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SAL vs Registered SAL

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Some places like HobbySearch will ship by SAL or by Registered SAL.

 

Here are some differences:

 

Registered SAL will usually take longer.  This is because it is a form of "registered mail" and the postal authorities have to  maintain a strict chain of possession from the shipper to the recipient.   Normal mail does not have this requirement.  So registered mail usually takes longer.   Right now I have 2 shipments coming from HobbySearch.  One is "Registered SAL" and the track on it on the Japan Post site still shows merely the initial acceptance.  This was posted on March 6 in Japan.  It does not yet show up in the USPS.com tracking (except to say that a label was created; not yet in system).   The other shipment is a "SAL Parcel", was posted on March 8 in Japan. and already has 3 entries in the tracking on the Japan Post website (the 3 entries: acceptance, dispatch to, and arrival at "outward office of exchange")  and shows as accepted and is in the system and underway on USPS.com as well.   One reason for the difference is that the "Registered SAL" has to be strictly controlled in terms of access and possession, while the "SAL Parcel" just gets put in with all the other mail.

 

There can be multiple types of SAL available sometimes as well.   The "SAL Small Packet" is a basic, untracked, uninsured small parcel shipment and has restrictive size and weight limits.  It may be equivalent to a "First Class Parcel" type service.   The "SAL Parcel" usually provides tracking, and may provide some insurance coverage and packages can be bigger and heavier.   Speedwise both should be faster than the "Registered SAL" option.  The "Registered SAL" is the "SAL Small Packet" but as a "Registered Mail" piece with the security and control and even slower speed that entails.

 

The above info comes from my personal experience, information on the Hobby Search website, and knowledge from having shipped and received SAL and SAL-equivalent packages from/to various countries.  In general it should apply to shipments to/from other countries.   Each country has a different name for their "SAL" or "SAL" like services.  "SAL Small Packet" would be equivalent to a "Letter Package" type service (USPS -- First Class Parcel).

 

Even though it takes longer, for me the additional cost of the "Registered SAL" for small packages is worth it to me due to the extra scrutiny, security, and modest indemnity ("insurance")  applied to the package.

 

This does not discuss EMS, which is the international version of what the USPS calls Express Mail (but not Priority Mail or Express Priority or whatever they call it now).  EMS can be very fast, but is expensive.   My MIL sends a care package to us each December.  She insists on sending it by EMS due to a bad experience she had sending a care package to her daughter by "boat mail" back before we got married, about 20 years ago.  We very often, in fact usually, get this package in about 2-3 days.  (Of course, nothing beats the DHL costs and speed that amazon.co.jp offers -- at least that I see for packages from Japan to the US).

 

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Oven not noticed any real difference in registered vs unregistered sal from japan. But I’ve done over 10x unregistered to registered. Sal has gotten more variable in delivery time over the last few years, it use to be like clockwork at about 12 days plus or minus maybe 3 days. All my registered sal have come in about the same 10-20 day window. I almost always do orders with Sal small packets as heavier regular sal very quickly approach and surpass the ems prices, so better to go ems then.

 

ive had several hundred sal packages to California and Maryland over the last 20 odd years and never one lost, so I’ve stopped using registered sal. Only if something very hard to replace and expensive I’ll use ens to get tracking and insurance, but again nothing has ever gone poof. A couple mauled a bit and one soaked, but never anything actually damaged or lost. I’m self insure now probably to the tune of several thousands of dollars with all the sal shipping!

 

i think the biggest lag overall with sal from japan is first just space on the planes as sal is as space is available, and second customs here in the us as it’s again as there is time as ems and the like get first attention. Both of these things can vary over time.

 

i just had two regular, unregistered sal small packet boxes shipped from hlj a couple of weeks back, one leading the other by like 4 days, but the second package just showed up but the first is still in transit. An example of the variability!

 

the old boat mail is pretty much gone for small shipments and not offered by anyone anymore I think from japan for retail stuff. It took the long route and slow boat and who knows what shuffling along the way. Years ago I did a fe big boxes from japan boat shipping and it took 2-3 months, but they did make it!

