The most common surcharges.

There is a lot involved in shipping and processing parcels. Parcels that require special processing take up more time and space during the delivery process. Some parcels are extremely large and other parcels are much heavier than average. There may be an extra surcharge for these parcels. But when exactly does this happen? We will share the most common surcharges - per carrier- and give you tips on how to prevent these surcharges. On this page you will find the surcharges of PostNL and DHL.
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Country Surcharge
Netherlands € 3,46
Germany € 10,-
France € 8,-
Other EU countries € 3,46


Manual processing surcharge (Parcel NL, inside and outside the EU).

If products are packed incorrectly or non-securely, they can disrupt the carrier’s logistics process. For example, because they get stuck on the sorting belt, get damaged or the shipping label cannot be scanned. To solve this problem, the parcels are removed from the sorting belt and processed manually. You will pay a surcharge for this, in addition to the parcel price of your shipment. Here is an overview of the surcharges for shipments within Europe.

NB: Special processing can often be avoided. 

  1. Make sure you pack your products correctly. Use the right sized packaging and correct material and, if necessary, use sufficient padding so that the products cannot move around in the packaging.
  2. Use rectangular or square shipping boxes and make sure your shipping label is placed in the middle of the box and is easy to scan.

You can also read the handout here to find out how to pack your products correctly.

Volume surcharge (Parcel NL)

Research conducted by carriers shows that half of the shipped parcels consist of empty space. This results in the transportation of unnecessary volume. By collectively reducing this, we can create additional logistic capacity and directly reduce CO2 emissions, thus minimizing our environmental impact. Therefore, a surcharge will be applied to parcels with a volume greater than 50 dm3 (destined within the Netherlands). As of January 1, 2023, this will also apply to European shipments. However, we have chosen not to pass on this surcharge for the time being. In the event of any changes, we will communicate this in a timely manner.

  • Surcharge: The volumetric surcharge is calculated based on the space occupied by the parcel during the delivery process and ranges from € 0.54 to € 3.27 (depending on the volume). You can easily calculate the volume of your parcel shipment by multiplying the length (L) by the width (B) by the height (H) in decimeters.
  • Example calculation:
    Size: 48 x 32,5 x 32 cm
    Contents: 4.8 x 3.25 x 3.2 dm = 49.9 dm3
    49.9 dm3 is less than 50 dm3: 49.9 dm3 < 50 dm3
    No surcharge will be charged. Only the basic rate applies to this parcel shipment.
  • NB: Pack your products so they are as compact as possible. It’s better for both your wallet and the environment! Go to our packaging shop to select the correct packaging for your products.
Surcharges Rate
< 50 dm3 Free
50-100 dm3 € 0.54
100-200 dm3 € 1.63
> 200 dm3 € 3.27

Freight surcharge (Parcel NL, within the EU and outside of the EU).

For parcels that exceed the maximum dimensions (175 x 78 x 58 cm) and/or maximum weight (30kg), a freight surcharge  will be applied.

  • Surcharge: € 79,54 per parcel.
  • Tip: Make sure your parcel is always within the allowed weight and dimensions. If necessary, divide the order into several parcels to avoid a surcharge. 

Peak surcharge

In 2023, PostNL will also apply a peak surcharge in order to guarantee quality when it comes to processing and delivering parcels and letterbox parcels during the final, busiest period of the year. For six weeks, starting in the month of November, the peak surcharge will be charged on top of the price of sending both a parcel and a letterbox parcel. The peak surcharge is set at € 0.25 per parcel and € 0.15 per letterbox parcel sent and applies to every destination.

Energy surcharge

The high energy and fuel prices have a significant impact on consumers and businesses. As a result, as of January 1, 2023, PostNL will apply an energy surcharge of € 0.12 per parcel. The energy surcharge applies to destinations within the Netherlands, Belgium, and the EU. The energy surcharge is included in the shipping rate.

Letterbox parcel surcharge.

Letterbox parcels are the ideal option to send small, lightweight products cheaper. The minimum and maximum size and weight of a letterbox parcel are:

  • Min. size: 14 cm in length and 9 cm in width.
  • Max. size: 38 x 26.5 x 3.2 cm.
  • Max. weight: 2 kg.

PostNL will charge a surcharge for letterbox parcels that do not comply with the dimensions and/or weight. These shipments cannot be delivered via the postal network and are automatically transferred to the parcel network so that your customer is inconvenienced as little as possible. There are additional costs involved.

Volumetric weight for World shipments

The rate for a world shipment (a shipment outside of Europe) is calculated as follows: Base rate + rate per kg (incl. energy surcharge) x volume weight.

This new working method was developed in order to tax shipments that take up more space and/or weight during transport more than smaller and/or lighter shipments. This means that if the actual weight of a shipment is greater than the volume weight, the actual weight will be used to calculate the kilo surcharge. If the volume weight is greater than the actual weight, the volume weight will be used. The example below helps to explain how this works:

  • Example calculation shipment weighing 3 kg:
    We always calculate using the following formula: length x width x height.
    Size: 40 x 30 x 60 cm
    Contents: 4 x 3 x 6 dm = 72 dm3
    Actual weight: 3 kg
    Volume weight: 72 / 9 = 8
  • The volume weight is calculated based on the contents (dm3) / 9. In the calculation example above, 8 would be used to calculate the kilo surcharge. A weight of 8 kg would be used to calculate the kilo surcharge for this shipment.
  • Kilo surcharge The kilo surcharge on your shipment is determined by weight (in kg) or volume weight. We would like to explain to you how to calculate this surcharge with an example. Please see this article.

View the General Terms and Conditions of PostNL for a complete overview of all possible surcharges.


Manual processing surcharge

DHL also charges a manual processing surcharge if parcels disrupt the logistics process. The manual processing surcharge is € 7.95 per parcel on top of your shipment’s parcel price. Due to manual processing, a parcel may be delivered one day later. 

  • Tip: Make sure you pack your products correctly. Select the right sized packaging and correct material and, if necessary, use sufficient padding so that the products cannot move around in the packaging. In addition, use rectangular or square shipping boxes and stick the shipping label on the largest side of the box and at the top right.

New Shipping Label Surcharge.

If the address label contains an error, DHL needs to print a new address label. This can occur if the address details are incorrect or if the barcode is not legible.

  • Surcharge: The new shipping label surcharge amounts to € 1.25 per shipment on top of the regular rate for your shipment.
  • Tip: Make sure to always double-check the recipient’s address. Additionally, regularly check if your label printer is functioning correctly and printing the shipping labels accurately.

Undelivered Parcel Surcharge.

If the parcel cannot be delivered or is not collected at the DHL ServicePoint, it will be returned to the sender. For this service, DHL charges a surcharge of € 1.50 + shipping rate.

The mentioned surcharges apply to consumer deliveries within the Netherlands (DHL For You). Please refer to our rate handout for an overview of all surcharges or navigate to DHL’s Terms and Conditions.

View the General Terms and Conditions of DHL for a complete overview of all possible surcharges.

Download the handout containing all prices and surcharges here. If you have any questions, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions in the backoffice. Still can’t find the answer? You can always contact us. We’re here to help.