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Let’s Talk About Shipping


Ah, shipping. A word very few like to hear. Shipping costs can vary greatly, items can get lost, and/or they can be damaged…so using the correct shipping method matters!

We recently received a shipment of wood look tile, shipped via small ground shipping. Upon opening the box, this is what we found:

That’s not what you want!

We generally ship freight, but this package was shipped ground. What’s the difference, you ask? Let’s take a look at the exciting world of shipping!


Small Parcel/Small Package Shipping: 

Small parcel shipments are under 70 lbs per and shipped in your own packaging or carrier supplied boxes.  These shipments are not sent on pallets and often move through a small package shipping system with carriers such as UPS, FedEx, Courier Service, or DHL for international. (“What is the Difference”, 2017)

This is great for a lot of things, but not always the best method depending on what you’re shipping. (Hint: See the above photos of the broken tile.)

Small parcel shipments have a higher risk than LTL (Less-than-truckload) shipments as they can be lost, damaged, or delayed more easily.

Just think about the journey your small parcel shipment embarks upon. The packages are loaded onto pallets, sent to a localized facilities and distributed further into smaller and smaller trucks, finally landing in a single-driver delivery van, if not rerouted to USPS to decrease costs even more. (“Freight vs. Small Parcel Shipping”, 2017)


Freight Shipping:

Packaging exceeding the following criteria are best shipped via freight service rather than small parcel.

o  Packages can be up to 108 inches (270 cm) in length
o  Individual packages can be up to 150lbs (70kg)
o  Each package can be up to 165 inches (419 cm) in length and girth (2x width & height) combined
o  Dimensional weight calculations are required with a large size-to-weight ratio (multiply length x width x height/166= dim weight in pounds for US shipments)

Freight shipping involves multiple modes of transportation including LTL (less-than-truckload), FTL (full truckload), Ocean, and Intermodal (Rail).  These shipments are generally over the size and weight limits listed above and are stacked and secured on a wood or plastic pallet for easy loading, stability, and protection of the cargo.  These shipments can move via ground, air, ocean, rail, or any combination of these.  There are thousands of freight carriers offering these services.

LTL shipments are sent along with other cargo providing a reduced cost for transport in a trailer that is normally 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet tall.  A shipment greater than 525 cubic feet is generally moved less expensively via FTL.  Rail services are also providers of FTL freight. (“What is the Difference”, 2017)

The shipment of broken tile is a great example of why you wouldn’t want your tile shipped cheaply via FedEx or UPS ground (like Amazon). Freight means that tile is going to be shipped strapped to a pallet and only handled with a forklift. This will also impact how it’s delivered, so if your job site is in a 2nd story condo, for example, we’ll be happy to work with you on how to best deliver your products.

What is the difference? Small Parcel vs. Freight Shipping. (2017, October 11). Retrieved from http://shipwatchers.kayako.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/35/5/what-is-the-difference–small-parcel-vs-freight-shipping
Freight vs. Small Parcel Shipping, Explained. (2017, March 2). Retrieved from https://blog.taxjar.com/freight-small-parcel-shipping/
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