Choosing the right shipping method is crucial. To help decide, check out our breakdown of parcel verse less than container load shipping.

Finding the right shipping for your products can be a confusing process, especially when deciding between parcel shipping and Less Than Container Load Shipping (LTL). While LTL has always been a popular option, parcel shipping is looking more and more attractive lately. Check out our guide on each method to understand when to use LTL vs. parcel shipping.

Parcel Shipping Explained

This type of shipping is used for packages that can be lifted without any help, typically under 150 pounds.

Advantages of Parcel Shipping

Parcel shipping involves more checkpoints and transfers, meaning buyers can track their packages easier. It can also be a more affordable option if you’re shipping fewer packages. Another advantage of this method is the availability of dropoff locations. If you don’t want drivers to pick up at your location, you can take your shipments to specific drop-off locations, which are usually open during regular business hours.


Because carriers are dealing with smaller packages, there’s more of a risk of a package getting lost or damaged. Parcel shipping can also include a number of additional fees. For example, changing an address on a Saturday delivery could cost extra.

LTL Shipping Explained

Less Than Container Load Shipping is a good option for larger, bulkier packages. Uniquely shaped freight can more easily fit in LTL carriers than parcel carriers. This is mainly because LTL shipments are typically palletized and carefully stored to prevent damage. Their size calls for fewer checkpoints and check-ins, which could be both a pro or con. Depending on how much product you’re shipping, you may have to choose this option, since LTL can handle more than parcel shipping. This is also a good option for
businesses who want their product delivered at the same location.

Advantages of Parcel Shipping

This is a good way to ship larger packages. Because there are fewer check-ins – and packages are palletized and safely stored – there’s less of a chance of damaging packages.

Disadvantages of Parcel Shipping

Fewer check-ins makes it harder to track packages. Less Than Container Load Shipping can also be more expensive since larger packages take up more space. This type of shipping sometimes comes with certain additional fees. For example, some
carriers charge for not having a loading dock. Keep in mind that parcel shipping also comes with additional charges.

Choosing the right shipping method

There’s nothing more important than safely getting your product to its destination. For those with smaller packages, parcel shipping might be the way to go. For larger, bulkier packages, consider going with LTL shipping. When in doubt, ShipNorthAmerica is happy to guide you in the right direction. Contact us for a quote.