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Heavy, Large or Unusually Shaped Item Shipping

Understand the factors you need to consider when shipping big items like pallets or importing inventory as freight


Large Item Shipping

As a small or medium-sized business owner, you may find yourself with an unusually shaped or heavy shipment that crosses over into freight weight, or you might need to import a collection of items to sell to your customers. This article will help with:

  • Exploring large and heavy item shipping
  • Understanding freight shipping for small businesses
  • Partnering with DHL

Exploring Large and Heavy Item Shipping


If you have a single large item or even a pallet, your regular parcel shipper may be capable of handling that type of shipment for an additional cost. 

However, if you are using your local postal service you may be more limited. For some postal services an oversized shipment is more than 108 in./275 cm combined length and girth and they cannot take a shipment over 130 in./330 cm. Heavy shipping is often considered to be more than 70 lbs./31.5 kg. 

If your current shipper can't handle your heavy, large or unusually shaped items, you may want to first explore a similar parcel shipper with a wider range of capabilities, before you venture into contacting a freight forwarder. 

Within the shipping industry, any shipment of more than 150 lbs. or 68 kg is considered freight. Freight can be a single large item, or many items collected and packaged as part of a pallet.  

When it comes to preparing your larger shipment, you'll want to consider: stackability, forkability, and tilt, shock and vibration prevention. Your shipment may be able to be boxed, crated or palletized. But if you're stacking items on a pallet, you'll want to consider stacking design and edge protection as well as shrink wrapping or banding.  

For more information about how to ship heavy or large items and preparing a large or palletized shipments, download our packing guide.

Understanding Freight Shipping for Small Businesses


If your shipment is too large or heavy for a parcel shipper or you need additional collection services like dock pickup, you may need to consider a freight forwarder. 

A freight forwarding company works as an intermediary between you and the company with the planes, ships, trucks or rail cars that will move your freight. Because these companies aggregate shipments from many customers, they can negotiate better rates with the owners and operators of the mode of transport. 

Most freight forwarding companies move things in pallets or large shipping containers. But that doesn’t mean you need to have a full shipping container before you can use a freight forwarder. Freight forwarding companies offer services like Full Container Loads (FCL) or Full Truck Load (FTL), as well as Less than Container Load (LCL) or Partial Truck Load (PTL). 

Many freight forwarders also offer shipment consolidation services, so multiple orders can be bundled from various customers or suppliers in single or multi-country origin locations, and loaded into dedicated Full-Container-Load (FCL) containers. So there are lots of options to consider when you are working with a freight forwarder. 

Since freight shipping is a complicated subject with lots to learn about, our team of experts from DHL Global Forwarding developed a Freight Forwarding Education Center to teach you all about it. From the size of containers and vessels to the ins and outs of Freight Liability, explore the DHL Global Forwarding Education Center.

DHL Capabilities


With service to 220+ countries and territories and more than 200 years of freight forwarding experience, we have unparalleled experience and reliability in moving your large or heavy items. 

If you are looking to move a single heavy item,  large item or single pallet, our options depend on where you are located.  In the United States we offer:

DHL Express

Our door-to-door expedited shipping service offers business customer pallet shipment and freight services. Connect with the DHL Experts in your country and they will help you streamline these shipments.

DHL Freight

Available in Europe, DHL Freight offers robust road freight with daily shipments connecting major European business centers with residential delivery and various speed and cost-effective options.

If you interested in import services to a warehouse or business address, we offer:

DHL Global Forwarding

Our freight forwarding company DHL Global Forwarding offers a range of services including: air freight, ocean freight, rail freight, customs brokerage and customs consulting. With full load, partial load and consolidation services, our local teams around the world can help you navigate the complexities and cost of freight shipping. 

DHL Freight

DHL Freight also offers European road and rail services with various speed and cost-effective options available, as well as high value, cold chain, customs brokerage and customs consulting. If you are moving freight within Europe, DHL Freight has many reliable and cost-effective options to consider. 

Contact Our Shipping Experts

We know costs and service level questions are probably top of mind. Our shipping experts are ready to answer any of your questions. Tell us a little bit more about your shipping needs, so we can connect you with the right expert. 

Real World Examples


Let’s hear from some customers who have used DHL for Freight and Specialty Shipping.