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Freight Shipping Clothing and Shoes for Retail

Resources > Freight Shipping Clothing and Shoes for Retail
Fashion moves fast. This means you need a partner who can work quickly when it comes to freight shipping clothing and shoes. See how we can help!
Published: February 22, 2021
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

Transportation is a huge factor in the fashion and textile industries. Freight shipping clothing and shoes for retail can be complicated, but it is necessary to keep business moving. After all, if the latest styles can’t get to stores and fulfillment centers, they won’t get into the hands of willing and eager consumers.

Freight shipping clothing involves transporting large quantities of goods to either retail stores or fulfillment centers. Imported clothing is picked up at a port and then transported to the warehouse or fulfillment center; U.S.-manufactured clothing travels from factory to warehouse to retail outlet or fulfillment center. You might use LTL (less than truckload) or truckload freight shipping to move clothing and shoes for retail.

Ready to learn more about freight shipping clothing and shoes for retail? Understand what qualifies as freight shipping, when you need freight shipping for clothing and shoes, the difference between freight and parcel shipping, how to package clothes for freight shipping, and how a strategic freight ally can help make the process easy.

What Qualifies as Freight Shipping?


According to most shipping companies, any shipment over 150 lbs qualifies as freight shipping. This means that freight shipping is best for when you are moving a large amount of goods or are shipping items in bulk. 

Freight shipping might refer to goods move by air, sea, rail, or truck. USA Truckload Shipping, which is powered by R+L Global Logistics, focuses on truckload freight shipping. 

There are two general choices for your business when it comes to freight shipping by truck: LTL or full truckload. LTL, or less than truckload, is a solid choice when you are only moving a couple pallets of goods. An LTL shipment might weigh as little as 150 lbs or as much as 15,000 lbs. Your freight will travel on a truck with other shipments.

On the other hand, a full truckload is exactly what it sounds like. Your shipment will travel on a dedicated truck. A full truckload can hold as much as 26 pallets or up to 45,000 lbs. That might sound like a lot, but it can add up quite quickly when moving clothing for retail or shipping other items in bulk. 

Full truckload freight shipping also comes with a few other benefits. In addition to moving a large shipment, full truckload freight can be faster than LTL freight. This is because your freight is on a dedicated truck and stops along the way for other deliveries just won’t happen. Full truckload freight can also be a more affordable option for a large single shipment when compared to multiple LTL shipments.

What’s the Difference Between Freight Shipping Clothing and Parcel Shipping?

Many fashion and clothing retailers utilize both freight shipping and parcel shipping. While freight shipping is a solid option for getting a large quantity of goods to a warehouse, fulfillment center, or retail store, your business might rely on parcel shipping to get goods to end customers.

Basically, freight shipping is often the top choice when shippers need B2B (business to business) shipments. A freight shipment might contain goods moving from the manufacturer to a warehouse or a warehouse to a fulfillment center. Freight shipments of clothing are often on pallets or in bales. Remember, freight shipments generally weigh more than 150 lbs.

Parcel shipping is often used for B2C (business to consumer) shipments. You might use parcel shipping when shipping out an order to an individual. If you are an online retailer, you might use parcel shipping to send goods from the fulfillment center to your end customer at their home address. You might see carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, or LaserShip handling parcel delivery or packages. 

In the most general terms, parcel shipping can be used for any shipment under 150 lbs. However, individual shipping companies might have their own rules and prefer smaller shipments. For example, according to United States Postal Service (USPS) rules, the agency won’t handle a parcel in excess of 70 lbs.

In some cases, you might choose LTL shipping over parcel shipping even if your package weighs less than the limit. For example, you might choose to ship multiple items to a single address in a crate or on a pallet to ensure proper and timely delivery. Shipping multiple parcels separately could result in shipping errors, which could be eliminated by a large, single shipment.

Parcel shipping often is the very last leg of the supply chain. You might hear parcel shipping sometimes referred to as last-mile delivery. 

When Should I Use Freight Shipping for Clothing and Shoes?


