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LTL or Parcel Shipping?

August 24, 2022
5 min read
Less Than Truckload
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Changes in the fee structure of LTL freight shipping, such as cubic minimum capacity (or CMC), have many wondering whether they should be shipping parcel or LTL.

In the past, choosing between the two was as simple as calculating shipment weight. 150 pounds and up shipped LTL, and anything less than 150 pounds was shipped via parcel. But times are changing, and package density is now being used as the benchmark, so it may be time to ask yourself once more, should you ship parcel or LTL?

Pros & Cons of Parcel Shipping

Parcel shipping is convenient and easy to track. It’s also particularly efficient if you already have a hub and spoke shipping model with a hub in the general region of your end destination.

There are a couple of ways you can determine whether a shipment is parcel worthy:

  • Measures less than 108 inches in length, or if the length is 108 inches, has a girth measurement less than or equal to 67 inches.
  • It follows the previous criteria and weighs less than 150 pounds.

If parcel shipping seems to be a good option for a particular product or shipment type, consider whether or not you’ll have the number of shipments to justify the use of a customized carrier parcel agreement.

On the plus side, because parcel shipping is a more common shipping service, many carriers have invested in quality technology to make quoting, shipping, tracking, and even redirection a simplified task. Unlike LTL shipments, which are grouped and transported on pallets, parcel shipments are going out one at a time, increasing the risk for loss and damage.

Pros & Cons of LTL Shipping

Designed with commercial applications in mind, LTL shipping, and large packages or shipments are a perfect match. Unusual package sizes, large and lightweight packages, and high-volume shipping operations often enjoy the many advantages of LTL shipping.

Thankfully, there are many benefits of using LTL shipping and very little in the way of drawbacks. In terms of the pros, LTL shipping makes it easy to get large, heavy, or oddly shaped items such as furniture and manufactured goods from Point A to Point B without damage or loss.

One of the drawbacks of LTL, though, is the lack of transparency when it comes to tracking and managing shipments. LTL hasn’t matured nearly as fast as parcel in that regard. It’s why 3PL companies like Amware have developed custom software platforms. Amware’s TMS software for LTL is called Amrate and can track and trace LTL shipments and pull rates from hundreds of competing carriers. Additionally, Amrate can be used in the cloud or integrated into existing warehouse, inventory, and ERP systems.

Should you Ship Parcel or LTL?

Using the simple criteria outlined above, choosing between parcel and LTL shipping should be pretty straightforward. Small packages, as well as very heavy but small packages, can be shipped using parcel. LTL shipping services, however, are an excellent option for high quantity distribution and packages oddly shaped or exceptionally large.

Still not sure whether to use parcel or LTL shipping? Contact the team at Amware. We’ll help you weigh your options and find the right shipping solution for your commercial needs. Get in touch now, or request a FREE 30-day trial of Amrate below.

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