What’s The Cheapest Way to Ship a Pallet in the US?

Shipping a pallet can be a costly endeavor, especially for businesses that rely on the transportation of large quantities of goods regularly. However, with strategic planning and a good understanding of the shipping industry, it’s possible to find cost-effective solutions.

This comprehensive guide explores various aspects and strategies to find the cheapest way to ship a pallet, drawing insights from industry practices and expert tips.

Understanding Pallet Shipping

Before diving into cost-saving strategies, it’s essential to understand what pallet shipping involves. Pallets are flat transport structures — typically made of wood, plastic, or metal — that support goods in a stable fashion while they are being lifted by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other jacking devices.


Pallet shipping is commonly used for large or heavy items and bulk quantities that need to be transported either domestically or internationally.


Key Elements of Pallet Shipping:

  1. Pallet Selection: The choice of pallet material (wood, plastic, metal) depends on factors like cost, durability, and the nature of the goods being shipped.
  2. Loading and Stacking: Goods must be carefully stacked and balanced on the pallet to prevent damage during transit.
  3. Securing the Load: Shrink wrap, straps, and other securing materials are used to ensure that the items stay in place.
  4. Labeling and Documentation: Proper labeling and documentation are essential for tracking and compliance with shipping regulations.

Benefits of Pallet Shipping

Pallet shipping offers numerous advantages, making it a popular choice for businesses and logistics operations.

Efficiency in Handling and Storage:

  • Streamlined Loading and Unloading: Pallets allow for the rapid movement of goods, reducing labor costs and time.
  • Optimized Storage Space: Goods on pallets can be easily stacked, maximizing warehouse space.

Enhanced Safety and Damage Reduction:

  • Reduced Handling: Less handling of individual items lowers the risk of damage and workplace injuries.
  • Stability and Protection: Pallets provide a stable base, protecting goods from potential damage during transport.

Improved Transport and Delivery:

  • Easier Transportation: Palletized goods are easier to transport, allowing for more efficient loading into trucks, containers, or cargo bays.
  • Compatibility with Shipping Systems: Pallets are designed to be compatible with modern logistics systems, including automated warehouses and conveyor belts.


  • Economies of Scale: Shipping in bulk on pallets can be more cost-effective than individual shipments.
  • Reduced Shipping Costs: Efficient packing and loading can lower transportation costs.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Pallet?

The cost of shipping a pallet varies based on several factors. Understanding these can help you estimate the expenses involved.


Key Cost Determinants:

  1. Size and Weight: The dimensions and weight of the pallet impact shipping costs. Heavier and larger pallets cost more.
  2. Distance: The farther the shipment needs to travel, the higher the cost.
  3. Freight Class: Determined by factors like density, storage ease, and value, the freight class affects pricing.
  4. Delivery Speed: Expedited shipping incurs higher costs.
  5. Pickup and Delivery Locations: Remote or hard-to-reach areas may have additional fees.
  6. Additional Services: Services like liftgate delivery or inside delivery add to the cost.

Cost Estimation:

  • Average Cost: The average cost to ship a pallet can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on the above factors.
  • Quotes and Comparisons: It’s advisable to get quotes from multiple carriers and use freight calculators to estimate costs.

Additional Pallet Cost-Saving Tips

  1. Negotiate Rates: Don’t hesitate to negotiate with carriers, especially if you ship frequently or in large volumes.
  2. Avoid Accessorial Charges: Be aware of extra services like liftgate service, inside delivery, or limited access delivery, as these can significantly increase costs.
  3. Off-Peak Shipping: Some carriers offer lower rates during their less busy times, like mid-week days or certain seasons.
  4. Consolidation Services: If your shipment doesn’t require a full pallet, consider consolidation services where your goods can be shipped with others’ items going to the same destination.
  5. Insurance: Ensure you have the right amount of insurance. Over-insuring increases costs, while under-insuring can be risky.
  6. Relationship with Carriers: Building a long-term relationship with a carrier can lead to better rates and discounts.
  7. Use Backhaul Opportunities: Some carriers offer lower rates to fill their trucks on return trips (backhauls). This can be a cheaper option, though it might come with less flexibility in timing.
  8. Check for Membership Discounts: If you’re a member of certain business or trade groups, you might have access to discounted shipping rates.
  9. Regional Carriers: Sometimes, regional carriers can offer lower rates for shorter distances.

PalletPath by Pick Tracking

PalletPath is a specialized tracking solution designed to enhance the efficiency and transparency of pallet shipping.

