When it comes to delivering products quickly and efficiently, business owners have a variety of shipping services from which to choose. Small parcel shipping and freight shipping options offer different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the size, weight, and shipping distance of the package. Understanding the various aspects of each shipping method will help determine the best choice for a particular shipment.
Small Parcel and Freight Shipping
Small parcel shipping is often the most affordable choice for packages that meet the following requirements:
- A weight of less than 150 pounds (70kg)
- Dimensions less than 165 inches in length and circumference
- A length up to 108 inches and circumference less than 67 inches
Parcels with a high size-to-weight ratio may have to use dimensional weight calculations. The formula for dimensional weight is length x width x height/166. Using this formula to determine package density can be a deciding factor when choosing between small package and freight shipping.
Carriers such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service offer options for small package shipping. However, if a shipment needs to arrive on the same day, a courier service will be necessary to ensure the package is on time. USPS also offers express shipping services.
Pros and Cons of Small Parcel Shipping
One disadvantage of parcel shipping is the risk of damages, delays, and missing packages. Small packages typically go through several distribution stages and facilities, with each link in the supply chain, increasing the risk of a lost or damaged parcel.
The main advantage of parcel shipping is due to the number of different checkpoints that allow customers to track their parcel easily. However, the more checkpoints the parcel needs to travel through, the more excess fees could apply.
Shipments that meet the size and weight requirements for small parcels are generally more affordable and have price advantages over less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping methods. Small parcels are delivered in high volume, often making them more affordable.
Before choosing small parcel shipping, it's essential to check for additional fees some carriers may charge. For example, weekend deliveries, rural shipments, and address changes could cost extra.
Packages exceeding the size and weight restrictions of small parcels are typically sent through a freight shipping service. Freight shipping includes less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), rail, and vessel transportation methods.
LTL shipments are usually transported in a shared cargo trailer. These trailers are typically 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high. LTL shipments are larger than parcels, but take up less room than a truckload, typically between 151 and 15,000 pounds. There are thousands of LTL freight shipping services to choose from, offering competitive rates.
Full truckloads offer an affordable way to send shipments over 15,000 pounds. For objects that are bulky or oddly shaped, full truckloads can offer more protection. A partial truckload allows different shippers to split the cost of a truckload to result in additional savings. Partial truckloads are an excellent option for shipments of 5,000 pounds or about six pallets.
Pros and Cons of Freight Shipping
Freight shipping offers the best value when delivering oversize, bulky, and heavy packages. Although shipments go through fewer location checkpoints than parcels, palletized shipments typically face less risk of loss or damage. Packages can be sent by land, ocean, or air freight, depending on the customer's needs. Many LTL shipping services are now offering web-based tracking and detailed shipping reports.
To avoid delays for international shipments, retailers must supply the proper documentation. The commercial invoice, packing list, and a Bill of Lading (BOL) are necessary for the timely delivery of overseas packages. Ocean and air freight customs usually require a BOL. The BOL serves as a receipt of goods shipped, a document of title, and contractual evidence.
When shipping objects with unusual forms, such as furniture, freight shipping is a better choice to get items to their destinations safely. Freight packages are typically loaded using pallets and forklifts, avoiding damage often caused by the conveyor belts used by parcel shipping companies.
Protect Packages with Shipping Insurance
Some packages may automatically be covered against loss or damage. For example, domestic UPS and FedEx packages are protected with declared value coverage up to $100. The declared value is the maximum liability a shipping company must pay on a particular package. However, items such as coins, cash, valuable stones, and other specific items are not covered. Remember to check coverage restrictions, including international limitations.
To avoid complications involving lost and damaged shipments, find shipping insurance as a way to insure regular shipments. Third-party shipping insurance is often much more affordable than coverage offered by the shipping provider.
Additionally, packages can be insured for larger amounts. General protection from shipping companies can limit coverage of some valuable items to $1,000. Third parties like Cabrella Shipping Insurance can insure up to $150,000 of protection for a single package. If you choose the right parcel insurance you'll have ease of use, personalized customer service, and a wide range of payment options available.
The quality of customer service can be a deciding factor in choosing the best parcel or freight shipping carrier. Check for rate quotes, additional fees, transit times, and a list of guaranteed services when searching for freight shipping companies.
A majority of parcel and freight shipping providers are offering an increasingly growing spectrum of logistical services. Customers can now ship packages from different locations with simultaneous delivery.
As a rule of thumb, the shipment's, size, weight, bulkiness, and characteristics will determine which shipping option is most affordable. While many shipping companies offer a form of coverage for a shipment, third-party shipping insurance is ideal for companies that need to ship regularly with guaranteed delivery.
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