Shipping Carrier

A carrier is a company, firm, or individual who is legally permitted to transport goods by air, water, and land. Typically, the carrier collaborates with shippers to transport goods from one location to another. Airlines, shipping lines, trucking companies, parcel/express companies, and railroads are all examples of carriers.

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What is a carrier in shipping terms?

A shipping carrier is a company that transports your packages from Point A (the shipper) to Point B (your customers). USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and others are the primary shipping providers that cover the United States and foreign territories.

Key Takeaways

    • There are four types of shipping carriers: common, private, contract, and exempt.
    • Consider location, cost, reputation, warehousing capabilities, and more when selecting a carrier to partner with. 

How many types of carriers are there?

There are 4 types of shipping carriers: common carriers, private carriers, contract carriers, and lastly, exempt carriers.

Common Carrier: A common carrier is a person or company that transports goods or passengers on regular routes at set rates.

Private Carrier: A private carrier is a person or company that uses its own fleet to deliver goods between locations and customers.

Contract Carrier: A contract carrier is a person or company providing transportation for compensation under continuing agreements with one person/company or a limited number of persons/companies.

Exempt Carrier:  An exempt carrier is a company that specializes in taxi services or transporting exempted commodities.

these carrier trucks lining up are managed by supply chain management systems

How do I choose a shipping carrier?

Choosing a shipping carrier is always situational, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Ultimately, the carrier you select will be determined by your company’s specific demands and desires. There are numerous shipping providers to select from, each with their unique set of services.

When it comes to selecting one, it is critical to consider the services that will meet your demands and those of your consumers. Whether you choose one of the three big carriers (e.g., USPS, UPS, and FedEx) or a regional carrier, we’ve included some of the most critical considerations below.

  • Location: Location is not limited to real estate. When it comes to working with the correct carrier, you must first choose where you will be sending to. Do you ship locally, internationally, or both? Different carriers provide different services, benefits, and costs depending on how you respond. Where you send packages is also determined by the type of service you should use. If you’re mailing products locally, you might be able to save money by using ground shipping. Ground shipment costs less than fast air shipping. Though delivery can take longer at times, if you’re only sending your things a few states away, ground shipping can be both quick and inexpensive. On the other hand, if you send most of your products overseas, it may make sense to work with an international shipping carrier that specializes in international delivery and offers lower prices for international shipments.
  • Reputation: Whether you believe it or not, it is critical that the carrier you select has a solid reputation that will instill faith in your consumers. For example, the US Postal Service is frequently ranked as America’s most trusted federal organization, and that degree of confidence is crucial in delivery management. Your packages are more likely to arrive in good shape and to the correct place if you ship using a regular delivery provider.
  • Latest Technologies: In addition to assessing a carrier’s reputation, it’s critical that you select one that uses cutting-edge supply chain technology that keeps you up to speed on all your orders while also smoothly integrating with your present tech stack. Carriers accomplish this by providing open shipping APIs, which enable third parties to print labels and manage your inventory while you fulfill customer orders.
  • Distributed Warehouse: If you’re shipping products all around the country, you may want to consider a shipping carrier that can pick up products from distributed warehouses for faster delivery to your customers.
  • Cost: When businesses choose a carrier, cost is frequently the most important aspect. If you’re selling low-value items with minimal margins, keeping shipping costs as low as possible might genuinely be the difference between a successful and failing business. However, if you’re selling high-ticket items that require fast delivery and extensive insurance coverage, the cost of shipping may not be as important. Instead, you could pay for premium shipping and signature confirmation.
  • Guaranteed Delivery: Another factor to consider is if a shipping company offers guaranteed arrival, especially if you’re sending high-value items that won’t be easily replaced if something goes wrong during the shipping process. Most carriers do not guarantee delivery dates for basic packages, instead providing “estimated” arrival timeframes. Remember that the expected shipment date, as well as all other dates involved in the process, are subject to change. If this occurs, a carrier’s real-time tracking service will send updates reflecting the revised projected delivery date. Some services, particularly the fastest ones provided by each major airline, will have delivery guarantees, albeit at a much higher cost. These are frequently the most expensive services.

Ready to digitize and modernize your shipping operations?

See how Magaya can help.