 

ems has slowed some. It use to be wicked fast like Dhl, now it’s more like 3-5 days as opposed to usually 2 and sometimes 3 days it was in the past. One came for me in 23 hrs like 12 years back, but I think stars aligned for that one.

 

ny experience has also been with sal from japan (and fromothers in this area) that larger boxes can take a lot longer and seem prone to more damage. Again this is probably from waiting for space on a plane and maybe getting moved more in the process. I try to limit myself to around 1kg boxes and like $150 value to get the best shipping price and risk. But again never a loss and so over self insured I don’t have to really limit my value... registered sal only gets you 6000¥ insurance anyway.

 

Cheers,

 

jeff

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Posted (edited)

 

I've noticed the Registered taking longer than non registered parcels.  Not just from Japan.

 

Besides the registered ones from Japan taking "forever" to show movement compared to trackable non Registered ones (or compared to how quickly a lot of the Japan SAL have come), I have had a bunch of eBay and store shipments from Europe.  The ones sent Registered always take longer.  Often a lot of the extra time is in the US. I had one package from Europe that was sent Registered leave the QUEENS NY USPS facility on one day.   The next day, another package, sent from the US, not registered, left the same USPS facility.  The second one got to me several days sooner.  I've seen the same thing over and over.   It is not a huge difference, a couple days probably, but from talking with guys at the post office a few times, the Registered mail takes longer to handle due to the chain of custody that has to be kept on it.  YMMV...

 

As always, any given package may be fast or slow and it depends on more than being Registered or not.  I am talking overall trends I have seen.

 

In my Hobby Search case, both packages were delivered to the same Japan Post office by Hobby Search.   The registered 2 days before the non registered.  Both SAL type.  The non registered is much further along in the track.   We'll see what happens with final delivery.  I realize these are point cases and may not  support a general trend, but the fact that they were delivered to the same office of JP, and are both SAL, makes it an interesting point case to follow.

 

Edited by chadbag
missed a "period" or "full stop" for you Queen's English speakers.

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The difference could be a lot on the us side on getting to you from port of entry. Dc gets a huge volume of mail and international and things here tend to be a bit more consistent than other places in the us.

 

are you basing this off mainly on the flood of packages you got in the last month? 

 

ive only used the registered japan sal maybe 20 or so times over the last 5 years and again it’s nit been my experience they were consistently slower at all.

 

My shipping experience tends to be over longer periods, I tend to have about 1-5 packages a month from japan (more frequent going back probably). Sal always has had some variability over the short term that seems pretty random or at times looks like some big issue for a bit in the system (like customs backup or airline changes).

 

my experience with sal on other countries is really random and sporadic so I couldn say anything there except for the cheap Chinese ebay packages and those have a lot of odd routes and services they take and can be extremely odd (like being trans shipped thru Kazakhstan and the like from China — go figure).

 

I’m guessing the only thing the same between different countries sal is what happens once it hits our customs. I’m sure some countries get a stronger look at customs than others. Btw I’ve never had a package from japan opened up by customs with any carrier.

 

i did ask our postman about the hassle of scanning the little chain ebay packages that come tracked small packets and he said only real hassle was the last scan at my post box by hand as the rest upstream was automated.

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Posted (edited)

I am ignoring the Chinese ones.  You can never tell about those.

 

I am basing this on many things.  The "flood of packages" from Japan and Europe over the last month and a half.   Most of my Japan have been DHL and don't count, though I had a few registered ones.  I've had a bunch of registered ones from Europe as well as regular ones.

 

Previous packages I have received.

 

Having used Registered Mail to send packages.  I used to run an online store selling reloading equipment and similar items and would sometimes use Registered Mail for packages to some countries.  They always took longer than normal packages, but were a cheap way to get insurance on smaller packages.

 

Also based on a few conversations I had with post office employees when I was sending them, as well as one recently when I was on the receiving end.  They explained why they take longer on average.  And that was mainly the "chain of custody" that has to be documented at every hand over, and the package has to be known and secure at every stop, versus the normal mail.

 

So it comes down to a mix of recent and long term experiences, as well as talking with post office employees about it.