Overview of PalletPath:

  • Real-Time Tracking: PalletPath provides real-time tracking of pallets, giving shippers and recipients up-to-date information on the location and status of their shipments.
  • Integration with Logistics: The system integrates seamlessly with existing logistics and supply chain management systems.

Features and Benefits:

  1. Enhanced Visibility: Users can monitor their pallets throughout the shipping process, improving planning and management.
  2. Data Accuracy: PalletPath ensures accurate data collection, which is crucial for inventory management and forecasting.
  3. Improved Security: Real-time tracking helps mitigate the risk of theft and loss.
  4. User-Friendly Interface: The system offers a user-friendly interface, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

Factors Affecting Pallet Shipping Costs

  1. Weight and Size of the Pallet: Heavier and larger pallets typically cost more to ship due to the amount of space they occupy and the effort required for transportation.
  2. Distance of Transport: Longer shipping distances increase fuel costs, contributing to higher overall shipping rates.
  3. Freight Class: Determined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, the freight class considers factors like weight, size, density, storage capability, and handling.
  4. Speed of Delivery: Expedited shipping services cost more than standard delivery times.
  5. Destination Accessibility: Deliveries to remote or hard-to-reach locations may incur additional charges.
  6. Additional Services: Services like liftgate delivery, inside delivery, or limited access delivery can add to the cost.


How much does it cost to send a pallet?

The cost of sending a pallet varies based on several factors:

  1. Size and Weight: Heavier and larger pallets typically cost more to ship.
  2. Distance: Longer distances increase shipping costs.
  3. Freight Class: Determined by factors like density, stowability, handling, and liability.
  4. Speed of Delivery: Expedited shipping services are more expensive.
  5. Additional Services: Services like liftgate delivery, inside delivery, or limited access delivery can add to the cost.
  6. Carrier and Route: Different carriers and routes (e.g., less congested routes) might offer varying rates.

On average, the cost can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. It’s best to get quotes from multiple carriers for a more accurate estimate.

Can I send a pallet with DHL?

Yes, you can send a pallet with DHL. DHL provides freight transportation services, including pallet shipping, both domestically and internationally. They offer various freight services like road, rail, air, and ocean transport. For specific services and rates, it’s advisable to contact DHL directly or visit their website.

How do I ship a pallet internationally?

To ship a pallet internationally, follow these steps:

  1. Choose an International Carrier: Select a carrier with international shipping services like DHL, FedEx, or UPS.
  2. Determine Shipping Needs: Consider the size, weight, and urgency of your shipment.
  3. Prepare Documentation: Complete necessary customs paperwork, including a commercial invoice, packing list, and any required export forms.
  4. Pack and Label the Pallet: Securely pack your items on the pallet and label it correctly for international shipping.
  5. Arrange for Pickup or Delivery: Schedule a pickup with the carrier or deliver the pallet to a shipping terminal.
  6. Track the Shipment: Utilize tracking services to monitor your pallet’s journey.

Can FedEx ship pallets?

Yes, FedEx offers pallet shipping services. They provide freight shipping for palletized items domestically and internationally. FedEx Freight services include options for different delivery speeds and specific handling requirements. For details on service options and pricing, it’s recommended to consult FedEx’s official website or contact their customer service.

Does Amazon ship pallets?

Amazon, primarily an e-commerce platform, does handle pallet shipments, particularly for its large-scale operations like Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and bulk orders from Amazon Business. For individual customers or small-scale sellers, Amazon’s logistics services generally focus on parcel shipping.

However, for larger vendors or those using Amazon’s warehousing and fulfillment services, pallet shipping is a common practice.

Can you air ship a pallet?

Yes, it is possible to air ship a pallet. Air freight is a fast but typically more expensive way to ship pallets, especially for international shipments. It’s suitable for urgent deliveries or high-value goods.

When choosing air shipping, consider factors like cost, speed, and the specific requirements of your cargo (e.g., if the goods are perishable or fragile). Contact airlines or freight carriers that offer air cargo services for specific details and rates.


Pallet shipping plays a pivotal role in global trade and logistics. Its benefits in terms of efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness are undeniable. The cost to ship a pallet can vary widely, but understanding the factors that influence pricing can help businesses budget more effectively.

Innovations like PalletPath by Pick Tracking are revolutionizing how businesses track and manage their pallet shipments, offering enhanced visibility, security, and integration with existing systems. As the world of logistics continues to evolve, solutions like PalletPath will become increasingly crucial in managing the complexities of pallet shipping.