Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. We recently started working with a new regional shipping carrier: PCF Final Mile. They serve the northeastern US with extremely fast shipping. Today, to understand why that’s important and to follow up on last week’s post, today we will answer the following: “how do regional shipping carriers work?” 

What do regional shipping carriers do?

For the most part, when you ship an order for your business, it’s carried to the customer by one of a handful of companies. You know the ones: UPS, FedEx, USPS, and maybe DHL. Some of our customers even use Asendia for international shipping.

These are all major parcel carriers. They’re really useful because they can send packages to a huge range of people all over the world. However, they’re not your only options. There are lots of regional carriers that handle shipping for one specific region.

Here are a few regional carriers whose names you might be vaguely familiar with:

  • OnTrac covers California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state.
  • Spee-Dee covers the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
  • LSO covers Texas.
  • PittOhio covers Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennyslvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.

When does it make sense to use a regional shipping carrier?

Regional shipping carriers are often overlooked because of their relative lack of coverage. However, there are a number of reasons why you would want to use a regional shipping carrier.

First, they tend to be cheaper. It’s easier to serve a small area, so that leads to less overhead. Some don’t even factor in size or weight when setting a shipping rate.

Next, regional shipping carriers tend to be very fast. Because next-day fulfillment is becoming much more common, this is a really big benefit to using regional shipping carriers.

Lastly, regional carriers may perform better during the holidays and other peak times. This could be especially important right now in the middle of a pandemic with unprecedented eCommerce growth.

Why not using regional shipping carriers?

Of course, it doesn’t always make sense to use regional shipping carriers. For one, because the big carriers like UPS and FedEx cover more destinations, you’d end up juggling more shipping vendors. This can be a hassle if you’re shipping relatively few orders on your own.

Another issue you may run into is that using regional shipping carriers may push you under the threshold for volume discounts with big carriers like UPS or FedEx. This could quickly neutralize the cost savings you get by using regional carriers in the first place.

Fortunately, neither of these issues apply if you’ve outsourced fulfillment. Your fulfillment center can juggle multiple carriers and maintain cost discounts far easier than most other businesses could.

Final Thoughts

Regional shipping carriers can be used to deliver items quickly and cheaply. Regional carriers may have limited service areas, but what they do, they do well!

Need help shipping orders?

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