// industry insights

Guide on Bulky Goods: How to master the 3 Logistics Challenges – Storage, Fulfillment and Shipping of Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Freight

Published on: 27th July 2020, 15-20 min read.

Overview:

How to find the best Logistics for Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Products like Cooking Pans, Bicycles and Furniture in Germany?

Online Retail and eCommerce covers an increasing amount of product groups, including more and more medium-sized, large and bulky products with a weight between 8 – 30kg. Courier, Express or Parcel Services (CEP) often refer to products in this category as bulky goods and bulky freight.

Sending bulky goods at low costs, nationwide or across borders, is increasingly demanded by retailers and merchants from logistics companies and CEP service providers.

The increase in bulky good shipments in Germany and Europe can be attributed primarily to a higher marketing spend on popular direct-to-consumer product categories such as mobility (e.g. bicycles, scooters) and home & living (e.g. garden furniture, sofas).

Due to long product sizes and high weight, there are special logistics requirements for warehousing (storage), fulfillment (pick & pack processes), and shipping of medium-sized, large and bulky products. The selection of a suitable logistics provider for heavy, high-sized and bulky goods is not easy.

Comparing the pick & pack prices for fulfillment services of small, medium-sized, large and bulky products, one can directly see that bulky goods often generate up to five times higher fulfillment costs. Because of this, we want to make sure to reduce these additional costs as much as possible.

In addition, delivery times and shipping costs also fluctuate drastically. The latter usually depend on the effort involved with transporting and handling these medium-sized and heavy goods. For example, shipping costs mount up with additional insurance, express- and two-man delivery services. Despite these special handling requirements, nationwide delivery of big and bulky goods should be possible within 1-3 days.

It’s therefore important to find the right logistics provider with an operational focus in medium-sized, large and bulky products. Clearly, it’s obvious to work with someone who knows how to handle products ranging from medium-sized to bulky goods instead of someone who’s specialized in Fresh Food logistics or Beauty Products, right?

But what makes a great logistics provider for bulky goods? What should retailers and merchants take into consideration and what logistics traps can be avoided in order to save unnessecary costs?

Read more to find out.

KEY Takeaways:

  • In Germany and throughout Europe one can observe an increasing demand for the shipment of medium-sized, big and bulky goods (weight ranges between 8-30 kg)
  • When choosing a logistics service provider, one needs to consider special logistics requirements in terms of size, weight and fulfillment costs
  • Particularly transport costs, but also delivery times, are affected by the high manual effort involved in handling bulky goods

The 3 biggest Logistics Challenges when dealing with Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Goods:

01: Warehousing Providers and Inventory Level Optimization: Storage

The first challenge includes the optimization of incoming goods, storage space utilization and demand planning.

Big and bulky goods are often packed individually and delivered in containers when being shipped to warehouses for storage. Therefore, palletizing medium-sized, big and bulky goods is recommended – especially when receiving these goods in the warehouse, so that time and costs can be saved in the following operative process.

Clearly, medium-sized, big and bulky products are often associated with higher storage costs due to their handling, size and the storage space they take up. But there are certain tricks that merchants and logistics providers can use, to keep these additional costs down as much as possible.

bulky goods storage - high rack shelf system

High-Racking Shelf System
Optimal Storage of Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Products

Sorting and general product handling of medium-sized, large and bulky goods is complex. In order to store these bulky products more efficiently, automated storage systems are being used in large warehouses.

But more importantly, an increasing number of warehousing providers are now working with tech companies that operate API-driven Logistics-as-a-Service platforms to support data-driven fulfillment.

API-driven platforms are able to link and fully automate the data exchange between a logistics provider’s warehouse management system (WMS) and the merchant’s shop systems.

This makes all data exchange processes of incoming and outgoing inventory, any fulfillment steps, and real-time reporting seamless.

With this, merchants and warehousing providers gain simplified access to real-time data without manual effort and receive proactive notifications to prevent inventory shortages or delivery delays. Data-driven warehousing and fulfillment creates operational transparency between warehousing providers and merchants.

In order to achieve highest possible storage density, warehousing providers often palletize medium-sized, large and bulky products such as tires, strollers or furniture and store them in high racks. Merchants should choose a warehousing provider that contains so-called high-rack storage shelves; storage shelves with a minimum height of 12 metres and a maximum height of 50 metres.

