Freight Guide


This article includes: 

Shipping with DCL Logistics

This DCL Freight Guide provides you with an overview to shipping with DCL Logistics.

The following documentation assumes that your products have already been properly packaged, labeled, warehoused at DCL, and are fully ready to ship. Please refer to the DCL Logistics Guide for information regarding incoming deliveries to DCL.


Shipping Methods

Shipping can roughly be divided into two categories:

  • Small Parcel Shipments

  • LTL (less than truckload) shipments


Small parcel shipments are packages under 70 lbs. and shipped in your own packaging or DCL-supplied boxes. Products going Business-to-Consumer (B2C) use parcel shipments. These shipments are not sent on pallets and move through a small package shipping system with carriers such as UPS or USPS. Shipments can go ground or air, domestic or international.

Freight or LTL (less-than-truckload) shipments are generally over 150 lbs. The product (s) are stacked and secured on a wood or plastic pallet for easy loading, stability, and protection of the cargo. These shipments can move via ground, air, ocean, rail, or any combination of these. Bulk product shipment to distributors, wholesalers or retailers would be shipped via LTL. LTL freight is discussed later in the document.

Small Parcel Freight Service 

Today freight has become quite complex with many shipping options available. Fortunately, DCL has developed a comprehensive shipping services offering to meet customer’s specific

requirements. Having many choices to cover different situations, allows the optimum shipping service for your product to be selected.

Key Questions to Consider

Although freight choices can be confusing to navigate, asking a few basic questions can help determine the best shipping choice for your company and your customer.

Where will you be shipping the product? Domestically in the United States? Or also Internationally? How will you be shipping? By Ground? By Air? Both? What is the value of your product? Is it relatively expensive? How important is quick and certain delivery? How significant a factor in the mix is the freight cost? What is the weight of the product? Answering these questions will help you determine the optimum shipping solutions to use.

For example, if your product is a high-end, expensive consumer product, then choosing a ship method that is very reliable, has excellent tracking and a proven on-time delivery record are key factors. A reasonable shipping cost is also important, but may not be at the top of the list.

Alternatively, if you are shipping an inexpensive product weighing only 6 ounces that is part of a monthly subscription model, then the lowest freight cost option may become the most important factor. Or perhaps not the lowest cost, but the minimum cost with the best delivery time.

Does your product require special freight services? Like obtaining a recipient signature upon delivery, or having a return label inserted at shipment so your customer can return the item if necessary? If so, you will want to ensure that your selected carrier service level supports that option.

Matching the Service to Your Customer

Picking the optimum shipping service for your product depends on weight, delivery, cost and special requirements.

Here are examples of some customer solutions:

DCL’s Preferred Carrier

UPS – DCL’s Preferred Carrier

DCL has selected UPS as it’s preferred carrier for most services. There are several reasons for this choice:

  • UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company with over 4 billion packages delivered annually. They also deliver more packages that have been ordered online.

  • UPS has the largest fleet of ground vehicles. As a significant portion of our customer’s packages go via Ground, this was an important consideration.

  • UPS uses the same driver for both air and ground deliveries – no separate delivery trucks

  • UPS’s central air hub for package processing and transport is in Louisville, Kentucky which is

    also the location of DCL’s east coast fulfillment facility. This presents a unique opportunity for customers to both cut costs and delivery time by splitting inventory between DCL west and east locations. For example, a 2-day shipment to New York from the West Coast go via ground from the East Coast and arrive at the same time with less cost.

  • DCL’s master contract with UPS provides for substantial discounts which are shared with you.

Small Parcel Ship Categories

Based on carrier rates and customer requirements, small parcel ship choices fall into 4 basic categories:

  1. Domestic, low cost ground services for packages over 1 lb.

  2. Domestic, low cost ground services for packages less than 1 lb.

  3. Domestic air service

  4. International air service

Here is a summary of the carrier options available in each shipment category with comparisons.


