Carrier or courier: Shipping 101 – knowing the terms
By Malvin Jeffery – PL Light Systems Staff
When items need to be shipped from point A to B there are a few options. It all depends on what your requirements are, such as what the items are, the timescale, size of goods and a few other factors. So how do you know which one is right for you? Carrier or Courier?
When looking up the definitions it can get confusing. A Carrier, by definition, is a person or object that carries someone or something else and a Courier, by definition, is a company that transports goods. Clear as mud, right? In modern shipping terms we define these two as follows:
Entails utilizing a specialized truck service that ship large orders of product, which usually are on skids or pallets. You will need either a loading dock and a hand pallet jack or a fork lift to unload the truck.
Ftl (Full Truck Load)
Is considered a full truck load of product this is normally 21 to 26 pallets. Transit time is quicker than LTL as the load doesn’t need to be off loaded at other depots before hitting your location. It is usually costlier unless you are shipping high volume on a regular basis.
Ltl (Less than a Truck Load)
Is less then a truckload. This can be anything from 1 pallet to 20 or even 24 depending on location and price points. Service is a day or two slower as the product stops at more cross dock depots across the country. It is actually the most efficient and cost-effective way to transport shipments regionally or cross country, because you are effectively sharing the cost of the truck’s cargo bay with other clients who have similar destinations and only paying for the space you take up.
Courier services are usually used for delivering smaller shipments, 1 to 15 boxes depending on weight, volume and location. It is usually a door to door method of delivery that utilizes a professional specialized mailing company. The main advantages to this type of service is that they are extremely fast and efficient. The main disadvantages to courier service is cost and size limits (usually meant for packages that are 150 lbs or less), most courier services have limits on the size of packages and prices do increase dramatically the larger a particular parcel is.
Express or overnight
This would be most expensive but your package will arrive next day guaranteed despite an act of nature.
Is just as it sounds, 2-day service, still fast with a price break.
Ground or standard
This is your cheapest method of courier but the transit time will take much longer— up to 8 or 9 days across North America.
So, carrier or courier for your PL Light product?
All options are great, we use only reputable companies to service our customers. PL Light will always try to find the best method to ship your orders, big or small. We look for the most cost-effective methods paired with efficient transit times to meet your needs.