The Pros and Cons of Ground Shipping

The Pros and Cons of Ground Shipping Some people are quick to dismiss ground shipping thinking it’s too slow, but it has its pros and cons just like any other shipping method, otherwise postal and courier companies wouldn’t offer this delivery option. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of ground shipping so that you can make an informed choice when selecting the most suitable shipping method.

Ground shipping, also known as standard shipping or economy shipping, is a delivery method where mailpieces are transported via roads or railroad – in other words, by land, with a few exceptions to areas that are only accessible by boats, such as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico in the United States. The main benefit of ground shipping is its affordability, but it has a few other pros; on the other hand, it has its cons as well.

Pro. Ground shipping is affordable. Ground shipping is typically a more budget-friendly option compared to air delivery for a number of reasons such as less personnel (a truck only needs one driver, while a plane needs an entire crew) and cheaper fuel.

Con. Ground shipping is slow. It should be noted that today ground shipping isn’t as slow as it used to be because postal and courier companies have the infrastructure and resources to deliver packages within a week. However, it generally takes 3 to 7 business days, depending on the distance, which isn’t fast enough for time-sensitive shipments. If you need same-day or overnight delivery, ground shipping is not the right option for you. Some carriers offer expedited ground shipping can deliver just as fast as air shipping, but it comes at a much higher cost than standard shipping.

Pro. Ground shipping is less affected by adverse weather conditions. While natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes do affect ground delivery, trucks and trains are more likely to get cleared for delivery during bad weather than air freight deliveries.

Con. When delays do occur, they have a bigger impact on the delivery schedule. Unless there is a natural disaster or another large-scale emergency, flight delays typically last for a few hours and don’t have a significant effect on the delivery schedule, while delays on the road caused by factors such as heavy traffic, road construction and multiple stops along the route can significantly increase the delivery time.

Pro. You can ship almost anything by ground. Air delivery has various restrictions when it comes to items that can or cannot be shipped, mainly due to safety concerns. These restrictions are imposed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and cannot be overruled by shipping companies. Ground shipping has much less restrictions; you can ship almost anything by ground as long as it’s legal. It’s also a great way to ship heavy or bulky items without it costing you a fortune because planes have more limited space.

Con. Ground shipping is more vulnerable to security concerns. All packages shipped by air must be screened, while packages intended to be delivered by truck are not screened as carefully. Because of this, ground shipping may be used to deliver illegal or dangerous items. Another concern is that ground shipments can be tampered with, damaged, lost or stolen, especially when a delivery truck makes multiple stops.

Pro. Ground shipments are easier to track. Many carriers offer near real-life tracking for ground shipments because the use of GPS and logistics databases makes it possible to determine the current location of a vehicle at any given moment.

Con. Ground shipping is not always available internationally. It is not always possible to deliver packages via ground internationally for objective reasons (you know, like large water bodies between continents). In such situations, international delivery is also referred to as overseas delivery. While last mile delivery will be done via ground, overseas packages have to be transported by air or by sea for a significant part of the route.