  1. Domestic Ground Service (over 1 lb.)

Use these services for economical shipment of packages greater than 1 lb.

2. Domestic Ground Service Under 1 lb.

DCL offers 3 similar services. They all are extremely competitive and differ only slightly in cost and delivery. All services use the US Postal service for the final mile delivery and include tracking.

3. Domestic Air Service

The decision to ship air over ground is basically a delivery concern. Ground transit times are 1-5 days without a specific delivery time while Air times are 1-3 days with a time definite time. In exchange for this accelerated, reliable service, air costs are higher.

4. International Air Service

Depending on the urgency, there are 3 different choices to ship internationally. Quicker delivery options are more costly. Note: International shipments require attention to other considerations like responsibility for duties and taxes. See further explanation in International Shipping Considerations.

Additional Shipping Options

Although general shipping services are outlined above, there are many additional variations of the service listed. These variations provide for designating special options like Signature Required and Return label. These options are appended to the base service name using add-on letters.

For example, “UPS GROUND SERVICE RES-SR will select UPS Ground Residential Service and require a Signature upon delivery.

It is important that the specific name of the service be coded correctly when entering orders to ensure that the desired option is selected at ship time. Your Account Manager can provide a complete list of all services and options.


For reference, here is a list of the option designations and their meaning.

Residential Shipments

If your shipment is going to a residential address, select the "RESIDENTIAL" or "RES" option. If the option is not specified and the package is to a residential address, the additional charge will be billed to you later.

Signature Required Shipments : "SR" and "ASR"

In some cases, signature required shipments are requested by shippers to ensure that products are delivered successfully and to avoid disputes from customers stating that they did not receive a product shipment. Signature required shipments provide you with an electronic copy of the signature that was obtained from a person upon successful delivery. Standard Delivery Confirmation provides you with confirmation that your package was delivered, but does not provide you with a copy of the electronic signature. In some cases, you may require that an Adult sign for the package, which requires the person signing for the package to be at least 21 years of age. When specifying the shipment method, be sure to select an option with signature required

Access Point Shipment: "APH"

You can elect to have your shipment delivered to an access point. A UPS Access PointTM is a UPS- affiliated retail location offering convenient package delivery near your home or work. The access point is represented by a broad array of locations, including newsagents, grocers and convenience stores. Your customer can retrieve the shipment at the access point by showing proper identification. Specific DCL programming is required for use of this option.

Return Shipping Label: "RS"

Business situations may demand that products need to be returned back to the warehouse, which requires return service freight. Preparing for return service can save time and hassle for you, your customers, and DCL Logistics. When choosing a shipment method with a return service option, it will be indicated with a "RS" at the end of its name. The return service option will automatically generate a return label to be included with your shipment.

LTL Freight

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Freight is available for large items that do not fit into traditional packaging or heavy items that are greater than 150 pounds.

LTL Freight avoids the use of a full truck. LTL shipments are usually in the range of 150 lbs to 20,000 lbs. Shipments by LTL have longer transit times due to the additional stops it makes along the route.

Smaller packages that can be broken down into units less than 150 pounds can be transported by Ground or Air. Shipping packages less than 150 lbs by LTL is not cost effective.

International Freight

International Freight has additional considerations due to the customs requirements of various countries.

Planning and accuracy is essential to avoiding delays when shipping internationally. Critical international shipping information must be provided up front, including your contact information. As the owner of the goods, you may need to answer additional questions about your products when shipped worldwide.

It is important to provide an accurate description and value of the goods being shipped to obtain accurate documentation, duties and taxes for international freight. Based on the description and value, the allocation of the cost to buyers and sellers is categorized according to Incoterms, a three-letter trade term assigned for international commerce regulation. In some case, you may also need to obtain a harmonized code, a 6-digit code for classifying traded products developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization.

A certificate stating the country of origin of the goods, called the Certificate of Origin, must be included with international shipments.

