Shipping Carriers Explained + Top 10 You Can Choose From in 2024

Shipping Carriers Explained + Top 10 You Can Choose From in 2024

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Shipping costs can be a real headache for online businesses, where every penny counts and customers crave speedy delivery. It's a common stumbling block where you want to offer great service without the high prices.

But how can you do that? 

Well, knowing which shipping carrier to pick by balancing their cost and efficiency can be a great start.

In this article, we'll discuss what shipping carriers are, how they work, the most reliable ones currently, and how you can choose among them.

We're sure that after you're done reading this guide, you'll be shipping your packages with no further headaches.

Table of Contents

What are Shipping Carriers?

Shipping carriers are the backbone of the global eCommerce ecosystem, enabling businesses to bridge the gap between their products and customers.

They handle the transportation of packages from sellers to buyers using a variety of methods, including air, land, and sea. Shipping Carriers are also vital for eCommerce, providing services like local and international delivery, fast shipping, and package tracking.

How They Work

Here’s a deeper look into what shipping carriers do:

Transportation and Logistics

Shipping carriers manage the logistics of moving goods, taking care of the entire journey from the seller's doorstep or warehouse to the customer's hands. This involves planning the most efficient routes, handling customs for international shipments, and ensuring goods are delivered safely and on time.

Wide Range of Shipping Options

Carriers provide various shipping options to cater to different priorities, such as standard, expedited, and overnight shipping. This flexibility allows businesses to offer their customers choices based on how quickly they need their orders, balancing speed with shipping costs.

Tracking and Security

They offer tracking services that allow both businesses and customers to monitor the progress of shipments in real-time. This visibility adds a layer of security and reassurance, reducing uncertainty and improving the overall customer experience.

Specialized Services

Beyond basic transportation, many carriers also offer specialized services. These can include handling of fragile items, temperature-controlled shipments for perishable goods, and even warehousing and fulfillment services. Such add-ons help businesses customize their shipping strategies to their product needs and customer expectations.

Global Reach

For eCommerce businesses looking to sell internationally, carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS provide extensive global networks that make international shipping feasible and efficient. They navigate the complexities of cross-border logistics, including customs clearance and international regulations, making it easier for businesses to expand their markets.

What are the Top Shipping Carriers for eCommerce Right Now?

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Selecting the top shipping carriers is pivotal for e-commerce businesses, ensuring their products reach customers efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively.

Based on extensive research and industry insights, the following carriers are recognized for their outstanding services and capabilities:

1. FedEx

FedEx stands out for its comprehensive range of shipping and tracking services, catering to both domestic and international markets. Its robust network allows for various shipping options, including overnight, ground, and freight services.

FedEx is particularly appreciated for its reliability and the ability to track up to 20,000 shipments, providing real-time updates and proof of delivery, which enhances customer trust and satisfaction.


  • Wide Range of Services: FedEx offers an extensive array of shipping services, including overnight, international, freight, and same-day shipping, catering to diverse shipping needs.
  • Reliable Tracking: Offers robust tracking capabilities, allowing businesses and customers to track shipments in real-time, enhancing transparency and trust.
  • International Reach: With a strong global network, FedEx ships to more than 220 countries, making it an excellent choice for international shipping needs.


  • Cost: FedEx's comprehensive services and international reach can come at a higher cost, especially for smaller businesses or less frequent shippers.
  • Complexity for Smaller Shipments: While excellent for large or urgent shipments, smaller eCommerce businesses might find FedEx's options more than they need for basic shipping requirements.

2. United States Postal Service (USPS)

USPS offers an unbeatable combination of nationwide reach and cost-effectiveness, making it a favorite among businesses of all sizes. With services like Global Express Guaranteed and Priority Mail Express, USPS provides both economical and expedited shipping options.

Its unique capability to deliver to every U.S. address, including P.O. boxes and military addresses, coupled with its comprehensive tracking system, makes USPS a versatile and reliable choice for e-commerce shipping.


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Known for its affordability, especially for small packages, making it an attractive option for small to medium-sized eCommerce businesses.
  • Universal Delivery: USPS delivers to every U.S. address, including P.O. boxes and military addresses, ensuring comprehensive domestic coverage.
  • Variety of Shipping Options: Offers a range of shipping options, from economical ground shipping to expedited services like Priority Mail Express.


  • Limitations for Larger Shipments: USPS has size and weight restrictions that may not suit businesses frequently shipping larger or bulkier items.
  • Variable Delivery Times: While USPS offers expedited services, standard delivery times can be less predictable compared to private carriers.

3. UPS (United Parcel Service)

UPS's global presence and wide array of services, from same-day delivery to international shipping, make it a heavyweight in the logistics sector.

Its integration with major e-commerce platforms and the UPS Access Point network offers flexible delivery options. UPS's commitment to reliability, coupled with advanced tracking and weekend delivery options, supports businesses in providing excellent customer service.


  • Extensive Logistics Services: UPS provides a wide array of logistics and shipping services, from standard package delivery to freight and international shipping.
  • Reliable and Timely Deliveries: Known for its reliability and on-time delivery performance, UPS offers guaranteed delivery times for many of its services.
  • Advanced Tracking and Technology: Offers sophisticated tracking solutions and technology integrations, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.


  • Cost: Similar to FedEx, UPS's broad range of services and reliability can come at a premium, which might be higher than some eCommerce businesses are willing to pay.
  • Less Competitive for Very Small Shipments: For very small, lightweight packages, USPS might offer more cost-effective options compared to UPS.

4. DHL

DHL excels in international shipping, offering tailor-made logistics solutions that include warehousing, transportation management, and customs clearance.

