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DHL to unveil system to calculate tariff, duty fees

DHL Airways will offer a way for companies to log onto its Web site to learn what tariffs, taxes or duties a foreign government may charge before it ships goods internationally.

DHL Airways is offering a way for companies to log onto its Web site to learn what tariffs, taxes or duties a foreign government may charge before it ships goods internationally.

DHL Airways, the U.S. arm of DHL Worldwide Express, said today that starting early next year, companies can go to DHL's Web site and learn what government-imposed charges exist in any country in the world.

Although the Web is supposed to be bringing the world closer together, government red tape is keeping much of it from doing business. Jupiter Communications analyst David Schatsky said studies have shown that a vast majority of Internet customers said they would buy more online if they were told the total costs up-front.

"One of the nice things that (DHL's) system does is that consumers will know in advance what the total charges are," Schatsky said. "And that information is very difficult to provide for international shipping."

This could be a benefit to e-commerce. According to a study done by Forrester Research 85 percent of Internet companies decline to ship internationally. About 75 percent said they lacked a reliable way to register international addresses or price total delivery costs, the report found.

"Many companies, especially those in the Internet space, have found the inability to quote shipping costs up-front," DHL chief executive Vic Guinasso said in a statement. "With DHL's planned service these costs will be available in real time."

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