SHIPPING CARRIER: Top Carriers In US & How To Choose One


Choosing the appropriate shipping carrier(s) is critical for maximizing your shipping strategy. The carriers you use are determined by a number of criteria, including what you’re shipping, where you’re shipping to (and from), how much your goods weigh and how large they are, and how much you’re selling your products for. Each carrier has advantages and disadvantages, and it can be tough to determine which one is best for you. We’ve put together this guide on how to choose the best shipping carrier for your needs to help you decide.
We’ll start by looking at what these carriers do and how their position differs from that of shippers. Then we’ll evaluate the main names in international US shipping and provide criteria to assist you in selecting the best shipping carrier for your needs.

What is a Shipping Carrier?

A shipping carrier is a company that delivers items to clients on behalf of another company. The party who owns the goods is referred to as the shipper, while the person to whom the products are sent is referred to as the consignee. Delivery carriers usually referred to as shipping carriers, are legally permitted to transport products from shippers to consignees.
Shipping carriers can deliver goods using a variety of techniques, such as:

  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Cars
  • Railroads
  • Airplanes
  • Ships

Difference Between a Shipping Carrier and a Shipping Courier

A shipping courier is a business that sends packages straight to their destination. There are numerous courier companies, ranging from UPS to FedEx to USPS. Courier services mostly transport small cargo and light products.

A shipping carrier is a corporation that transports packages by air freight, sea freight, trucks, and rail. Carriers are large-scale logistics organizations that deal with massive amounts of freight, typically between enterprises, rather than smaller shipments to consumers.
Most courier firms have worked as both carriers and couriers, delivering large and small products to various parties within their fulfillment network.

What is an International Shipping Carrier?

Carriers who provide global shipping services to transport packages to recipients in other countries are known as international carriers.
International shipping carrier is nearly always more expensive than domestic shipping, but given the vast amount of purchasing power outside of the United States, it will only become more significant as time goes on.

When shipping overseas, you should additionally evaluate if you will use Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) shipping. Some carriers provide DDP services, but others provide DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid), which requires the buyer to pay any duties incurred once the package enters the destination country.
DDP is a common shipping method for enterprises that sell a large number of products overseas since it makes sellers liable for paying any customs or import fees rather than purchasers. However, if too many complications develop, the costs connected with DDP may not be worth it for sellers.

Read Also: SHIPPING INSURANCE: Definition, Coverages, and Benefits

Top International Shipping Carrier

The United States Postal Service, three main carriers – UPS, FedEx, and DHL – and other well-known private shipping companies are among the major carriers operating in the United States.
Let’s take a closer look at these firms and the shipping solutions they provide to assist you to choose the ideal carrier for your needs.

#1. United States Postal Service (USPS)

Our list of traditional carriers begins with the United States Postal Service, an executive branch agency of the United States federal government responsible for delivering postal service throughout the country. They are the only carrier that delivers to every address in the United States, including 160 million home addresses, businesses, and PO Boxes.

While the US Postal Service focuses on domestic shipping, they also provide international shipping carrier services to about 180 countries. Their domestic shipping services include the following:
Priority Mail Express, with a next-day to two-day guarantee by 6 p.m., including weekend and holiday delivery in some big areas for a charge.

  • Shipping with Priority Mail takes one to three business days.
  • First-Class Mail in one to five business days or small parcels in one to three business days
  • For commodities such as books, films, and computer-readable discs, Media Mail takes two to eight business days.
  • For less-than-urgent delivery and big shipments, USPS Retail Ground takes two to eight business days.

For businesses, USPS provides downloadable desktop shipping software.
The capacity of USPS to deliver to mailboxes and P.O. Boxes at the local post office is a distinct advantage while competing carriers frequently must utilize alternate means to drop off parcels. Pickup is complimentary. For purchases with minimal package weight (up to 13 ounces), USPS shipping prices tend to be the lowest among the major shipping carriers, making them a reasonable alternative for deliveries of this size. They can also be a fantastic option if you require Saturday deliveries or Priority Mail shipping speed.

