Have you ever visited a foreign country? If you did you probably learned some key things you needed to know, such as "Where is the bathroom?" or "Good morning, good day, good night."
How much is the currency worth compared to the dollar? Where am I going and where is it on the map? If you are new to small package shipping and shipment invoicing you need to know some similar things. In this tip we will discuss a few of the basics that you need to know in order to be conversant in the world of small package and freight shipping.

Small package: Shipments under 70 lbs per carton and shipped in cartons, rather than on a pallet, are often moved via small package shipping with express carriers such as UPS, FedEx or regional courier services or DHL for international exports.

Cartons exceeding the following criteria are best shipped via freight services rather than small package services:
-- Individual packages can be up to 150 lbs (70 kg).
-- Each package can be up to 165 inches (419 cm) in length and girth (2x width+height) combined.
-- Packages can be up to 108 inches (270 cm) in length.
-- Packages with a large size-to-weight ratio require dimensional weight calculations (Multiply length x width x height/166=dimensional weight in pounds for US shipments.)

For more details, here is some information on the size and weight limits for standard small package shipping. http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/weight_size.html

The US Postal Service is working closely with small package carriers to deliver small packages via "FedEx Smart Post," "UPS SurePost," or "UPS Mail Innovations". You can also work directly with the US Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail services. See the following for a number of USPS shipping options: https://www.usps.com/ship/ship-a-package.htm. Not all "small packages" are necessarily shipped using a small package carrier. We have one client that needs this type of shipment delivered the same day, so they have a courier service deliver them to an airline for same day delivery

Freight: Freight shipments are generally over the size and weight limits listed above. In addition, they are often strapped on a wood or plastic on a pallet for better stability and protection of the cargo whether it moves via ground or air. There are hundreds of freight carriers offering truck and air freight services. Some key terminology in this area is LTL, FTL, Freight Forwarding and Truck Brokerage.

An LTL shipment is a shipment that moves as less than trailer load. The trailer is usually a forty foot truck with external dimensions of eight by eight by forty feet. A shipment greater than 525 cubic feet is generally moved less expensively via FTL (full trailer load) than via LTL. Rail services also provide service providers in FTL freight. For more info on rail services, see a website such as the following: http://www.freightcenter.com/landing/freight_rail/landing/v3.aspx?gclid=CM7avqiU_bcCFWQ6QgodCVcAvw

A freight forwarder is a company that moves shipments by consolidating a number of shipments and buying space from a carrier. Typically a freight forwarder works with domestic or international air freight. A truck broker works exclusively with North American shipping via LTL or FTL trucks specializing in getting you the best carrier for the lanes in which you are shipping.

Tom Stanton MA, LCB
International Freight Analyst
PH 503.246.3521
FX 503.246.9244