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What Does Ground Shipping Mean?

What Does Ground Shipping Mean?

Literally speaking, ground shipping means 'shipped by ground', i.e., cargo that is delivered in trucks (by road) and not in a flight. This Buzzle article will explain what ground shipping means.
Buzzle Staff
Quick Info
UPS ground services provide Time-in-Transit maps (colored maps of the U.S.), which illustrate the transit days that are required for delivery within the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
When you order/purchase products, they are transported and delivered through planes, ships, and trucks. Transportation companies do have sufficient choices for regular and quick delivery. You may have heard of the expedited shipping option, through which goods are delivered in the shortest time possible, say one or two days.
In general, product delivery takes around a week and much more, depending on the product. Ground shipping is a service where goods are transported by road, i.e, consequently, they take quite some time to be delivered. The paragraphs below provide an overview of ground shipping.
How Does it Work?
  • When an item is ordered by the customer, the item is packaged to be sent through the mailing or courier service.
  • The ground shipping postage (this is very important) is imprinted on the item. This may be done at any retail outlet or an in-house mailing service area.
  • The designated carrier picks up the package for shipping.
  • At the shipping center, the packages are transported in trucks to warehouses or similar areas and sorted according to their destinations.
  • Post sorting, the packages are transferred to ground shipment trucks and sent to other sorting facilities closer to the destination. This continues until the trucks reach the desired destination.
  • Ground shipping time varies according to the company and product that you have chosen.
  • It also varies according to the service―courier or postal service.
  • The price and time also vary as per the source, destination, and the package weight.
  • Heavy packages are transported through freight services. These shipments are transported via trains or trailers.
  • If you are provided a tracking number by the company, you can find out where your package is and how long will it take to reach your doorstep.
  • While air-shipping takes a maximum of 1 or 2 days, ground shipping may take as long as 8 days.
  • Ground shipping costs also vary as per the company. Shipping services are akin to third-party expenses; prices vary among the merchants.
Types of Ground Shipping
Standard Ground Shipping
  • It is just another term used for ground shipping―it denotes transportation by land.
  • Packages delivered by means of standard ground shipping are delivered via trucks, vans, and trains.
  • It covers all the 50 states in the country and some other countries as well, depending on the company.
  • In certain cities, companies employ messengers in cars and bikes as well, in order to transport goods.
Free Ground Shipping
  • It involves product delivery via land, but free of cost.
  • It is a service offered by many websites as a purchase incentive.
  • To avail free ground shipping, your purchase order must exceed a certain limit.
  • Free ground shipping options are more like service promotions, chosen by companies to make their website more attractive to buyers and to gain a competitive edge.
Benefits
  • Cost-effectiveness is a major advantage. Ground shipping is a cheaper alternative to air-shipping.
  • Companies, like FedEx provide a money-back guarantee if the package does not arrive by the scheduled date.
  • Many companies provide multiple delivery attempts and door-to-door delivery as well.
  • In case of very large and heavy-weight packages, air-shipping is not a convenient option; ground shipping then comes to the rescue. It uses freight transportation like tractors, rail, trailers, etc.
FedEx
  • It is one of the biggest courier delivery services companies in the world that also provides ground shipping services.
  • Since people prefer to use those services that provide them with a definitive delivery date, FedEx offers a special ground delivery service that delivers the package exactly on the designated date.
  • The FedEx ground shipping time is between one to five days. If the package does not arrive on the designated date, FedEx offers a money-back guarantee.
  • It also offers a home delivery service―this is used when merchants offer free ground shipping services.
  • It also takes between one to five days, and delivers from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Home delivery services can transport packages up to 70 pounds.
USPS
  • The USPS ground shipping time generally varies between one to eight days, which is why it has fewer services exclusively for ground shipping.
  • The USPS parcel post is one service used by direct mail companies that offer free ground shipping.
  • Products bought online or the ones purchased on a trial basis and with a money-back guarantee use the USPS parcel post.
  • This service is a cheaper alternative to priority mail. It is used by many e-commerce websites offering free shipping as a part of their service.
  • The company also offers a service called 'USPS media mail'. It is also a parcel service and has a delivery time between 2 to 8 days.
  • Media mail is mostly used by publishing companies and websites that ship books.
UPS
  • Many businesses use UPS after the purchase order crosses a threshold of USD 50.
  • The reason being, like FedEx, UPS also uses date-specific delivery, i.e., e-commerce companies and similar businesses will know exactly when the package will reach the customer.
FedEx, UPS, and USPS are the best providers of ground shipping. They have a variety of service options and resources, which customers can choose as per their convenience. As mentioned in the benefits, these companies use ground shipping primarily as a cost-effective tool.