#2. United Parcel Service (UPS)

United Parcel Service is the market leader in shipping services among private carriers. They offer domestic delivery as well as shipping services to over 220 nations and territories.
UPS offers the following domestic shipping options:

  • With a delivery time of one to five business days for typical orders, fast shipping to all 50 states and Puerto Rico is available.
  • Shipping to all 50 states and Puerto Rico by the second business day with guaranteed morning delivery or the third business day for less urgent orders, comparable to USPS Priority Mail service.
  • Fastest shipping with options for next-day or same-day delivery
  • Value-added services such as collect-on delivery, Saturday delivery, on-call collection, stated value, and hazardous materials are available.

UPS also offers international shipping carrier and freight services for packages weighing more than 150 pounds.
It has competitive rates for large items, and its shipping software provides excellent tracking. Because of these qualities, they are frequently a viable alternative for urgent packages.

#3. FedEx

FedEx joins USPS and UPS as the major carriers in the United States. Both domestic and international shipping carrier options are available. Among their most popular services are:

  • Overnight shipping is available.
  • Comparable to USPS Priority Mail, ground shipping takes one to three business days.
  • Freight shipping for commodities weighing more than 150 pounds, including LTL and air shipping
  • Express shipping providers with flat rates for items weighing less than 50 pounds
  • Same-day shipping
  • Shipping to other countries
  • FedEx shipping services offer Saturday delivery. FedEx shipping software allows for precise tracking.

FedEx has long been known for its quick delivery and was one of the first to provide overnight delivery. FedEx, like UPS, is known for its superior tracking, which is aided by its shipping software. They deliver on Saturdays.

#4. DHL

DHL is unique among traditional US carriers in that it was created in the US but was later acquired by the German-based shipping corporation Deutsche Post. While its international headquarters are now in Germany, it has a connection with USPS that allows it to deliver small packages using the USPS network. Its foreign ownership enables it to distribute worldwide to nations where other US carriers may have difficulties, such as Iraq and Cuba. However, due to its German ownership, DHL is prohibited from using domestic flights in the United States and must rely on third-party providers.
DHL shipping services include the following:

  • Express services for items weighing up to 154 pounds are delivered the following business day.
  • Parcel shipping services carry things up to 25 pounds domestically, 66 pounds in Canada, and 44 pounds to the rest of the world in two to eight days, with international shipments taking up to 14 days.
  • For small packages weighing up to 4.4 pounds, international shipping takes four to eight days.

DHL’s delivery time and cost are comparable to other major carriers, and they are excellent shipping carriers for international shipments.

Regional Shipping Carrier

Regional shipping companies differ from some of the major names in that they often give a lower-cost solution. These companies frequently have more regional capacity than national carriers. In some cases, they might provide flexibility or advantages in specific geographic locations, such as speedier delivery.

Hyperlocal Delivery Carriers

Shippers are attempting to differentiate themselves through rapid, easy delivery choices as e-commerce fulfillment and delivery become commoditized. Local delivery services are currently provided by some traditional carriers in some localities. However, both retailers and logistics companies are increasingly turning to crowdsourced delivery fleets to supplement their products with swift local delivery. Crowdsourced delivery services differ from traditional shipping carriers in various ways, the most significant of which is that they are typically used for on-demand delivery rather than scheduled delivery.

When using both crowdsourced delivery fleets and regular shipping carriers, third-party delivery management software that may prioritize dispatching per carrier or fleet based on your business requirements is advised.

Choosing a Shipping Carrier: 10 Important Factors to Consider

Because it is how you physically engage with your clients, shipping is critical to the success of your organization. Customers will lose trust in your brand if shipping is not trustworthy, making it harder to acquire traction.

As a result, it is beneficial to take the time to select the best shipping carriers that will supply you with top shipping solutions and assist you in successfully managing the delivery process so that you may thrill your customers with a streamlined shipping experience.

When choosing a delivery carrier, there are various variables that you should consider. This will not only help you save money on shipping, but it will also help you identify the best shipping alternatives to provide your buyers with perfect delivery times and build your business. You can use our Courier comparison tool to compare different couriers based on various criteria.
The essential variables to consider are discussed in this section.