Its global network ensures timely deliveries across more than 220 countries, making it an ideal partner for e-commerce businesses with a worldwide customer base. DHL's focus on innovation and sustainability further enhances its appeal to businesses looking for efficient and responsible shipping solutions.


  • Global Leader in International Shipping: DHL offers unparalleled international shipping services, covering over 220 countries and territories. This makes it an ideal carrier for eCommerce businesses with a global customer base.
  • Customized Logistics Solutions: Beyond standard shipping, DHL provides tailored services such as warehousing, supply chain management, and customs brokerage, offering a comprehensive logistics solution.
  • Sustainability Commitment: DHL's GoGreen solutions appeal to environmentally conscious businesses and consumers, aiming to reduce emissions and implement sustainable logistics practices.


  • Cost: While DHL provides exceptional international shipping services, these can come at a higher cost compared to domestic-focused carriers, which might be a consideration for smaller eCommerce operations.
  • Complexity for Domestic Shipping: In some regions, particularly where DHL might not have as extensive a domestic network compared to its international logistics, businesses may find it less convenient for local shipments.

Additional Noteworthy Carriers

5. DB Schenker

Renowned for its global logistics expertise, offering comprehensive services that include warehousing and distribution, making it a strong ally for e-commerce brands aiming for international expansion.

6. Royal Mail

Offers reliable and competitively priced shipping services within the UK and beyond, supported by a vast network of sorting offices and postal partners worldwide.

7. Blue Dart

As part of the DHL group, Blue Dart provides exceptional service in over 220 countries, specializing in air express, freight forwarding, and customs clearance, with a strong emphasis on real-time tracking and temperature-controlled deliveries.


With a substantial global presence, DTDC excels in offering diversified services such as last-mile delivery, ecommerce fulfillment, and inventory management, making it a versatile choice for e-commerce businesses.

9. Canada Post

It stands out for its tailored shipping solutions catering to small, e-commerce, and enterprise-level businesses, with a strong focus on integrating with online stores and managing the end-to-end logistics chain effectively.

10. Australia Post

Provides extensive packaging options, return management, and multiple delivery and pickup points, along with integration capabilities for e-commerce sites, offering a comprehensive solution for Australian businesses.

These carriers have been selected based on their service diversity, global reach, technological integration, customer service excellence, and their ability to meet the dynamic needs of the e-commerce industry. Each carrier brings unique advantages to the table, allowing businesses to choose the best fit based on their specific shipping requirements, budget constraints, and customer expectations.

How to Choose the Right Shipping Carrier

an ecommerce owner that's happy

Selecting the right shipping carrier is crucial for the success of your eCommerce business. Here are the top five factors to consider, simplified for clarity:

Geographic Coverage and Shipping Zones

Choose a carrier based on where your customers are located. If your market is local, a regional carrier might offer the best rates and fastest delivery times. For international sales, opt for carriers with a robust global network.

Understanding shipping zones is also vital; carriers use these to determine shipping costs based on the distance a package travels. The further the zone, the higher the cost.

Reputation and Reliability

A carrier's reputation for reliability can greatly influence customer trust in your brand. Opt for carriers known for timely deliveries and good handling of packages. A carrier's track record can reassure your customers that their orders will arrive safely and when expected.

Technology Integration

Efficiency in managing orders and inventory is paramount. Carriers that offer advanced technological solutions, such as seamless integration with your eCommerce platform and real-time tracking, can significantly streamline your shipping process.

This ensures you and your customers stay informed about the journey of each order.

Cost vs. Service Quality

Balancing cost and quality of service is a key consideration. While lower shipping rates can reduce overheads and appeal to price-sensitive customers, the quality of service—encompassing delivery speeds, package handling, and customer service—should not be compromised.

Evaluate the overall value each carrier brings, considering both their rates and the reliability of their service.

Speed and Shipping Options

Finally, consider how quickly your customers expect to receive their orders. The availability of different shipping options, including standard, expedited, and same-day delivery, allows you to cater to various customer needs and expectations.

Some products might require faster shipping than others, so having a range of options at your disposal can enhance customer satisfaction.


If you want to streamline your shipping process, consider visiting our Shipping Integrations page.

Packiyo serves as your shipping nerve center, seamlessly connecting with top carriers like Asendia for international reach, Australia Post for coverage down under, and the global logistics leader DHL.

By integrating with Packiyo, you gain access to a diverse network of shipping options, ensuring your products are delivered efficiently whether they're crossing borders or being shipped locally.

Check out our blog if you’re looking to learn more about topics like 'What is Pick to Light?', 'Warehouse Optimization Explained'. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about shipping carriers.

So in conclusion, by carefully weighing these factors, you can choose a shipping carrier that best aligns with your business needs and customer expectations, ultimately contributing to the success and growth of your eCommerce store.

We hope that we've helped you with your query and we're looking forward to seeing you in our next article!


What are the different types of shipping carriers Shipping carriers can be broadly categorized into national carriers, which handle domestic shipments across a country; international carriers, which specialize in shipping goods across borders; regional carriers, which operate within specific areas or states; and specialized carriers, which focus on specific types of cargo like perishables or hazardous materials.

What’s the difference between international and regional shipping carriers? International shipping carriers provide services across countries and continents, handling customs and international logistics, whereas regional shipping carriers focus on delivering goods within a specific region or area, often offering more localized and sometimes cost-effective services.

How does a shipping carrier differ to a shipping courier? A shipping carrier typically offers a wide range of shipping services over various distances and may handle large volumes of freight, including international shipments. In contrast, a shipping courier usually focuses on fast delivery services, such as same-day or next-day delivery, for smaller packages and documents, often within a more localized or regional area.

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