How to Ship Oversized Items Quickly and Affordably

Shipping oversized items can be a real challenge for businesses. While major carriers such as UPS, FedEx and DHL do ship products that exceed their size and weight limits, this solution can often prove to be prohibitively expensive.

How large does an item have to be for the major carriers to consider it “oversized”? What other shipping options are available? Find out how to ship oversized items quickly and affordably in this article from the freight logistics experts at Creopack!

What is considered an oversized item?

There are two main types of shipments: parcels and freight. Parcels are letters and any package of an average size and shape that can be easily shipped via normal channels. Any package that exceeds a carrier’s weight and size limit is considered freight. Freight is more complicated to ship and will usually incur significant additional fees.

While most of the major carriers ship both parcels and freight, they each have their own specific criteria for what constitutes an oversized package:


Carrier Length and Girth Weight
UPS Over 165” combined Over 150 lbs
FedEx Over 130” combined Over 90 lbs
DHL Over 47” x 31” x 31” Over 155 lbs
Canada Post Over 118” combined Over 66 lbs


It’s important to note that these limits include industrial packaging, so it’s best to use lightweight options that are tailored to fit your items.

How the price of shipping oversized items is calculated

There are multiple criteria that affect the cost of shipping oversized items. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the considerations that go into price calculations so that you can choose the right shipper for your needs.

Freight class

There are 18 different freight classes, which were established in order to standardize freight pricing across the industry. Items are assessed based on their weight, length, height, density, ease of handling, value and liability and assigned a class accordingly. Aircraft parts, for example, are considered Class 200, one of the higher (and more expensive) freight classes. It’s important to get your freight class right, because otherwise, carriers may change it and you may incur fees you weren’t expecting.

Note that freight class is an American standard that is only required if your freight is moving through the United States.

Dimensional weight

Dimensional weight, also known as volumetric weight, is a method of setting shipping prices based on the amount of space an item occupies in relation to its weight. Pricing used to be calculated by weight alone, but carriers found that they were losing money on light items that took up a significant amount of space. The dimensional weight pricing technique was established in response to that problem. Now, carriers generally set their price based on either dimensional weight or actual weight, whichever is higher.


Destination plays a major role in the price of any shipment. Of course, the further it needs to go, the more expensive it will usually be, but distance is not the only consideration when it comes to destination. There may be extra costs for any shipment that needs to be delivered to what is considered a “limited access location”. These include airports, prisons, government facilities, hospitals and schools.

Options for shipping oversized items

There are several ways to ship your oversized items. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to pack your items in wooden crates or other sturdy packaging with protective materials to ensure that your products don’t get damaged in transit.

Use a major carrier and pay the additional fees

While the major carriers are certainly able to ship items that are over their size and weight limits, the cost can be high. In addition to the oversized item fees themselves, you may be charged for additional handling and every shipping zone the package goes through—there are even extra fees for shipping oversized items during the holiday season! These expenses add up fast.

Furthermore, major carriers tend to be bound to standard shipping systems that are less flexible in the event of unforeseen circumstances, meaning that your oversized package may experience delays.

Disassemble or divide your items into multiple smaller shipments

Depending on the carrier you use and the size and weight of your package, oversized shipping can be very expensive. If possible, you may want to consider disassembling or dividing your items into multiple shipments that can be sent via regular shipping. Of course, that means you’ll need to pay separate shipping fees for each package, but it may still prove less expensive than paying the fees for oversized items. It’s best to determine the costs in advance so that you can pick the right method for your needs.

Go through a 3PL

Going through a third-party logistics service provider (3PL) is a great way to ensure that your oversized items are shipped safely, efficiently and at a good price. Freight logistics services can take care of your shipments from packing all the way to delivery and come up with logistics solutions that are tailored to fit your needs. There are 3PLs that specialize in heavy, bulky and oddly-shaped items for sectors such as the aerospace industry and have all of the expertise necessary to deftly manage oversized shipping.

Ship your oversized items with Creopack!

Creopack offers crating services for a wide range of industries. We carefully assess the needs of each item and create optimal packaging designs for protection and regulatory compliance. We have the capacity and expertise to handle your shipping needs from start to finish, regardless of product size or quantity.

Contact us today for unparalleled oversized shipping solutions!