#1. Cost

High shipping costs can eat away at your revenues and affect the bottom line of your store. As a result, partnering with a carrier that can help you save money on shipping is important. Based on the size and weight of the shipment, shipping costs are determined. The more you spend to have your package delivered, the larger or heavier it is.

Having said that, different carriers provide varying shipping services and charges for the same item weight and destination. The simplest approach to determine and compare shipping rates for various services from various couriers is to utilize a shipping rates calculator, which will allow you to select the best choice that will satisfy the needs of your buyers.

For example, while USPS is by far the cheapest shipping choice when mailing products weighing less than 2 lbs within the US, you may find that using FedEx or UPS is more cost-effective when mailing large and heavy things.

Working with a carrier that offers free shipping supplies might also help you save money on shipping. Boxes, envelopes, and shipping labels are examples of these.

#2. Transit time

When choosing a shipping carrier, delivery time is another key factor to consider. Your customer’s shipping zones will mostly determine this.
For example, if you run a monthly subscription business and ship to your customers on a consistent schedule, you have the luxury of choosing slower shipping options since you can arrange your shipments earlier to arrive at the proper time.

However, if you run an online retail firm and compete with big-name shops such as Amazon and Walmart, you must recognize that speed is vital to online buyers in this sector.
The shipping zone of your customer will affect how long your packages will take to arrive. As a result, distance has a significant role in deciding delivery times.
When choosing economical delivery services, the longer the distance, the longer the delivery time. Longer distances also mean you’ll have to pay more for expedited shipping.

#3. Weekend Shipping

When choosing a delivery carrier, weekend delivery is another factor to consider. If your customers want weekend delivery, make sure you work with a carrier that provides it. Inquire about their weekend delivery surcharges and decide who will pay for them upfront – you or your customer.

#4. Delivery Locations

Where do the carriers deliver? International and domestic shipping are both available. Does the carrier you’re thinking about using deliver to remote locations and do they charge more for it?
If you intend to sell to both domestic and international customers, you must select carriers that offer both domestic and international shipping carrier or collaborate with various carriers to accommodate both domestic and international purchasers.

#5. Product Types

When choosing a shipping carrier, this is another important thing to consider. Different carriers have size and shape constraints, which you should be aware of when contacting different carriers. You may also run into country regulations and policies that make shipping your products to different nations difficult.

Some carriers, for example, will not carry nutritional supplements or perfume to specific nations. For extremely expensive and fragile items, others may not offer shipping. So, consult with several carriers and inquire about their shape, size, products, and national limits. You can discover more about the numerous regulations and taxation duties by visiting our country guide.

#6. Fees

When choosing a shipping carrier, additional expenses should not be overlooked. You must be aware of any fees that may be imposed, such as fuel surcharges, pick-up fees, residential surcharges for remote deliveries, or any handling fees that may be imposed for shipping high-value and fragile items.

#7. Tracking

Package tracking is critical in eCommerce for controlling customers’ delivery expectations. When there are occasional shipping delays, it helps to reduce delivery anxiety. Working with a carrier that provides thorough tracking and/or delivery confirmations will go a long way toward ensuring that your buyers have a pleasant shipping experience.

#8. Insurance

Understand your typical order value as well as the extent to which your carrier’s included insurance protects it. You must also consider how you will pay for any additional insurance that may be required. Easyship can assist you in ensuring the value of your shipment is up to $5000.

#9. Shipping Software

In order to maximize your eCommerce store, you must use the greatest technologies currently accessible. Easyship, for example, may help you optimize and streamline your shipping, saving you time and money. Our connectors enable you to connect with key marketplaces for omnichannel solutions while also making it simple to attach your own courier account for your own negotiated pricing.

#10. Daily prices

Customers expect to see live rates at the checkout and are increasingly requesting this functionality from online retailers. This requires automatically calculating shipping prices based on product characteristics such as weight, size, and location.


The easiest way to select a carrier is to consider the possibilities as shipping solutions rather than shipping firms. Compare the available solutions to your operational and business requirements checklist.

Consider the type of product you’re shipping, your location and destination, the services and speed required, tracking, and shipping costs. Use these criteria, as well as your own unique requirements, to compare shipping options and select the best carrier for your needs.


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