A customs broker will determine your customs duty, or tax levied, at the time of import of your goods, based on the information provided regarding product description, product value, country of origin or manufacture, use of the product, and the product’s harmonized code. Advance preparations with shipment carriers upfront will help ensure that your customs duties are paid upon arrival. In almost all cases, customs duties must be paid before shipments can be released for delivery.

If you would like to require a signature upon receipt of the shipment, you may need to review the signature requirements for the specific country that you are shipping to and specify the necessary service options, if available. Please refer to the signature required section below for addition details on signature required shipments. 

International Shipping Considerations

Duties and Taxes

Customs officials assess duties and taxes based on information provided on the air waybill, the commercial invoice, and other relevant documents. All shipments crossing international borders are subject to the assessment of duties and taxes imposed by the importing country's government. Duties and taxes are imposed to generate revenue, protect local industries against foreign competition, or both. The duties and taxes normally must be paid before the goods are released from customs. A shipment's duty and tax amount may be based on product value (retail or reduced), trade agreements (NAFTA), Country of Manufacture, Use of Product, HTS Code

Duties: Most countries assess duty on CIF value (Cost, Insurance, Freight).

There are several types of taxes that may by imposed, for example: VAT (value added tax), HST (harmonized sales tax), etc.

Incoterms (International Commercial Terms)

Incoterms are trade terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce that are commonly used in both international and domestic trade contracts. Incoterms, which is short for "international commercial terms," are used to make international trade easier by helping traders who are in different countries to understand one another.

Incoterms should ALWAYS be filled out on Commercial Invoices because Incoterms clarify who pays for Shipping, Duties, and Taxes. The DCL shipping system provides flexible options for:

  1. Payer to be either: DCL, the DCL Customer, the Receiver, or a Third Party and

  2. Each Payer can be responsible for either, some or all of: Shipping, Duties, or Taxes charges

Delivery Change Requests

When delivery changes happen, you can request that the carrier change the original destination in place of a new destination that you specify. You will have the option to have the shipment

held at the carrier’s local station for will call / pick-up, delivered to another address, rescheduled for another date, or returned to the sender.

When shipping on DCL Logistics freight account, DCL Logistics’ Order Support team can assist you with a delivery change request. You can contact Order Support Group by emailing us at If you ship on your own freight account, then you must contact the carrier directly with your delivery change request. 

Dangerous Goods

If your product is a lithium battery, contains lithium batteries, or is packaged with lithium battery, or other hazardous materials, they are subject to regulatory requirements as outlined in DCL’s Dangerous Goods Guide.

Dangerous goods require that you submit a Dangerous Good Declaration Form, so that we can work together to ensure proper labeling and handling according to government regulatory requirements.

Please refer to the Dangerous Goods Guide for packaging and shipping specifications relating to dangerous goods.

Freight Estimator – A Useful Tool

DCL Logistics provides a convenient freight estimator for calculating rates on domestic small package shipments as well as LTL shipments. This is a handy tool for seeing the cost differences in various services. Access to the Freight Estimator is thru the eFactory portal.

Based on the DCL warehouse the product is shipping from, the destination zip code, the package size and weight, freight rates for air and ground services are shown. Residential delivery can be selected as an option. Transit times for the various services are also shown.

Your contracted DCL carrier discount is automatically used in the calculation to give a net number. Freight estimates provided include the current fuel surcharge. Special surcharges for Delivery Area, Confirmation, Large Package, Address correction, Saturday delivery and others are excluded.

By selecting the “Freight” option, an LTL estimate can be obtained. A sample output from the Estimator is shown below.

Estimate for a 7lb Package shipping from Louisville warehouse to Fremont, California


This guide is designed to provide you with a general understanding of shipping with DCL Logistics. Understanding freight terminology of various shipment methods, service options,

international requirements, and exceptions will help to prepare you for shipping with DCL Logistics and working with the DCL Logistics team.

With this understanding, we encourage you work with your Account Manager at DCL Logistics to determine the best shipment methods and services for your specific products and customer needs