High-rack storage shelves are usually operated by using high-lift trucks, forklifts or automatic machinery.

To enable the transport and automated storage of load carriers and pallets in a high-rack shelved warehouse, input-and output stations, shelf access equipment, and a control system for the shelf access equipment are required.

High-rack shelves serve the purpose of creating an overall more dynamic warehouse. Palletized products are assigned to a place that matches their weight and size, depending on the available space.

Depending on the product category, double-sided cantilever racking shelf systems are used in addition to high-rack storage systems. Cantilever racks are used particularly often in smaller storage areas. They are particularly suitable for the horizontal storage of long products, such as bicycles, but also particularly long pipes or rods.

Storage for bulky products & freight

Cantilever Racking Shelf System
Optimal Storage of Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Products

Besides choosing the right warehousing provider with the right storage systems, there’s a way to save storage costs in the first place: optimized demand planning.

Optimized demand planning is made possible with certain tools that help merchants plan demand and storage usage with real-time analyses and forecasts of the order situation. Smart API platforms offer these tools and help merchants to prevent storing too many products in the first place. It’s quite simple, the less warehousing space is used, the less warehousing costs are spent. Learn more about what is meant by API platform.

Demand planning is particularly relevant in the context of just-in-time delivery. In just-in-time delivery, it is common practice to deliver only those parts to the manufacturer that are needed for the planned number of products shortly before production. Through smart demand planning and JIT shipping, storage space is used more efficiently, resulting in lower inventory- and warehousing costs.

Apart from optimized incoming goods, utilization of storage space and demand planning, the greatest added value brings: flexible warehousing. Here is a link to our article to learn more about the topic: How to reduce logistics costs?

KEY Takeaways:

  • Retailers and merchants save time and costs by palletizing medium-sized, large and bulky goods when products arrive to the warehouse or storage facility
  • Storage space is used more optimally and dynamically by storing palletized bulky goods and large products in high racking shelf systems and cantilever racking shelf systems
  • Data-driven fulfillment through API platforms enables lower storage costs for merchants and retailers through real-time data exchange and optimized demand planning

02: Fulfillment Service Provider – Pick & Pack Processes for Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Goods

The second challenge is the operational handling of medium-sized, large and bulky products during the fulfillment processes, which include pick & pack preparation before shipping. Large and heavy products, such as fashion lamps, eBikes, or Sporting Goods like lifting weights, often have to be handled by two employees. Therefore, picking costs are significantly higher compared to products under 4kg.

Every fulfillment provider works with different weight categorizations in picking processes, but we often see significant leaps in fulfillment cost differences from a weight class of >16kg. Cost differences particularly arise when two employees or machinery (shelf access equipment or forklifts) are needed for picking heavy and bulky goods.

Generally, relative cost differences for the first pick of larger and bulky goods compared to <4kg products are as follows:

  • <8kg: +50%
  • <16kg: +166%
  • <24kg: +400%
  • <30kg: +400%
  • Oversize >30kg: On special request

A few things must also be taken into account when packing medium-sized, large and bulky products in order to avoid possible additional costs that might incur with CEP service providers and transport insurance later on.

In general, merchants should always avoid – if possible – that their medium-sized and large products are categorized as bulky goods or bulky freight from CEP providers. This is often determined by the shape of the parcel:

shipping bulky products & freight: What shapes to consider?

Rectangular, Roll &  Special Shape
Bulky Goods are often categorized due to their shape

Bulky goods and bulky freight generally include rectangular and roll shapes which deviate from the standard measures and dimensions for shipping parcels with CEP service providers. When shipping medium-sized and large products, a general mistake that a lot of merchants do is that the CEP provider categorizes their products as bulky because the packaging exceeds the standard dimensions of the CEP provider.

Standard dimensions often vary depending on the shipping provider – for example, when shipping products with DHL the parcel should not extend the standard dimensions of DHL (120x60x60cm); more on this in section 03: Shipping bulky goods and bulky freight.

Apart from this, medium-sized and large products are often categorized as bulky goods when there’s a special shape involved – e.g. products that are not rectangular or have parts sticking out and loose strapping like frying pans, kitchen appliances and others. These products often do not fit into the usual rectangular-shaped packages and must be specially packed.

