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Common Shipping Methods

Common Shipping Types & Methods

Shipping is one of the most crucial parts of a business. However, not all businesses require the same shipping methods. Fortunately, multiple different shipping types exist to fit the unique need of every company.

Most business owners focus the majority of their attention on business operations. Although this is essential, companies must first determine which shipping methods are the most cost-wise and efficient for their needs. For instance, some types of shipping are better for small businesses transporting large quantities of small items, while others are more beneficial for highly valued and expensive commodities.

So, what are the different shipping options and methods, and which is best for your business? Let’s review.

Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping is one of the most popular types of shipping. “Expedited” is a relatively broad term for any shipping method faster than standard shipping. However, every carrier has its own definition and types of shipping terms.

For example, DHL in the United States calls their expedited shipping SmartMail Parcel. This service has a two- to five-day delivery window, while the expedited max service delivers packages in two to three days.

Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service (USPS) refers to its expedited shipping services as Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail. Priority Mail has a typical delivery window of one to three days, whereas Priority Express delivers mail in one or two days.

In general, most expedited forms of shipping deliver packages in two to five days. Different carriers also have different types of shipping terms for expedited shipping items. For instance, each carrier charges a unique rate depending on factors like distance, item weight, type of item, etc.

When exploring carrier options, it is essential to review various details, such as the company’s shipping terms, costs, and reliability. For most shipping companies, expedited shipping is ideal for small packages or parcels.

International Shipping

As the term suggests, businesses and individuals use international shipping to send items to another country. Although international shipping provides a way to send products to international clientele, it presents unique challenges.

For example, any packages that cross international borders must go through the receiving country’s customs checkpoint. This requires the sender to fill out the relevant customs forms and declarations, stating what is in the package, its monetary value, and whether it is a gift or merchandise.

In addition, certain countries apply duties, taxes, or tariffs. When shipping to international customers, the customer is typically responsible for paying the additional customs fees. Businesses should always make this clear when selling on a global scale.

Another critical factor to consider regarding international travel is the longer shipping time. More times than not, international packages require multiple transportation vehicles. As a result, packages take longer to reach their final destination, increasing the overall shipping costs. The total cost also depends on the shipping country of origin and destination. Some countries have higher taxes and tariffs than others, so business owners should do thorough research to budget accordingly.

Freight Shipping

Another one of the most common forms of shipping is freight shipping. This shipping method uses freight vehicles to transport large items from one location to another. On average, a freight shipping service transports commodities weighing more than 150 pounds or objects that are larger than 30 cubic inches.

Freight shipping is ideal for growing stores with a significant volume to ship out. Although most people picture trucks, freight shipping utilizes various transportation methods, including planes and ships. Additionally, some freight shipping companies combine different methods to create multimodal freight delivery.

One of the most important things to know about freight shipping is that most companies will not provide upfront estimates for shipping costs. Rather, they give quotes which can fluctuate depending on various factors.

Factors that determine freight shipping costs include the delivery location, package size, transportation method, and delivery weight. The cost also increases if the package requires special handling. For example, businesses with priceless or delicate items pay more to ensure that they safely arrive at their destination.

Businesses that regularly use a shipping company can often negotiate bulk shipping costs or receive special discounts, helping them save money while establishing a valuable B2B relationship.

Other Shipping Type Examples

Although the three shipping types mentioned above are among the most common, other options can serve specialized shipping needs.

Flat-rate shipping allows businesses to ship items of different sizes, weights, and shapes for the same price — so long as they fit in the same package. With flat-rate shipping, companies pay for the box or compartment the item ships in rather than the item itself, so this method can be extremely cost-effective.

Flat-rate shipping especially benefits businesses shipping heavier items that can easily fit in flat-rate boxes. However, business owners should reconsider when shipping lighter items such as small books or clothing.

Generally, shipping companies offer multiple flat-rate box sizes to accommodate different package sizes and weights. Smaller flat-rate boxes cost less than large ones; if the item doesn’t fit in a small box, you will need to go with a medium or large box and pay the correlating flat-rate fee.

Overnight shipping: To deliver a package as quickly as possible, consider overnight shipping. Overnight shipping methods deliver a package the day after it ships, getting commodities and merchandise to customers quicker. Although significantly more convenient, overnighting is also more expensive.


Thanks to modern technology and transportation advancements, businesses have more options than ever for shipping. Whether you need an item to arrive the next day or cross international borders, there is a shipping method to help you do it. However, not everyone knows which shipping methods are best for their business objectives.

Determining the best shipping types for your operation goals requires comparing the benefits, risks, and costs of each service. Encore Deliveries knows the importance of this type of decision and is passionate about helping fellow businesses achieve their goals. With highly trained professionals and state-of-the-art shipping equipment, Encore Deliveries can help Canadian businesses navigate logistics by providing reliable deliveries.