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Small Parcel Shipping Versus Freight Shipping – How Do You Decide?

May 31, 2017

Selecting between small parcel shipping and freight shipping may seem like a complicated decision. So many factors to consider with ever-changing rules. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Let’s take a look at some information about both to simplify the process. 

Small Parcel vs Freight Shipping.jpgThe Basics 

Typically parcels weighing less than 70 lbs. are shipped via carriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, or the US Postal Service. They may be contained by either your packaging or that provided by the carrier. 

Individual packages weighing more than 150 lbs., having a length greater than 108 inches, and/or a total combined length plus girth of 165 inches or more, often travel via freight services.  Freight shipments generally consist of one or more packages stacked and secured on a wood or plastic pallet for easy loading, stability and protection during transit.

That being said, it isn’t that clear cut. Each package or group of packages between 70 and 150 lbs., and sometimes above 150 lbs., needs to be evaluated based on other factors as well when determining shipping type.

Factors to Consider 

Some of the factors to consider when selecting a method of shipment are:

Package density: Also known as Dimensional Weight (or DIM weight), the size to weight ratio can make a significant difference in the cost of shipping via parcel or freight. 

Location: The location where the shipment is originating, as well as its destination, may make a difference in shipping costs as well. When traveling within a given region, versus traveling to another, also influences method selection. 

Characteristics of the shipment:  Is your package an odd shape? Can other packages be stacked on top of it? Is it very fragile and possibly more prone to damage? These are just some of the questions to consider that may make a significant difference in the cost of the shipping, the method to be selected and the way that you will package the goods to be shipped. 

Delivery urgency: Obviously, if you need something to arrive the same day or the next day, this will definitely narrow your options of which way your shipment will travel to meet the desired delivery date. If you have more flexibility, your options are greater and the other characteristics become more critical in your shipping method selection. 

Regardless of which method you end up using, be sure to check with your logistics partner to ensure you’re receiving the best rates. Make sure that you are aware of any special packaging, labeling or routing requirements to increase the odds that your shipment will arrive safely to its destination.

Still not sure whether you should send your shipment via small parcel, or freight shipping? Contact American Group, at 866-553-6608 or, for assistance. We have years of experience helping businesses manage their shipping processes, in order to achieve: Shipping.Simplified.