During the order picking processes of their medium-sized and large products, merchants should absolutely avoid – if possible – that such products are labeled as bulky goods by CEP service providers. Of course,  for some product types this is not possible due to their size, shape and weight.

Packaging Tips of Bulky Goods
A Video from German Carrier iloxx

If bulky goods are involved, the correct pick & pack processes and packaging rules should be considered.

This requires materials, such as sturdy cardboard packaging, cushioning material such as bubble wrap, edge protection, parcel tape and cutter knives.

Here is a practical example of how to pack bulky goods correctly.

Fulfillment service providers sometimes use metal or wood for stable packaging. The right packaging materials are especially indispensable for transport security for large items that are transported on pallets and fixed with lashing straps or strapping. Due to the high effort involved, packaging of bulky goods is very time-consuming and costly.

KEY Takeaways:

  • Merchants can expect high picking costs for medium-sized, large and bulky goods with a weight of >16kg
  • With the right fulfillment service provider, merchants can avoid during the packing process that their medium-sized and large products are being categorized as bulky freight by CEP providers
  • Following special packaging steps for the stable packaging of bulky goods is important, as they often do not fit into typical rectangular packages

03: CEP Service Provider vs Carrier – Shipping Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Goods

Medium-sized and large products, as well as bulky goods often cannot be sorted by the automatic sorting systems of standard-sized products due to their special characteristics. This results in a manual effort for the respective shipping provider – be it a forwarding agent, carrier or CEP service provider. Clearly this results in higher shipping costs.

The shipping of medium-sized, large and bulky products costs different amounts depending on the characteristics, such as the shape of the product, and the type of shipping service provider. If a certain weight or size is reached, merchants should consider using a carrier instead of a CEP service provider.

The difference between a CEP service provider and a carrier is shown below.

Using CEP Service Providers for Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Freight

As soon as the standard measurements in terms of weight or size of parcels are exceeded at the respective CEP service providers, the products are classified as bulky goods or bulky freight.

Generally, it is recommended to always keep the weight and size of parcels within the standard measurements; otherwise the shipping of the products will become considerably more expensive.

Even within the bulky goods category, CEP service providers have an upper limit in regards to measurements and weight, which should not be exceeded – otherwise merchants need to use CEP freight transport services (parcels shipped on pallets) or use a Carrier instead. The standard measurements vary greatly between CEP service providers and it is often not clear how CEP providers differ from each other.

Therefore we have compared different CEP providers with each other. The conventional CEP service providers for shipping medium-sized, large and bulky goods in Germany are:

Hermes, DHL, GLS, DPD and UPS.

We examined for each CEP service provider the characteristics, measurements and weight limits which categorize parcels as standard vs bulky freight for rectangular and roll-shaped products.

Simply click to expand:

It's categorized as bulky freight, if...

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
  • No rectangular shape for standard Hermes parcel sizes: S – L
  • Rectangular shape > standard measures (L/W/H, Girth, Volume, Weight)
  • Rectangular shape > standard measures (L/W/H, Girth, Volume, Weight)
  • Rectangular shape > standard measures (L/W/H, Girth, Volume, Weight)
  • Rectangular shape > standard measures (L/W/H, Girth, Volume, Weight)
  • or parcel has a Hermes parcel size of: XL and XXL
  • or roll shape > 5kg or Shape > standard measure (L/D)
  • or roll shape
  • or roll shape
  • or roll shape
  • or special shape (not rectangular or roll shape)
  • or special shape (not rectangular shape)
  • or special shape (not rectangular shape)
  • or special shape (not rectangular shape)
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


Table: CEP Service Provider Comparison – When is it labelled as Bulky Freight?
Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

When comparing the different CEP service providers, the following should be noted:

At Hermes, the standard measurement is the maximum size and weight of an L-package. When size and weight lie above this, a product is automatically classified as a bulky good and labeled an XL or XXL parcel.

Hermes and DHL are the only CEP providers that allow roll shaped parcels without classifying them as bulky good. GLS, DPD and UPS categorically label roll shaped parcels as bulky goods. So, a surcharge can be expected with these CEP service providers.