 

Any given package has other variables , like you mentioned.  Airline changes, customs holdups, etc.  Some registered packages my sail through, and some regular ones may get delayed.  Any given package can have anything happen to it.

 

Anyway, just my experiences plus what the Post Office explained to me.

 

ETA:  I am not saying it is inordinately longer, but my experience shows it can add a couple days due to the extra handling they get.

 

Edited by chadbag

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Yep same here just different experiences I guess. I’m actually surprised the mail works as well as it does! Except for a few of the tiny cheap ebay Chinese packages going missing I have not had any packages or letter go missing for years now. The tiny Chinese packets are really tiny sometimes and easy to get lost in the machinery. For some reason USPS is allowing them. To come in a fraction of the minimum size they allow. But it’s like maybe 1 out of a hundred go lost. Few show up like 3 months time looking like they got stuck in the guts of a sorting machine for a month or two. A couple were magnet orders and I expect they did not use enough bubble wrap and the package is stuck to the side of an sorting machine or metal bin somewhere in between!

 

always chatting with our main postman about the mail as he’s always curious as to what the exotic packages are! He’s an old salt and explains what he Knows and has been nice to ask his supervisor a couple of times when I stumped him wirh a question. his fillin is a dolt unfortunately, he has dropped a couple of packages on the ground around the neighborhood (found and delivered by neighbors!) and once tried to collect $10 customs fee on a package from japan that had a customs value on it of $10! I tried to explain nowhere on the package did it say customs fee due, just the customs value and that there are no duties from japan on stuff like this, but he insisted. I had to ask for a redelivery slip in order to get to the po and talk to the postmaster about it. Pm was not all that helpful but agreed I owed no customs dues. Regular postman just rolled his eyes...

 

there are a couple of the small packet services from China that are not that expensive (like when using aliexpress) or for 99 cent ebay stuff that is tracked well and here really consistently at 7-14 days. This one the most tracked is about the fastest, but China seems to have a whole bunch of small packet shipping companies that aggregate and get to the port for China post shipping over. I’m guessing the fast tracked ones have good barcode info there to help USPS quickly route the package as they seem to fly like first class once here in the us. Chinapost heavily subsidizes their end and there is some big deal between ebay, chinapost and USPS for a lot of the service and I expect it mainly covers the services that come quickly!

 

ive been surprised as well the many hundreds of little China ebay packages have never been opened. Figured I’d get maybe one random screen or suspicious package by now.

 

jeff

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The China thing amazes me.  I have never had anything lost of all the small packages I have gotten.  Be it LEDs, makeup brushes (thanks Jeff for those links), multi rotor stuff, or misc hobby or household items.  And the ones that work with the China Post / USPS cooperation (you can tell by the labels preprinted with USPS and CP info) can come remarkably fast.  The Hong Kong post and other ones take a bit longer and so surprise me when they show up as I have often forgotten  about them.   When I was doing more R/C things and buying from HobbyKing, the cheapest was usually the Singapore Post sent stuff but it was also way slow.  The China Post sent stuff was usually faster.  Never anything lost.   Actually quite impressed.

 

Our local postman is an old salt guy too.  Really knowledgable and does a good job.  I often go talk to him if I see the truck and sometimes we talk 30 min or more.  He has been on our route for years and knows me and my various hobbies.    We bought a plot for a house about 1/2 mile away, in our same general neighborhood, and will build on it in a few years.  He knows we have it so if mail goes to that address, he just leaves it at our current mailbox if it is not junk mail.

 

Monday is his day off so that is when screwups usually happen.

 

It is interesting how the delivery guys for various companies all seem to know each other.  At least the regulars.   When our UPS guy retired last Fall, one of the home businesses in our neighborhood who does a tone of shipping had a little party for him and all the delivery guys who are regulars from the various delivery companies all were invited and went as they all knew Norm the UPS guy [who I still have contact with].  (I was not invited as I don't know the home business guy personally).  I heard about the party after the fact from our USPS postman guy.

