5 day international letter shipments to regular business customers. Are there resellers providing economical access to these discounted but reasonably responsive service tiers?

Yeah, $80 to mail a letter is a drop in the bucket compared to all of the other costs incurred in a CBI journey, but it still stings!

1 Like

In 2020, it took 9 months for a certified letter in Arizona to get delivered to me in Colorado and we never received our ballots or car registrations . I can’t imagine any international USPS working properly at this point. FedEx is absolutely the way to go.

1 Like

Here is my advice. Skip USPS. skip the web self-service at Find a fedex authorized shipper and the price will magically drop to about $56. It’s worth knowing it will actually get there in a timely manner.

I have heard DHL is good but i haven’t personally used because there are not many authorized shippers in the US.

I have also used UPS Express. It was good but my recollection is that it took about 3 days longer than fedex.

1 Like

Just a thought…. Here in Georgia (the country - not the US state) there a several low cost shipping companies that bring (fly) items extremely cheaply and quickly from the USA to Georgia on a weekly basis. Just one of many examples is . There are similar forwarding companies in other countries. Perhaps there are such companies in Portugal?

Also the national postal service in some countries operate their own international low cost forwarding services. For example MaltaPost has delivery offices in a number of countries from where they fly articles quickly and cheaply to Malta. Perhaps the national postal service in Portugal has such services that might be quick cheap and reliable?

1 Like

We used UPS to mail signed documents to the bank. It took 3 days and it cost ~$70 from West Coast. They are pretty reliable. We had to mail documents to Portugal twice, and it took 3 days both times.
We were told not to use FedEx by our lawyer because they had issues with customs more often than not. Our experience with USPS domestically hasn’t always been positive so we didn’t even consider them. We have used DHL in the past to mail documents to Hungary and they were reliable as well.

1 Like

If you need something reliable, go with the big guys.

Cheap and reliable does’t go in the same sentence.

My primary interest in starting this thread was to solicit tips on paying less to ship documents with “the big guys”. The person who paid $1000 for a seat in first class is going to enjoy the same class of service and arrival time as the person next to him who paid $5000.