Incoterms Delivery Duty Paid DDP Guide

Understanding Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) in International Trade

As the global marketplace expands, businesses must adapt to unique logistics and international trade practices. One such practice is Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), a shipping term that can significantly influence the cost, risk, and responsibilities involved in international trade. This article provides an in-depth understanding of DDP and its implications for both sellers and buyers involved in cross-border transactions. 

What is Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)?

DDP is an internationally recognized term used in international trade agreements. It stands for “Delivered Duty Paid,” indicating a unique arrangement where the seller assumes all responsibilities, risks, and costs until the goods are delivered to a pre-agreed destination, usually the buyer’s place of business.

In a DDP agreement, the seller is responsible for all aspects of the shipping process, including packaging, export licenses, custom formalities, main carriage, import duties, and even delivery to a named place of destination. The buyer, on the other hand, only needs to pay for the goods as per the sales contract and assist the seller in obtaining necessary documents for export or import clearance formalities.

DDP in Incoterms

“DDP” is part of the Incoterms (or International Commercial Terms), a set of rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that define the obligations, costs, and risks involved in the delivery of goods from the seller to the buyer.

Under DDP Incoterms, the seller assumes the maximum obligation, making it the only Incoterms rule that requires the seller to take responsibility for import clearance and payment of taxes. In contrast, the buyer is free from any risk or cost until the goods are unloaded from the vehicle at the named place of destination.

DDP : A Closer Look at Seller and Buyer Obligations

Seller’s Obligations

In a DDP agreement, the seller is responsible for all tasks up to and including the delivery of the goods to the buyer’s location. These responsibilities include:

  1. Preparing goods, commercial invoice, and documentation
  2. Export packaging and marking
  3. Securing export licenses and handling customs formalities
  4. Arranging pre-carriage and delivery
  5. Covering loading charges
  6. Organizing the main carriage
  7. Providing proof of delivery
  8. Managing import formalities and duties
  9. Bearing the cost of all inspections
  10. Ensuring delivery to the named place of destination

Buyer’s Obligations

The buyer’s responsibilities in a DDP agreement are significantly fewer. They include:

  1. Paying for goods as specified in the sales contract
  2. Assisting the seller in obtaining any documents or information necessary for export or import clearance formalities

Advantages and Disadvantages of Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) for Buyers

Like any shipping term, DDP comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages for the buyer.

Disadvantages for the Buyer

  • Lack of Control: When sellers are in charge of shipping, they generally choose the slowest and cheapest option, leading to inevitable delays. With DDP, the buyer loses control over the delivery time and can’t accelerate the delivery process if needed.
  • Higher Costs: DDP usually costs more than if the buyer were to hold responsibility for the delivery fees. When purchasing via DDP terms, the buyer is undoubtedly paying the highest possible price for shipping every time.

    Advantages for the Seller

    • Control Over Logistics: The seller has full control over the shipping and logistics process, allowing them to select reliable freight forwarders and ensure the safe and efficient delivery of goods.

    Disadvantages for the Seller

    • High Costs and Risks: Sellers bear all costs and risks until the goods are unloaded, including export packaging, export and import formalities, main carriage, and delivery to the named place of destination. Any unforeseen costs, such as import duties or inspection fees, can quickly eat into their profits.
    • Complex Import Clearance Procedures: In countries with complex or bureaucratic import clearance procedures, handling these responsibilities can be challenging for sellers without local knowledge.

      DDP vs. DAP

      “Delivered At Place” (DAP) is another Incoterm that is often compared with DDP. Under DAP, the seller is responsible for all shipping costs but the buyer takes care of import clearance and any applicable local taxes or import duties.

      The main difference between DDP and DAP lies in who handles the import formalities and pays the taxes and/or import duty. In DDP, it’s the seller’s responsibility, while in DAP, it’s the buyer’s responsibility.

      DDP in the Modern Global Marketplace

      With businesses increasingly going global, DDP has become a popular option for international shipping. It provides a straightforward and reliable method for sellers to deliver goods to buyers, regardless of the distance or logistical complexities involved. However, it’s crucial for sellers to be aware of the potential costs and risks associated with DDP and consider whether it’s the best option for their specific situation.

      When to Use Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) ?

      Considering the drawbacks and benefits, DDP is best used when the supply chain costs and routes are stable and predictable. It is also advisable when the seller is confident in shipping their products to the buyer’s country and has a history of successful DDP deliveries.

      Delivered Duty Paid and Customs Clearance

      Under DDP, the seller is responsible for customs clearance, including import duties or VAT. The buyer is not responsible for any costs related to customs clearance.


      DDP is a significant term in international trade, affecting the cost, risk, and responsibilities of shipping goods across borders. While it offers several benefits to buyers, it also places a considerable burden on sellers. Understanding DDP and its implications can help businesses make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of international trade more effectively.

       FAQs on Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) 

      What is the difference between DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) and DAP?

      In a DDP agreement, the buyer is only responsible for unloading their cargo. Under DAP (Delivered At Place) Incoterms, the seller is responsible only for the shipping costs, while the buyer handles customs, duties, and taxes.


      Who pays freight on Delivered Duty Paid  (DDP)?

      In a DDP agreement, the seller is responsible for all shipping costs, customs clearance fees, import duties, and VAT.


      Who clears customs under a Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) agreement?

      Under DDP, the seller is responsible for clearing customs.


      Is Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) a good idea when importing from China?

      DDP can be beneficial if a company is willing to pay a premium for convenience and wants to avoid splitting the cost between their supplier and a shipping company.


      Can you reject aDelivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipment on arrival?

      Yes, in theory. However, buyers need to understand their purchase contracts. Often, sellers require some form of payment before the goods have arrived. If the buyer rejects a shipment, they may lose their deposits.


      Who is the consignee and importer on record in a DDP shipment?

      This varies by the destination country. When shipping to the U.S., typically the seller is listed as the importer on record, and a consignee would be the ultimate receiver of the goods.

      Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of the DDP ( shipping term. By carefully considering the advantages and potential risks, you can make an informed decision on whether to use DDP for your next international shipment.






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