Bulky Freight Shipping - which CEP Service Provider does it?

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
  • National: yes

Note: Hermes refers
to sizes of XS – XXL

  • National: yes
  • National: yes
  • National: yes
  • National: yes

Note: UPS refers to big parcels instead of bulky freight

  • International EU: no

Note: Only standard freight shipping for Hermes
sizes of XS – L

  • International EU: yes
  • International EU: yes
  • International EU: yes
  • International EU: yes

Note: UPS refers to big parcels instead of bulky freight

more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Who offers Bulky Freight Shipping?

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

Regarding Hermes you should also consider that it is the only CEP service provider that solely allows shipping of standard-shaped goods internationally – within the Hermes sizes XS – L. Choosing DHL, GLS or DPD is the better option for international shipping of bulky items. But we’ll get to this later on in more detail.

UPS categorizes packages above a certain size and weight as “large packages” rather than bulky goods. However, this is solely a use of different terminology. Later on we see that UPS offers higher measurements for shipping bulky freight compared to the other CEP providers.

Standardard Freight (rectangular): Max. Measures & Weight

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
  • Longest + shortest
    side: 120cm
  • L: 120cm
  • W: 60cm
  • H: 60cm
  • L: 120cm
  • W: n.s.g.
  • H: n.s.g.
  • L: 175cm
  • W: n.s.g.
  • H: n.s.g.
  • L: 120cm
  • W: n.s.g.
  • H: n.s.g.
  • Girth:
    n.s.g.
  • Girth:
    360cm
  • Girth:
    300cm
  • Girth:
    300cm
  • Girth:
    300cm
  • Volume:
    n.s.g.
  • Volume: n.s.g.
  • Volume:
    n.s.g.
  • Volume:
    200L
  • Volume: n.s.g.
  • Weight:
    25kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight:
    40kg
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison –  Standard Dimensions & Weight (Rectangular Shapes) 

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

Comparing the standard measures and weight allowed for rectangular shaped parcels, we see major similarities between Hermes, DHL, GLS and UPS. The only dimensions that differ are girth (DHL with 360cm) and weight (Hermes with 25kg and UPS with 40kg).

The DPD standard for rectangular shaped parcels allows a maximum length of 175cm. This is the highest tolerance so far compared to all other CEP service providers – if you have long parcels you should consider choosing DPD in order to avoid surcharges for shipment.

Bulky Freight (rectangular): Max. Measures & Weight

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
National
  • Hermes Sizes
    XL – XXL
  • L: 200cm
  • L: 200cm
  • L: 120cm
  • L: 274cm
  • Longest + shortest
    side: 200cm
  • W: n.g.s.
  • W: 80cm
  • W: n.g.s.
  • W: n.g.s.
  • H: n.g.s.
  • H: 60cm
  • H: n.g.s.
  • H: n.g.s.
  • Girth: n.g.s
  • Girth: 360cm
  • Girth: 300cm
  • Girth: 300cm
  • Girth: 400cm
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 40kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 70kg
International EU
  • Only Hermes
    sizes XXS – L
  • L: 200cm
  • L: 200cm
  • L: 120cm
  • L: 274cm
  • longest + shortest
    side: 120cm
  • W: n.g.s.
  • W: 80cm
  • W: n.g.s.
  • W: n.g.s.
  • H: n.g.s.
  • H: 60cm
  • H: n.g.s.
  • H: n.g.s.
  • Girth: n.g.s.
  • Girth: 300cm
  • Girth: 300cm
  • Girth: 300cm
  • Girth: 400cm
  • Weight: 25kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 50kg
  • Weight: 31,5kg
  • Weight: 70kg
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Bulky Freight Dimensions & Weights (Rectangular Shapes) 

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

When it comes to shipping bulky goods and bulky freight, there are clear differences between the CEP providers. Previously we recommended DPD for shipping large and long parcels that are not labelled as bulky goods within Germany. However, when it comes to actual bulky items (in DPD’s case: roll-shaped or special-shaped products not being rectangular), DPD only allows the smallest bulky goods for shipping (120cm) compared to other CEP providers.

With Hermes allowing only 200cm for length and width combined, DHL and GLS are the safest option as they allow bulky items up to 200cm for length only. GLS even allows bulky freight with a weight of 40kg.

