You’re expecting a package from overseas and have received a “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” tracking update.
What does this mean exactly? Where is your shipment when you receive this alert and is there anything you need to do?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)
The “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” update means that a bulk consignment of many shipments (i.e., the receptacle) has arrived at the destination country (or an intermediate transit country). The carrier has received the receptacle or container from abroad.
Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB) – Guide
The “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” alert is one that follows from “Send Receptacle Abroad”.
Essentially, when packages are loaded onto an airplane or cargo ship, they will be dispatched in bulk inside a container. Some carriers simply call this container, a “receptacle”.
The “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” alert is triggered once the carrier inside the destination or intermediate transit country has unloaded the receptacle from the plane.
The receptacle will still be full of the shipments that make up the bulk consignment.
Next Steps After “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)”
Once the receptacle has been unloaded from the airplane or cargo ship the next steps will depend on the location.
If the receptacle has arrived in the destination country for the shipments, the carrier will need to pass the consignments onto customs staff for clearance.
If the receptacle has landed inside an intermediate transit country, customs are usually avoided.
The consignments will be prepared for the onward journey, (i.e. sorted if necessary and dispatched) toward the destination country.
Example updates that you might receive after the “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” alert include: “Arrived at Destination Hub”, “Awaiting Presentation to Customs“, and “Item Presented to Import Customs“.
Tracking Stuck on “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)”
The important issue to remember if your tracking seems stuck on “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” is that the process can take time.
If you have used an economy air or sea cargo service the unloading and sorting of shipments before the receiving carrier obtains the item to scan it for tracking purposes, can sometimes take weeks.
Assuming the item has reached the destination country, customs clearance will be next. However, before this happens the shipment will often be placed in a warehouse within the import location.
Countless customers have complained of long delays while their package is held inside these facilities waiting either for clearance or sorting for onward dispatch, (both steps happen within the same complex).
Even expedited deliveries using a premium service through DHL or FedEx can encounter delays.
The difference is you will be entitled to compensation should the service include guaranteed delivery periods.
My point is, that delays after the “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” update are unfortunately common.
- Related Content: What Does “Import Clearance Start” Mean? (Tracking Guide)
What to Do if Your Package is Stuck?
There are a few options open to you if your package is stuck on “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)”.
1. Track the package using a Universal Tracker
If you are not receiving newer updates it might be because you are trying to track the update in the wrong carrier database.
Essentially, when the package is handed over to an alternative carrier service the tracking will not automatically pass over.
These will scan hundreds of carrier databases to see if any information on your shipment can be revealed.
If you have the name of the carrier now responsible for delivery, you can contact the respective customer services department to find out more.
2. Contact the origin country carrier service
If the above step doesn’t reveal anything helpful, you should contact the origin carrier.
The carrier that actually uses the “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” alert the most is India Post.
While they might not be able to provide all the help you need due to the item now being inside the destination country, India Post will be able to point you in the right direction of where the problem is.
India Post can be contacted here or on 1800 266 6868
If India Post wasn’t the carrier responsible for the initial stages of the shipment, you will need to find the contact details of the service that was.
3. Contact the seller
Another option is to contact the sender of the item. Very often carrier services do prefer to correspond with the account holder anyway, (i.e. the person or entity that made the shipment delivery order).
The seller needs to be informed that a delay has occurred and that the package is seemingly stuck at customs.
With any luck, they will be able to dig deeper to find out what has happened.
The “Received Receptacle from Abroad (OTB)” alert is a bit of a strange one.
Mostly used by India Post, it is basically telling you that a package (along with hundreds of others), has arrived at the destination or transit country.
The “receptacle” has been received. There are still a number of steps to go before delivery, however, so keep an eye on your tracking for further updates.
If things are delayed, follow the guidance above.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