Freight shipments for clothing are often best reserved for large B2B or commercial shipments. You might rely on freight shipping clothing and shoes if you are a retailer, manufacturer, reseller, distributor, wholesaler, or other business in the fashion or textile industry. Using freight shipping for clothing in these situations will help you cost-effectively move goods across the country and can help you keep shipping costs down.

It is a fact:  fashion moves fast. In fact, some consumers demand to be on the cutting edge of the latest styles, which means that some retailers put out up to 52 “micro seasons” each year. This means new styles make it to stores and distribution centers each week, so clothes and shoes are constantly in need of transport.

When fashion moves this fast, possible freight shipping solutions include full truckload and expedited services. These options let retailers make sure they have the newest styles in-store and in-warehouse for both in-person and online consumers.

With so many situations in which freight shipping clothing and shoes works for business, it is also important to look at when not to use freight shipping for your clothes.

When NOT To Use Freight Shipping for Clothing and Shoes


If you’re shipping small items -- like a single order from an online store, for example -- you might opt for a parcel shipping service. Other situations in which a parcel service might be a better option for your clothing shipment include:

  • Transporting a box of clothes for a personal move
  • Sending an order from your business to an individual consumer
  • Shipping a small quantity of goods to a boutique or small business
  • Shipping a wedding dress to Hawaii for a destination wedding

Basically, freight shipping is likely the best option for large, bulk, or B2B shipments; parcel shipping is best reserved for B2C or smaller shipments.

Freight and parcel shipments are experiencing delays. See how to overcome and get your shipment on time. Learn more about freight shipping delays.

How to Package Clothing for Freight Shipping


In most cases, freight shipping clothing and shoes for retail involves palletizing your goods. Palletizing clothing and shoes refers to placing the items on a wooden or plastic shipping pallet for easy transport. Depending on the type of clothing and ultimate destination, clothing might be baled or boxed before being placed on a pallet.

How big is a pallet of clothing? Well, generally speaking, pallets come in 3 sizes/varieties: 

  1. Wood pallet: measures 45-inches x 48-inches
  2. Standard wood pallet: 40-inches x 48-inches
  3. Plastic pallet: 40-inches x 48-inches

Pallets come in uniform sizes to make transport and storage easy. Once in a warehouse or fulfillment center, pallets are stored on standard size racks. This makes picking orders easy for fulfillment workers.

Packing clothing in boxes is a good idea, too. You might place individual items in plastic bags, the bagged items in boxes. The boxes are then stacked on the pallet and surrounded with packing material to keep the shipment secure. Tissue paper, bubble wrap, and other materials might be used when packing in boxes.

In most cases, a shipping label will be affixed to each pallet. This is especially useful for LTL shipments. A full truckload shipment might require the carrier to rely on the Bill of Lading to get the shipment to its destination.

Freight shipping palletized clothing might be among the cheapest ways to ship goods cross country or as needed for your business. How much does freight shipping clothing and shoes? It depends on your shipment needs. The best way to determine cost is to work with a freight partner and obtain a truckload shipping rate quote

Freight Shipping Clothing With a Strategic Ally

Are you ready to get a freight rate quote and book your next shipment with a strategic ally? USA Truckload Shipping is here to go to work for you. Our proven track record of 99.5% on-time delivery lets you ship with confidence and more.

From picking up a shipment of imported fashion or textiles at the port of entry to delivering your goods to the fulfillment center, we’re ready to offer our expertise when it comes to freight shipping clothing. We know your industry inside and out and can provide expert advice along the way. No matter whether you need freight shipping from California to New York or along any other route, let us help.

R+L Global Logistics can even offer full-scale logistics solutions. This means you can count on us and our network of experts when you need help importing goods with customs clearance, shipping freight, warehousing goods, fulfilling orders, and much more. We can even help with picking and packing to get your retail order ready to go to your treasured customers.

Reach out to R+L Global Logistics when you need help with freight shipping clothing and shoes for retail. Our friendly agents are standing by and ready to provide solutions. Call (866) 353-7178 now.

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