Whether you’re shipping large or small quantities, navigating the best shipping solution can be tricky.  Both ground and freight (LTL) are the most common and both have pros and cons. 

Understanding the difference between these shipping methods, especially when it comes to shipping extrusion, will make it much easier to decide what is right for you and your company. The standard rule of thumb is 150 pounds or less can ship ground, but with extrusion, it is not that simple, and you need to think outside of the box. 


Ground Shipping

Let’s start with ground shipping which of course, is UPS and FedEx. Faztek uses both to ship daily. Did you know they both charge surcharges for what they call “extreme length”?  Extreme lengths start at 48” boxes which means extrusion falls into this category. 

This can cost your company an additional $95 or more in surcharges but starts at an additional small fee for shorter pieces of extrusion.  

  • 48”-71” extrusion is subject to an additional $18.50 to $23.50
  • 96”-105” extrusion can jump anywhere from $135 to $200.00
  • Large packages are considered 130” packages and up. This is calculated by length x girth (2x width) + (2x height) which can add an additional $70 fee.

Both companies charge this surcharge, taking the length and girth into account. FedEx’s combined length and girth cannot exceed 130” and UPS’s cannot exceed 165”.  One last factor to consider when shipping ground is that each box can weigh no more than 50 pounds each so even a large quantity of extrusion in short lengths can end up being costly if there are multiple boxes. 


Freight/LTL Shipping

LTL shipping is far more complicated than ground shipping and is not cut and dry either. LTL takes into account weight, density, and distance. Oversize and extreme length thresholds and surcharges vary from carrier to carrier. 

The more prevalent, national carriers generally abide by a similar set of rules and constraints. Here is an example of what that might look like:

  • Tier 1: 8-12 linear feet = $150-$250 surcharge
  • Tier 2: 12-16 linear feet = $300-$450 surcharge 
  • Tier 3: 16-20 linear feet = $450+ surcharge 

LTL common carriers’ rules and regulations often change annually. The last couple of years carriers are having to adapt and make the changes needed for them to remain profitable. Faztek has seen roughly a 15%-25% increase in extreme length fees since 2021 and we expect to see a continued increase. 

Remember weight, density, and distance go into the cost of shipping LTL. While weight and distance are self-explanatory, density can be a bit tricky as it relates to freight classing. While density is the primary driver of determining freight class for most products, it is not a one-size-fits-all, especially where aluminum extrusion comes into play. 

There are 18 freight classes ranging from 50-500 which is an industry-wide numeric classification and aluminum extrusion does not fall into one specific classification. This is due to other factors involved such as stow ability, ease of handling, and liability. Let’s break those down. 

Stow ability refers to how shipments can be arranged with one another, in terms of spatial organization. Since Faztek offers extrusion up to 12’ long, this becomes a stow ability issue since it isn’t a simple square pallet. 

Ease-of-handling is regarding the dimensions and packaging type, which determines how easy a shipment is to handle, load, unload, and any other necessary handling tasks. Again, Faztek offers long bars, and our assemblies can be up to 8’ or even taller, which makes the ease of handling more difficult at times. 

Lastly, liability takes into account the product value, in conjunction with the fragility of transporting the product. Liability and ease of handling often go hand-in-hand. 

Aside from all these factors, fuel cost can cause rate fluctuations, as well as accessorial fees like limited access for drop off, liftgates, delivery appointments or inside delivery.


Faztek Shipping Estimates

As discussed, shipping estimates are quite volatile which is why Faztek only offers an estimate. We do not promise our customers something that we cannot control. Standard shipping rates are generally good for up to 7 days and typically remain relatively static. With shipping as it is right now, Faztek has seen shipping costs change daily and it is just as frustrating for us as it is for our customers. 

LTL tariffs can be subject to fluctuations throughout the year, based on a few factors such as carriers struggling to keep up with capacity, or general rate increases in specific areas to discourage more freight than they can handle from coming in. 

On the other hand, if a carrier is slow and they need to fill up trucks, they will lower their tariffs to entice customers to choose them to carry their product. 

Just keep in mind, volume is a large factor in the volatility of tariffs and this is based on the carrier’s current capacity and flow of freight. And It is also important to note that products shipping by ground can be put onto a freight truck so this can affect the ground rates as well. 

If you need to know how much shipping is going to cost you, we suggest waiting until you have actual weights and dimensions so that Faztek can give you an up-to-date cost when your order is ready to ship. If you need information on shipping before you can place your order, we can give you an estimate, but cannot guarantee that same price by the time your order is ready to ship. 

Don’t want to ship LTL because of cost or a residential address? Let Faztek custom cut your bars for you to avoid an LTL shipment. Not sure what length of extrusion you will need? Take a stock bar and simply have us cut in half for one cut charge instead of two and that 12’ bar becomes 2 6’ bars that can now ship ground instead of LTL. Still feel like your shipping estimate is too high? Faztek can give you estimated weights and dimensions, and we encourage you to seek out a carrier that will fit into your budget. 

The majority of Faztek’s regular customers use their own shipping accounts that they have special discounts with, that Faztek may not be able to get. Faztek does not upcharge our shipping charges or add extra fees, whatever we are charged from the carrier, the customer is charged that same amount.

While price is a major concern, our goal is that your product arrives without damage and this sometimes requires different packing styles. Contact us today to let Faztek help you navigate the perfect solution for your company.