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What Does “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” Mean? (Tracking Alert Guide)

You’re expecting a package from overseas and have received a “Send Receptacle Abroad OTB” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? Where is your shipment when you receive this alert and what do you do when the update is stuck?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)

The “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” tracking update means that the package has been placed into a container (i.e receptacle), along with many other shipments, and will be loaded onto a plane (or cargo ship) for departure toward the destination country. OTB stands for Outward Bound, meaning that the shipment is leaving a country rather than entering.

Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB) – Guide

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The “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” update is one commonly used by the postal service in India, (although other carriers do use similar).

As such, the alert is normally triggered when a bulk consignment (containing your package) leaves the export hubs of Delhi and Mumbai.

As explained in the summary, the receptacle is another word for container and it is inside this that the full consignment is loaded.

Where is my Package When I Receive the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” Update?

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The good news is that your package has successfully passed customs clearance after you receive the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” update.

Customs staff has handed the item to the line-haul carrier responsible for the cross-border transit of the shipment.

It is the line-haul carrier that loads the package into the “receptacle” before it is loaded onto the plane or container ship.

Essentially, your shipment is inside a large container along with other items either already loaded or waiting to be loaded onto an aircraft when you receive this update.

How Long Will my Tracking be on the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” Update?

Send Receptacle Abroad

This question is actually quite difficult to answer as there are a number of variables at play. Let’s explain this by looking at some potential scenarios.

Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario is that you will receive a new update within 24-48hrs.

In this situation, your shipment has traveled by air cargo, it was loaded onto a waiting plane as you received the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” and departure was imminent.

A new update is triggered within this 48hr time period telling you that the shipment has arrived in the destination country (or potentially intermediate transit country) and/or has been handed over to import customs.

Probable Scenario

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A more likely scenario is two to five days. Again taking an air cargo shipment from India to the west as the situation.

The shipment was packaged into a container as you received the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” update but wasn’t immediately loaded onto a plane.

It took 24-48hrs to leave the airport and upon arrival in the destination country a further 24-48hrs to go through the process of being unloaded, handed to the carrier before customs, and the first arrival scan was taken.

These are all reasonable lengths of time within the logistic process, especially for a non-expedited option via a national postal, (India Post).

Delayed Scenario – Tracking Seems Stuck

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You may have reached this article because your tracking is stuck on the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” update. 

If you have been staring at your tracking updates for up to a week or more, and no new alert has been triggered, the following issues may well have occurred:

  • You’ve opted for an economy carrier service and your shipment is being transported by sea cargo. You could potentially wait weeks before your “container” reaches a transshipment hub or destination port and receives an updated scan.
  • There has been a problem with the item upon arriving inside the destination country. Whether it’s logistical problems with the line haul or receiving carrier or an issue with import customs, the delay will prevent your package from being scanned and therefore the tracking updating.
  • A third problem may be that you are attempting to track your item through the wrong database. Some postal services will stop providing alerts on a shipment once it leaves the origin country. To keep updated you will either have to check the details with the tracking systems of the receiving carrier or utilize the service of a universal tracking app, (more on that below).

What to do When Your Tracking is Stuck on “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)”

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If your tracking has not been updated for over a week and you know that the shipment isn’t being conducted via sea cargo, there are a couple of proactive steps you can take.

Universal Tracking App

The first is to ensure that you are tracking the item via the correct means. The easiest way to check is to use a universal app such as 17Track or ParcelsApp

Tap your tracking details into one of these systems and they will check the databases of hundreds of carriers.

If an alternative carrier is now responsible for tracking your item, you will find the details this way.

Hopefully, you will find that your package is making good progress and delivery is imminent.

Contact the Carrier

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If the above does not reveal any further information on your shipment you will need to contact the carrier.

You will have these details within your tracking. If the item hasn’t managed to leave the origin country, the original carrier will be the service that will look into the delay.

If it transpires the issue has occurred in the destination country, you will need to contact the receiving carrier.

Again, the details of this may be within the shipping details. The origin carrier should also be able to tell you.

Contacting those responsible for the delivery within the destination country will help unveil any delays taking place in the receiving customs and/or carrier facility.

Contact the Shipper

girl frustrated on computer

There is also the option of contacting the shipper.

If your shipment is the result of an order from an eCommerce platform, the seller has a responsibility to assist you in locating your package.

Carriers in the origin country are also more likely to assist when the sender is taking steps too. 

Also, make yourself aware of any buyer protection periods the e-commerce platform may have in place.

If the package never arrives, you will often have recourse here, as long as your cover period has not run out.

Final Words

Essentially, the “Send Receptacle Abroad (OTB)” update is a good one to get.

It means that your package has passed customs in the origin country and has either been loaded onto a departing plane or will be soon.

Normally, your package will be entering the destination country within a few days before making its way to your door.

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