We previously mentioned that UPS uses a different terminology for bulky goods, they refer to “large parcels”. For shipping bulky items nationally, that is in UPS definition: roll shaped and special shaped products, UPS allows the highest measures for length (274cm), girth (400cm) and weight (70kg). So in case you are selling furniture, UPS is the best option here.

For shipping bulky goods internationally Hermes (length and width combined: 120cm) and DPD (length 120cm) allow only the smallest parcel sizes. One should rather consider DHL, or even better, GLS and UPS as they allow the highest weight with GLS allowing 50kg (10kg higher than for national shipping!) and UPS allowing up to 70kg.

Standard Freight (roll): Max. Measures & Weight

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
  • L: 100cm
  • L: 120cm
  • No standard measures for rolls
  • Rolls of every size are categorized as bulky goods, refer to rectangular measures

Advice:
Pack rolls into rectangular shaped packaging, complying with standard measurements or bulky freight measurements for rectangular shapes

  • No standard measures for rolls
  • Rolls of every size are categorized as bulky goods, refer to rectangular measures

Advice:
Pack rolls into rectangular shaped packaging, complying with standard measurements or bulky freight measurements for rectangular shapes

  • No standard measures for rolls
  • Rolls of every size are categorized as bulky goods, refer to rectangular measures

Advice:
Pack rolls into rectangular shaped packaging, complying with standard measurements or bulky freight measurements for rectangular shapes

  • D: 20cm
  • D: 15cm
  • Weight: n.g.s.
  • Weight: 5kg
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Standard Dimensions & Weight (Roll Shapes)

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

Some products are not rectangular-shaped or need to be rolled for shipping. For example, there’s large posters, carpets, pipes or designer lamps. But the shipping of rolled products and roll-shaped parcels is handled very differently by CEP service providers. Some CEP providers allow roll-shaped parcels and do not classify them directly as bulky goods which directly implies a surcharge in shipping costs.

GLS, DPD and UPS, for instance, classify each roll-shaped item directly as a bulky good, whereas DHL and Hermes only consider rolls as bulky goods from a specified weight and size onwards. If there’s reasons involved to insist on using roll-shaped parcels, e.g. in terms of convenience, environmental-impact (less empty space is shipped!) or branding experience, we recommend using DHL or Hermes.

If not, we recommend packing roll-shaped products in rectangular-shaped packages in order to save shipping costs. UPS gives some great advice on how to pack roll-shaped products – more information here.

Bulky Freight (roll): Max. Measures & Weight

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
National
  • If product dimensions > standard measures for Roll shaped parcels,
    item needs to be packed within rectangular format according
    to Hermes XL – XXL sizes
  • L: 200cm
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • D: 60cm
  • Girth: 360cm
  • Weight: according to rectangular
    shapes of Hermes XL – XXL sizes
  • Weight: 31,5kg
International EU
  • Roll needs to fit within rectangular Hermes sizes XXS – L
  • L: 200cm
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • See advice standard measures for roll shapes above
  • D: 60cm
  • Girth: 300 cm
  • Weight: according to rectangular Hermes XXS – L sizes
  • Weight: 31,5kg
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Bulky Freight Dimensions & Weight (Roll Shapes)

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

In some cases, there are roll-shaped products that have a certain size and will be classified as ‘bulky’  – like large carpets. The safest option to choose – both for national and international shipping – is DHL. DHL allows bulky rolls with a length of 200cm, diameter of 60cm and girth of 360cm. Hermes only allows smaller roll-shaped parcels (see previous table) with a length of 100cm and diameter of 20cm.

The same advice we gave for GLS, DPD and UPS applies for bulky roll-shaped products here too. One needs to pack roll-shaped products in rectangular cartons and parcels in order to be able to ship these products in the first place without a drastic price surcharge for shipping.

Delivery Attempts: Hermes, DHL, GLS, DPD, UPS

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS
  • up to 4x, then 12 days in parcel shop
  • up to 2x times, then 7 days in parcel shop
  • up to 2x, then 10 days in parcel shop
  • up to 3x, then 7 days in parcel shop
  • up to 3x, then 5 days in parcel shop
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Delivery Attempts of Hermes, DHL, GLS, DPD and UPS

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

The number of attempts at delivery and the number of days in the parcel shop for the various CEP service providers also differ. Hermes seems to make the most effort in delivering the parcels.

