Logistics Challenges for Bulky Goods: Storage, Fulfillment & Shipping

The ultimate guide to master all logistics challenges for handling bulky goods like furniture, bicycles and roll-shaped products.

Published on: 27th July 2020, Reading time: 15-20 mins.

There has been an increasing demand in delivering bulky goods to customers via eCommerce sales channels. Given the heavy weight and huge size of these products, choosing a logistics provider is no easy task. No worries, we have your concerns covered in this article:

Bulky goods logistics | everstox

How to find the best Logistics for bulky goods?

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 customers, retailers and merchants from logistics companies and shipping 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 unnecessary costs?

Key Takeaways
1. 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)

2. When choosing a logistics service provider, one needs to consider special logistics requirements in terms of size, weight and fulfillment costs

3. Particularly transport costs, but also delivery times, are affected by the high manual effort involved in handling bulky goods
Challenges Bulky Goods Logistics | everstox

Three Logistics Challenges for handling Bulky Goods

There are three main challenges during logistics activities when handling bulky goods. These occur during: warehousing, fulfillment and shipping. Let’s check them out!

01: Warehousing Providers & Inventory Level Optimization: Storage

The first challenge includes the optimization of incoming goodsstorage space utilization and demand planning.

Big and bulky goods are often packed individually and typically delivered in 40ft. 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.

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. In other words, both merchants and logistics partners safe time and money when handling logistics operations.

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.

Warehousing Bulky Goods | everstox
Example: Warehouse with Palletized High-Rack Shelving System

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.

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 – store, fulfill and deliver close to where your customers are. Flexible warehousing saves cross-border shipping costs and increases delivery speed.

Key Takeaways
1. Retailers and merchants save time and costs by palletizing medium-sized, large and bulky goods when products arrive to the warehouse or storage facility

2. 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

3. Data-driven fulfillment through API platforms enables lower storage costs for merchants and retailers through real-time data exchange and optimized demand planning

4. Flexible warehousing means to store, fulfill and deliver products close to your sales markets. This saves on cross-border shipping costs and increases delivery speed.

02: Fulfillment Service Provider – Pick & Pack Processes of 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:

Logistics Bulky Goods Shipping Dimensions
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 shipping service provider categorizes their products as bulky freight because the packaging exceeds the standard dimensions of the CEP provider. Even if the weight and volume of the item being shipped are within standard dimensions, often the wrong packaging can lead to this classification.

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 120x60x60cm; more on this in section is covered in coming section on shipping bulky goods.

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 shipping service providers. Of course,  for some product types this is not possible due to their size, shape and weight.

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 for Packaging Tips from German carrier iloxx of how to pack bulky goods correctly (sorry it’s only available in German, but you’ll get the gist of it).

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
1. Merchants can expect high picking costs for medium-sized, large and bulky goods with a weight of >16kg

2. 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

3. Following special packaging steps for the stable packaging of bulky goods is important, as they often do not fit into typical rectangular packages

03: Shipping Bulky Goods – CEP Service Provider vs Carriers

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, freight 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.

Jump to the section to find out what to consider during shipping when:

Using CEP Service Providers for 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: HermesDHLGLSDPD and UPS.

CEP Shipping Services: Comparing 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 to find out what rules and standards apply for the different CEP Shipping providers.

Your parcel is categorized as bulky goods by a CEP Provider, if..

HermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
No rectangular shape for standard Hermes parcel sizes: S – LRectangular 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 XXLor roll shape > 5kg or Shape > standard measure (L/D)or roll shapeor roll shapeor 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?
Information provided without guarantee – July 2020

When comparing the different CEP service providers, the following should be noted that 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 goods. 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?

HermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
National: yes
Note: Hermes refers
to sizes of XS – XXL
National: yesNational: yesNational: yesNational: 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: yesInternational EU: yesInternational EU: yesInternational 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?

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.

Bulky Goods Shipping Dimensions: Rectangular Parcel
Rectangular-Shaped Packaging: Standard vs Bulky

Standardard Freight (rectangular-shape): Max. Measures & Weight.

HermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
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-shape): Max. Measures & Weight

TypeHermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
NationalHermes Sizes
XL – XXL
L: 200cmL: 200cmL: 120cmL: 274cm
NationalLongest + shortest
side: 200cm
W: n.g.s.W: 80cmW: n.g.s.W: n.g.s.
NationalH: n.g.s.H: 60cmH: n.g.s.H: n.g.s.
NationalGirth: n.g.sGirth: 360cmGirth: 300cmGirth: 300cmGirth: 400cm
NationalWeight: 31,5kgWeight: 31,5kgWeight: 40kgWeight: 31,5kgWeight: 70kg
International EUOnly Hermes
sizes XXS – L
L: 200cmL: 200cmL: 120cmL: 274cm
International EUlongest + shortest
side: 120cm
W: n.g.s.W: 80cmW: n.g.s.W: n.g.s.
International EUH: n.g.s.H: 60cmH: n.g.s.H: n.g.s.
International EUGirth: n.g.s.Girth: 300cmGirth: 300cmGirth: 300cmGirth: 400cm
International EUWeight: 25kgWeight: 31,5kgWeight: 50kgWeight: 31,5kgWeight: 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.

Logistics Bulky Goods Shipping Dimensions: Roll-shaped Parcel
Roll-Shaped Packaging: Standard vs Bulky

Standard Freight (roll-shape): Max. Measures & Weight

HermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
L: 100cmL: 120cmNo 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: 20cmD: 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)

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 difference 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 keeping product quality high, 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-shape): Max. Measures & Weight

TypeHermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
NationalIf product dimensions > standard measures for Roll shaped parcels,
item needs to be packed within rectangular format according
to Hermes XL – XXL sizes
L: 200cmSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes aboveSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes aboveSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes above
NationalD: 60cm
NationalGirth: 360cm
NationalWeight: according to rectangular
shapes of Hermes XL – XXL sizes
Weight: 31,5kg
International EURoll needs to fit within rectangular Hermes sizes XXS – LL: 200cmSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes aboveSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes aboveSee advice for standard measures of roll-shapes above
International EUD: 60cm
International EUGirth: 300 cm
International EUWeight: according to rectangular Hermes XXS – L sizesWeight: 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 naturally 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, a diameter of 60cm, and girth of 360cm. Hermes only allows smaller roll-shaped parcels (see the previous table) with a length of 100cm and a 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.

Other Service Levels CEP Providers

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

HermesDHLGLSDPDUPS
up to 4x times, then 12 days in parcel shopup to 2x times, then 7 days in parcel shopup to 2x times, then 10 days in parcel shopup to 3x times, then 7 days in parcel shopup to 3x times, 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

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

Additional Shipping Services for Bulky Freight


HermesDHLGLSDPD UPS
Express Servicenoyesyesyesyes
Insuranceincl. standard 500 EURincl. standard 500 EUR;
optional: up to
25.000 EUR possible
incl. standard 750 EURincl. standard 520 EURincl. standard 510 EUR
2-Man-Handlingyesyesnonono
Freight Transport
(on pallets)
noyesyesyesyes
Age & ID Verificationnoyesyesyesyes
Cash on Delivery (COD)noyesyesyesyes
No. of Delivery points16.00029.0005.5007.0005.100
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 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 for bulky goods and freight 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 annual volumes, shipping distance and speed.

For businesses, we recommend using a qualified logistics provider from our network of independent third-party logistics providers (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. Simply contact our team to find the right 3PL with best shipping quotes.

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 Freight 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. In the following, we will usual well known carrier companies (such as Dachser or Kühne & Nagel), but will show you two first-class alternatives that you may not have heard of yet.

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 International
iloxx
Max. Size
& Weight
L: 320cmL: 600cm
W: n.g.s.W: 120cm
H: n.g.sH: 200cm
Girth: 500cmGirth: 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
1. 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

2. CEP service providers differ in shipping costs and requirements, such as standard measurements, weight and additional services

3. 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 for your business.

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

Optimal Distribution 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.

If you like this deatiled guide, you may also want to check out our top resources on logistical solutions:

Author

Distribution Logistics Insights | Maximilian Nenning | everstox

Max and the marketing team at everstox take care of researching, evaluating and writing all logistics insights that we gather from our day-to-day operations. If you have any questions on our thought-led articles, guide’s or any other blog-related topic, feel free to get in touch with our team.

Maximilian Nenning

Head of Marketing

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