 

Anyway, for anything worth more than $20-$50 but fitting within the size limits, I choose the registered SAL (even if it takes longer to get it here :) ) because of the chain of custody and care it goes through compared to regular mail.  The small amount of insurance is not the big deal but rather that someone actually has to account for it at each stage of the game, which makes it rather less likely to get lost or disappear. That is my personal preference, even though I have had really good luck on shipping and receiving stuff through the mail.  In my reloading and other accessory business I used to run, I shipped thousands of small FCM and Priority Mail packages to customers around the US, and also a bunch to foreign countries, and never had anything get lost.  A few got misrouted and delayed, but I never had anything lost.

 

Cheers

 

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Lol I just got the mail and two Chinese packages from September and November. Lost somewhere. Seems the jcex service is one of the it may take a long while ones! Actually the buy it now don’t seem to use the ultra cheap and sometimes months service, i think that the ultra low auction wins (many times like 11 cents and free shipping) that end up on the it will take months services. There are a few that route things of other countries first for some odd reason like Singapore, Kazakhstan, Thailand, etc come late as well. I guess there is some way shipping aggregators can make it work some odd way. You can peal off the outer label some times and see the original trans ship location.

 

yeah I worry when our guy gets to retirement age! I get him a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card every so often to pay him back for all the packages we get.

 

interesting to not he said our zip here is one of the highest in the nation for packages, guess veryone shops on line here! 

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

 

Just for reference -- I am not the only one who thinks Registered mail takes longer.

 

https://www.quora.com/Why-does-registered-mail-take-long

 

Here is a background on Registered mail

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_mail

 

My package from Hobby Search finally showed the second step in its journey after 5 days.  The non registered SAL sent 2 days later showed that same second step a day after it was sent :)

 

 

Edited by chadbag

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Not that anyone is tracking this but me, but the Registered SAL sent from Hobby Search on March 6 finally scanned at customs at LAX today, 3 weeks later.  The SAL Packet, not registered, sent 2 days after from the same place through the same Post Office arrived 8 days ago.  Another SAL Packet, non registered, sent from the same place through the same post office 16 days after the first registered one, scanned today at SFO customs.  Two other Registered SAL from Hobby Search through the same post office in the intervening time have been "stuck" at the scan "outward dispatch" for a while...

 

 

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Guess this must have change in the last year or two. I don’t do the registered any more and the ones I did again had no appreciable difference in shipping time to me here in dc. 

 

With this big big difference in time I wonder if it’s worth the $4-5 for it! Just give you anxiety watching it do odd twists and turns! 

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

They actually scan your SAL parcels?

 

IMG_5921  640 x 480.jpg

Edited by bill937ca

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19 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

They actually scan your SAL parcels?

 

IMG_5921  640 x 480.jpg

 

 

Yeah.  The registered ones of course get scanned, but the normal ones do as well as they have a number on them.  Both from Japan and the "Briefpost" letter parcels from Germany as well.

 

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Most of the major posts seem to be putting address identifier barcode on international packages. Anything that requires a customs form now (and the tiny short form is going away) gets the shipping info entered into the computer at the po or online if you set up the shipping that way. In the us The customs number is an identifier on all packages (express have more tracking) and I actually get some tracking on air mail packages thru this number when ther is officially no tracking on these. 

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

I received an Air Mail Small Packet parcel today shipped on March 15. So that is 13 days.  I wonder if SAL is being phased out. The parcel with the no delivery scan sticker was SAL from HS shipped February 27.

Edited by bill937ca

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6 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

I received an Air Mail Small Packet parcel today shipped on March 15. So that is 13 days.  I wonder if SAL is being phased out. The parcel with the no delivery scan sticker was SAL from HS shipped February 27.

 

I think your "no delivery scan" sticker was put on by Canada Post.  So they may have some other criteria.   Anything sent internationally seems to have a parcel ID applied and from the Japan Post and the USPS.com (for those going to the US at least) you can track those numbers, whether a specific "trackable" service or not.  HS puts the item number on the shipment even for non registered (SAL Parcel for example) shipments.

 

I have two windows I refresh.  The Japan Post one and the USPS.com one.   They generally sync up to each other eventually, but there are delays...