Additional Shipping Services for Bulky Freight

.

Hermes
DHL
GLS
DPD
UPS

Express Service

  • no
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes

Insurance

  • incl. standard 500 EUR
  • incl. standard 500 EUR;
  • optional: up to
    25.000 EUR possible
  • incl. standard 750 EUR
  • incl. standard 520 EUR
  • incl. standard 510 EUR

2-Man-Handling

  • yes
  • yes
  • no
  • no
  • no

Freight Transport
(on pallets)

  • no
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes

Age & ID Verification

  • no
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes

Cash on Delivery (COD)

  • no
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes
  • yes

No. of Delivery points

  • 16.000
  • 29.000
  • 5.500
  • 7.000
  • 5.100
more info
on Hermes
more info
on DHL
more info
on GLS
more info
on DPD
more info
on UPS


CEP Service Provider Comparison – Additional Shipping Services for Bulky Freight

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height), n.g.s. = no given specs
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

Sending bulky freight sometimes requires additional shipping and premium services. These could range from additional insurance and safety, and certain branding experiences, to regulatory or contractual reasons such as age verification or cash on delivery.

Comparing all 5 CEP service providers, one clearly sees that Hermes offers the least additional shipping services. However, for very bulky products, Hermes (and DHL) offers a 2-Man-Handling – the parcel is handled during transportation by 2 people due to its size or weight and to avoid damage.

All other CEP service providers seem to offer similar premium services like freight transport (shipping products on pallets). However, looking closer one sees that DHL tops all other CEP service providers in this service range again.

Shipping with DHL, merchants can even set up transportation insurances for a value of up to 25.000 EUR, if needed. What’s more, DHL premium shipping services are characterized by the large number of 29.000 DHL points of delivery in Germany and a cooperation with Deutsche Post.

Other premium services like 2-man-handling, including time slots for delivery in half-day windows, telephone appointments and a free second delivery attempt, are also available.

Regardless which CEP service provider will be chosen, in the end it’s always a question of: What product experience do you want your customers to experience? What brand image do you want your product to be associated with when your customer receives a parcel from your CEP service provider?

CEP service providers also differ in terms of their brand image. While DHL and UPS have built up a first-class / premium brand profile, DPD and GLS rather belong to the economy class and Hermes to the discount class. This is mainly reflected in their respective prices and additional services.

In order to offer customers the best possible buying experience, a merchant selling low-cost bulky goods, for example, would be more likely to use Hermes or DPD as a CEP service provider because of the lower costs involved; thus minimizing the shipping costs passed on to the customer.

Shipping Costs Bulky Goods & Bulky Freight: Hermes, DHL, DPD, GLS & UPS

Now, coming to the most important question: shipping costs.

Shipping costs vary depending on the respective CEP service provider and differ significantly between private and business customers. For business customers, shipping costs are either determined individually for each client, or by means of fixed framework agreements. When working with Hermes, DPD, and UPS, it is possible to determine shipping costs via framework agreements.

In contrast, DHL uses shipping costs tailored to the respective merchant, which means that the shipping costs can vary depending on the client.

Unfortunately, shipping costs cannot be easily determined as they depend on various factors; such as whether you are a business customer, a private person, the type of bulky item and of course the distance and shipping speed.

For businesses, we recommend using a qualified logistics provider from our network of independent 3PLs, as they work with CEP service providers on a daily basis and thus have both great framework agreements and client pricing already in place.

As private person, there’s already some great platforms to find, compare and select shipping costs and prices amongst CEP service providers. These are for example:

Using Carriers for Medium-sized, Large and Bulky Freight

Compared to CEP service providers, carriers are particularly suitable for shipping very bulky and heavy goods. This is because not all products can comply with the maximum measurements for bulky goods set by CEP service providers and some goods, such as large and heavy furniture, exceed them.

If this is the case, merchants of bulky goods have the possibility to turn to a carrier for the shipping of their products as a significantly higher weight and size can be handled when shipping bulky goods using a carrier.

