A long thing, or a short guide on long parcels

The first and most important tip: don’t send items longer than 200 centimetres by courier, if you don’t have to. The reason is quite simple: it may turn out that shipping costs are greater than the value of the goods being shipped. In addition, transport damage occurs much more often with long packages. However, if you have no choice, read this text. We advise you on how to deal with shipping a log.

There are no universal rules for log shipments – each carrier uses its own methods of handling parcels of above-standard length. Not only the maximum dimensions of parcels are different, but also the understanding of what a long parcel is. Whenever possible, it’s best to call a consultant or use price calculators on carriers’ websites.

What matters is the size, not just the length

The terms of service of courier companies are not a riveting read. Therefore, it is much better to use solutions such as the one offered by DHL, i.e. the shipping price calculator. It does not require logging in or meeting any other conditions. You may just enter the dimensions and weight of the shipment, click and a moment later you will learn not only how much you will pay, but also what shipment will be refused. The user-friendly software explains in detail why it will not accept parcels with dimensions e.g. 410 x 100 x 90 cm (length / width / height), while it will accept on with dimensions of 400 x 100 x 100 cm. It turns out that if you want to send a log by DHL, you have to comply with two restrictions: the package cannot be longer than 400 cm, and the sum of all dimensions cannot exceed 600 cm. It is probably the largest size of a long parcel to be shipped by a big and well-known carrier.

Just visit the UPS website to compare (https://www.ups.com/pl/en/help-center/packaging-and-supplies/weight-size.page?). Here you will learn that a shipment of a package which length and girth combined [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] is up to 400 cm and whose length does not exceed 274 cm, will be priced within UPS standard rates. This means that the package described above (400 x 100 x 100 cm) will be subject to an Over Maximum Limits charge. The longest package you can ship without extra charges will have dimensions close to 274 x 31.5 x 31.5 cm, i.e. 274 cm in length and 126 cm in girth.

TNT uses a very simplified, but useful way to check the maximum dimensions of a parcel (https://www.tnt.com/express/en_au/site/how-to/calculate-size-and-weight.html). The company provides a list of types of services together with the maximum package dimensions, i.e. 2.4 x 1.2 x 1.5 m. Simple, but very comfortable and legible.

It is worth remembering that in the case of large, non-standard or long parcels, you must expect to calculate the dimensional weight rather than the actual weight. By sending logs, i.e. packages over 2 m in length, you can expect 100 kg for every metre of such a package regardless of the actual weight.

How to pack a log?

If you choose a courier who will handle the shipping of your log parcel, you have to make sure that the goods to be shipped are well packed. Long packages are, by nature, unwieldy and therefore much more vulnerable to damage during travel due to potential falls, bumps or bending, and even breakage.

The packaging should be strong (i.e. the content cannot get through it) and rigid (protection against excessive bending). If possible, it should be equipped with handles for easy carrying. For rigid and impact-resistant items, you may simply apply bubble wrap and stretch wrap, unless a cardboard box is required by the carrier.

It is also important to properly mark the parcel and – if it contains some high-value goods – it is worth buying additional insurance. You should also remember that in many cases (especially when land transport is involved) it is much safer and not much more expensive to rent a van or a suitable trailer and to carry your goods yourself.