How is International Small Parcel Different From Other Shipping Methods?

May 17,2024
Industry News
International small parcel is mainly suitable for sending small items or documents, while other transportation methods are more suitable for transporting bulk goods

International small parcel transportation is an important logistics method that cross-border e-commerce sellers cannot ignore. Whether you're sending a package across continents for personal reasons or managing logistics for your business, choosing the right shipping method is crucial. Among the many options available, international small parcel shipping stands out for its convenience and accessibility.

What is international small parcel?

International small packages are packages or shipments that are relatively small in size and weight, usually below the specific dimensions and limits set by the carrier. Shipments that typically weigh less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and can be easily moved by one person without assistance.

international small parcel

Sent via postal service or courier companies such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. It is suitable for scenarios such as personal mailing, cross-border e-commerce, and small businesses sending small items or documents. International small parcels usually have a tracking function, allowing the sender and recipient to check the shipping status of the parcel at any time.

This service is particularly suitable for light-weight and small products, such as small electronic products, accessories, clothing, etc. International small parcel service occupies an important position in cross-border e-commerce logistics due to its advantages such as high cost-effectiveness, easy operation, and global accessibility.

The role of international parcels


Compared with international express delivery, international small parcels can significantly reduce transportation costs and improve merchants' price competitiveness.

wide coverage

The service can reach almost any area in the world with postal services, broadening the market scope of merchants.

Easy to operate

The unified billing method simplifies freight accounting and makes it easier for merchants to manage logistics costs.

Difference between international small parcel and other modes of transportation

Cargo characteristics

International small parcel is mainly suitable for sending small items of goods or documents, while other transportation methods such as sea transportation, air transportation, etc. are more suitable for transporting bulk goods.

Size and weight restrictions

The most obvious difference is the size and weight limits for small packages. They are usually limited to sizes that can be easily handled by postal and courier services. Unlike LTL, dropshipping, or ocean freight, which can handle larger, heavier shipments, small package carriers have strict limits on package size and weight to ensure efficient loading, unloading, and shipping.

In contrast, other shipping methods, such as air and ocean freight, can accommodate larger and heavier shipments, making them ideal for transporting bulky or oversized items.


Small packages are picked up from the shipper's location and shipped directly to the recipient's address without additional transportation from the dock or port. This door-to-door service is a key advantage over other methods that require separate pickup and delivery arrangements.

speed and tracking

International small parcel shipping is known for its moderate transit times, balancing speed and cost-effectiveness. While air freight is the fastest mode of shipping, small packages often take longer to reach their destination compared to express services. However, small parcels are faster than ocean shipping and are suitable for time-sensitive shipments.

Courier and postal services often provide robust tracking systems and delivery notifications for small parcel shipments. In comparison, other shipping methods may offer less frequent updates and tracking options, especially for bulk shipments.

cost structure

International small parcel shipping costs vary based on factors such as weight, size, destination and service level. The shipping fee for international small packages is relatively low, but the shipping time is relatively long. Compared with air freight, although the speed is slower, the price is more affordable; compared with sea freight, although the speed is faster, the freight is slightly higher. Senders can choose the appropriate shipping method based on their needs.

Generally speaking, the cost per unit of small package shipping can be higher compared to other shipping methods, especially for lightweight items. Air freight tends to be the most expensive option due to its speed, while sea freight offers a more economical option for larger shipments.

While pricing for small packages is based on weight and size, faster services have higher rates, LTL, TL and ocean pricing are more dependent on space/volume utilization and are generally cheaper for larger shipments over longer distances.

Transportation preparation

For small packages, the shipper is responsible for packaging and labeling, while LTL and TL shipments are typically palletized and ocean shipments are container loaded by the logistics provider. For small package shippers, this additional responsibility can be time-consuming but provides greater control over the packaging process.

customs clearance

International shipments, regardless of the mode of transportation, require customs clearance. Small parcel shipping often includes customs clearance services as part of the shipping process, thus simplifying the import and export procedures for both the sender and the recipient. However, for other modes of transportation, such as air and sea, shippers may need to arrange customs clearance individually or through a freight forwarder.

Frequently Asked Questions about International Small Parcel

What is the maximum size/weight of an international small package?

Size and weight limits vary by carrier, but in general, small packages should weigh less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and have an overall length and girth (distance around the thickest part) of up to 130 inches (330 centimeters) ).

How do I track my international small parcel shipment?

Most courier and postal services offer online tracking tools that enable senders and recipients to monitor the progress of small parcels. Tracking information typically includes shipment status updates, delivery estimates, and proof of delivery.

What items are not suitable for international small parcel shipping?

Items that are fragile, of high value or require special handling, as well as dangerous goods, liquids, batteries and other items that are prohibited by international postal mail are not suitable for international small parcels.

How fast is international small parcel shipping?

Shipping times depend on service level and destination, but smaller parcel carriers often offer faster delivery than LTL, TL, or ocean freight, with some overnight or 2-day service options.

As an efficient transportation method, international small parcel provides a convenient and economical choice for global users. Whether you are a business or an individual, you can use the international small parcel service to deliver your products and gifts to anywhere in the world.

As a professional international logistics service provider, chinadivision is committed to providing you with efficient, convenient and reliable international small parcel transportation services. If you need professional logistics consulting or services, please feel free to contact ChinaDivision. We can provide personalized solutions and competitive prices based on your specific shipping needs.