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16 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

Not that anyone is tracking this but me, but the Registered SAL sent from Hobby Search on March 6 finally scanned at customs at LAX today, 3 weeks later.  The SAL Packet, not registered, sent 2 days after from the same place through the same Post Office arrived 8 days ago.  Another SAL Packet, non registered, sent from the same place through the same post office 16 days after the first registered one, scanned today at SFO customs.  Two other Registered SAL from Hobby Search through the same post office in the intervening time have been "stuck" at the scan "outward dispatch" for a while...

 

 

 

Hope it shows up soon!  I also have a few shipped around the same time that haven't shown up at LAX yet (Some back from February), so I'm glad to know it's not just my stuff taking a while.

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On 3/10/2018 at 12:19 AM, chadbag said:

 

I've noticed the Registered taking longer than non registered parcels.  Not just from Japan.

 

Besides the registered ones from Japan taking "forever" to show movement compared to trackable non Registered ones (or compared to how quickly a lot of the Japan SAL have come), I have had a bunch of eBay and store shipments from Europe.  The ones sent Registered always take longer. 

 

 

Hi. How long does it usually take? Mine's Reg SAL and it says "dispatch from outward office of exchange" and item is still in Japan, it's been 6 weeks since then. I  tracked using my country's postal service and it says the same thing(item in Japan).

I'm still waiting, or should I ask my local post office (which is very troublesome right now)

 

Thanks

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1 hour ago, midoripeach9 said:

Hi. How long does it usually take? Mine's Reg SAL and it says " and item is still in Japan, it's been 6 weeks since then. I  tracked using my country's postal service and it says the same thing(item in Japan).

I'm still waiting, or should I ask my local post office (which is very troublesome right now)

 

Welcome to the forum midoripeach, usually to the US SAL takes about 2 to 4 weeks, but in the past few months it has slowed down to 1 to 2 months.  I had the same issue with over a month and a half of "dispatch from outward office of exchange".  This means it is waiting at the airport for space to be loaded onto a plane.  The reason SAL is a bit cheaper is that any EMS or other packages arriving will be put on before it.  It will probably show up in your country the next week or two, apparently there has been issues recently with the volume of packages being sent abroad.

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I will be posting some times but the "SAL Parcel", at least to the US, has been much faster than the "Registered SAL" has been, in most cases for me.  I have a bunch of each now to compare with.  

 

I've had things sit in "dispatch from outward office of exchange" for longer periods of time too but not for 6 weeks.  (To the US)

 

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This will vary by the country it’s going to as it will be based on how many flights to that country and how much extra cargo space is available. May also differed with contracts japan Post has with different airlines.

 

been pretty regular for me the last 6 months at 2-3 weeks sal w.o registered. I’ve stopped doing it as not needed as none have gone poof for me in 20 years. I’ve also heard rumor of customs slow ups now and then on the us end from our postal carrier that will effect sal as I’m sure it’s lower priority there as well.

 

jeff 

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Hi again. Thanks for the replies.

 

I'm in Asia. For another package I had delivered earlier, I used Reg SAL and shipped it to the US, that one took a month. For this one, I tried shipping directly to my house, and yeah it's been 6 weeks. I'm assuming there's just too many packages plus the fact that maybe there aren't much cargo space. I'll keep on tracking it with Japan's post service and my country's post service. When should I be worried tho? Just hoping my items are still OK. LOL Thanks again.

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Worst I have had to the us was like 6-7 weeks, a few club members here in dc had a couple at like 8-9 weeks. But mainly it’s 2-3 usually but once and a while one goes out to 4 weeks.

 

jeff

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5 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Worst I have had to the us was like 6-7 weeks, a few club members here in dc had a couple at like 8-9 weeks. But mainly it’s 2-3 usually but once and a while one goes out to 4 weeks.

 

jeff

 

Thanks. I suppose I should wait. Also, what does the status "Dispatch from outward office of exchange" mean? Someone from reddit said it means it already left Japan. However in the postal service's site it says "Prefecture: Tokyo" so that is a bit confusing

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