As an example we have compared two carriers in the table below to give you a better understanding of what extra sizes and significantly higher weight we’re referring to.

When shipping goods with a carrier, shipping costs are usually significantly higher than with CEP service providers due to the goods’ special size, weight and handling. It should also be taken into account that from a certain weight onwards – which differs depending on the carrier – the products have to be palletized; for example this weight is 50kg for Cargo international.

Cargo Internationaliloxx
Max. Size
& Weight
  • L: 320cm
  • L: 600cm
  • W: n.g.s.
  • W: 120cm
  • H: n.g.s
  • H: 200cm
  • Girth: 500cm
  • Girth: n.g.s.
  • Weight: 100kg per package
    (from 50kg onwards to
    be palletized)
  • Weight: 1.000kg per package,
    2.000kg in total (national);
    500kg per package (international)
more info on Cargo Internationalmore info on iloxx


Carrier Comparison –  National & International Bulky Freight Shipping

Girth = Length + 2 x (Width + Height)
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

Key takeaways:

  • Merchants should keep the size and weight of their goods within the standard measurements of the respective CEP service provider in order to avoid a bulky good shipping surcharge
  • CEP service providers differ in shipping costs and requirements, such as standard measurements, weight and additional services
  • If the maximum weight and size for bulky goods regarding the respective CEP service provider’s requirements is exceeded, a carrier should be considered

What to consider to achieve optimal Logistics for Bulky Products?

Merchants selling and distributing medium- to large-sized products and bulky goods should preferably find a specialized and cost-efficient logistics provider with strong references in handling these large product categories.

There’s no doubt that working with the wrong logistics partners handling medium- to large-sized products including storage, fulfillment and shipping will cause higher logistics costs.

When it comes to warehousing and product storage, logistic service providers should be selected who have high-rack shelf systems and/or cantilever racking systems; especially for the storage of medium-sized to large products and bulky goods.

Besides using a dynamic storage system, a warehousing provider should be selected who works with a tech provider that offers the merchant operational transparency through a data-driven API-platform. Automated and data-driven processes are crucial to be informed about stock levels in real time with notifications and forward-looking information on remaining shelf life.

When choosing the right shipping service provider, complying with standard measurements and weight must be taken into account in order to avoid surcharges for shipping costs. By all costs for products that are medium- and large-sized – and not necessarily bulky by their nature – a labelling as bulky freight should be avoided. Simply follow our advice we gave you above.

In order to avoid high transport costs to the end customer in the first place, several distribution centres in different locations should be implemented by using flexible warehousing early on. This should be the case at the latest when companies become internationally active. Here’s a guide on: How to use flexible warehousing and another one on: How to reduce logistics costs with a local distribution network.

As soon as your business is internationally active, besides using local warehousing and fulfillment centres, selecting local CEP service providers or carriers for end-customer shipping is also recommendable.

Optimal Logistics for Bulky Products with everstox

We hope that this guide gave you enough insights to better understand how to handle your medium- to large-sized products and bulky goods. However, to successfully master all these challenges in the logistics processes, you need to find the right logistics partner. But no worries, that’s why we’re here.

Besides our data-driven API-platform, everstox helps you to find qualified shipping-, warehousing-, and fulfillment service providers.

With our Europe-wide network of specialized third-party logistics providers and state-of-the-art cloud technology, everstox enables merchants of medium- to large-sized products and bulky goods to achieve cost-efficient warehousing and fulfillment.

With real-time data and advanced analytics, smart demand forecasting and simplified inventory management, your business is ready to optimally plan your stock, coordinate your deliveries and offer a better customer experience.

Check also our Resources section and our LinkedIn page to keep up-to-date with our recent news, posts and achievements.

Any questions about the article?
Feel free to contact us!

About the Authors

Maximilian Nenning | everstox

Author:
Maximilian Nenning
Marketing Manager
everstox

About everstox

everstox is a technology and Logistics-as-a-Service (LaaS) platform enabling scalable and data-driven fulfilment for eCommerce, B2B and Retail businesses through a European network of independent logistics providers.

We enable transparent, efficient and ecological logistics solutions by forming Europes first tech-driven network of trusted warehousing & fulfilment partners.

Further information about everstox can be found under: www.everstox.com.

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