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The Cheapest Way to Ship Within Canada (Savings Guide 2024)

Aman Chopra
March 23, 2024

Finding the cheapest way to ship within Canada is a common concern, not just among Canadian online sellers but in the entire eCommerce industry. Since shipping plays a vital role in keeping your business afloat, it’s crucial to consider all the aspects influencing it.

Leaf through this article to find the cheapest shipping method and other relevant information to improve your business margins and shipping strategy.

Let’s dive in.

What is the cheapest way to ship across Canada?

Ground shipping is the cheapest way to ship across Canada. While it may involve longer transit times than expedited shipping, it presents budget-friendly shipping costs, especially when immediate package shipping isn’t needed.

cheapest way to ship within Canada for small parcels

What is the cheapest parcel shipping option for smaller items?

Ground shipping using LTL (Less-than-truckload) carriers is the cheapest parcel shipping option for smaller items within Canada. By opting for ground shipping, you’re capitalizing on cheap shipping while ensuring your packages reach their destination reliably. This method aligns perfectly with non-urgent domestic shipping.

We will discuss LTL and FTL in more detail below.

What is the cheapest way to ship larger items?

Shipping large items economically

Freight shipping becomes an important factor to consider when sending large or heavy packages that exceed the capability of regular domestic shipping services. Major shipping companies like FedEx and UPS extend their services to include freight delivery, providing a workable alternative at a cost-effective option.

This alternative suits substantial or unwieldy items, aligning seamlessly with your shipping requirements while focusing on reliable yet cheap shipping options.

You can choose between these shipping services for freight:

Less-Than-Truckload or LTL Shipping

LTL shipping is a shipping service presenting a practical solution when you ship parcels in relatively modest-sized freight. It involves transporting smaller loads that only require the capacity of part of the truck. Combining shipments into a single vehicle maximizes efficiency while optimizing space utilization and reducing shipping costs.

It is particularly advantageous for small businesses seeking to reduce shipping costs while accommodating varied shipment sizes. This approach emphasizes adaptability, efficiency, and affordability, and it perfectly satisfies the requirements of companies who handle different shipping volumes of freight without requiring a whole truckload of commitment.

Full-Truckload or FTL Shipping

FTL freight shipping is pivotal in the shipping and logistics landscape by catering to the movement of substantial cargo quantities that warrant using an entire trailer. This method benefits small businesses shipping high volumes of goods that can effectively utilize the total capacity of a truck.

With FTL shipping, the shipper bears the cost of the entire truck’s utilization, making it the cheapest way to ship bulk quantities. This process is marked by its directness, where freight is transported from one shipping to a singular destination without additional stops or detours. It enhances efficiency and ensures the goods remain secure and intact throughout their journey.

Domestic Shipping Rates From Major Carriers

Below are the major carriers’ sample rates for their cheapest option for shipments from Toronto to Vancouver for a package weighing 1kg with measurements of 15cm x 8cm x 5cm:

CarrierShipping OptionPricing (CAD)Transit Time
Canada PostRegular Parcel$28.057 business days
UPSUPS Standard$41.137 business days
FedExFedEx Ground$42.846 business days
PurolatorPurolator Ground$72.307 business days
CanparCanpar Ground$75.194 business days (not guaranteed)
StallionCanada Post Zone-Skip$9.625-7 business days

Find the cheapest domestic shipping rates today using our handy pricing calculator:

Get an estimate with our shipping calculator!

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Ship faster, smarter, and cheaper with Stallion

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How to Calculate Shipping Costs Accurately?

calculate shipping cost within Canada

For online retailers, finding the right shipping cost balance is crucial. Setting shipping rates too low cuts profits, while too high might push customers away. Several major carriers might offer free shipping, but they’ve planned this carefully. Thus, if you calculate shipping costs, you can give instant customer quotes.

This process involves setting shipping rates for each product and location. Though it requires effort, it builds trust and loyalty, boosting sales. Transparent shipping costs also enhance brand loyalty. So, providing varied shipping choices at different shipping rates can reduce cart abandonment, making customers feel in control and improving their shopping experience.

The four factors required to calculate shipping costs are:

  • Shipping origin and destination
  • Package weight, size, and dimension
  • Shipping service
  • Any add-ons

Shipping Origin and Destination

Indicate the package’s destination, including the city and ZIP code. Shipping providers use shipping zones to calculate shipping rates. Shipping zones measure the distance between a package’s origin to its destination. They are calculated based on where your package is shipped from, which means that two different points of origin shipping to the same destination may be sent to completely different zones.

Generally speaking, the farther a package goes, the higher the shipping costs are.

Package Weight, Size and Dimension

Shipping providers use dimensional weight (DIM weight) to decide shipping rates based on package size. DIM weight is calculated by multiplying package dimensions and dividing by a standard divisor. Major carriers like Canada Post, FedEx, and UPS determine charges using actual or DIM weight, choosing the higher value.

When evaluating shipping costs, it’s crucial to consider both size and weight because larger or heavier products cost more to send.

Shipping Service

Being Canada’s national postal service, let’s use Canada Post as an example. It offers competitive shipping options for you to choose from, from expedited shipping to package tracking.

You have a few options for shipping within Canada:

Regular Parcel. This courier service provides affordable ground shipping for packages in Canada, with tracking and delivery confirmation.

Xpresspost. With Xpresspost, you get faster delivery within Canada, with tracking and on-time delivery guarantees.

Priority. This is the quickest domestic shipping service, monitoring on-time delivery guarantees and next-day delivery to most locations.

Flat Rate Shipping. You can expect delivery within a week with flat-rate shipping, but the shipping rates are not connected with the item’s weight. This option allows you to ship up to 5 kg and includes package tracking.

Note – You can avail of highly discounted Canada Post rates through Stallion (versus going through Canada Post directly).

Additional Options

Additional options in shipping services can contribute to increased shipping costs. While these options provide valuable benefits, they come at an extra expense. Some other options include:

  • signature confirmation
  • additional handling fees
  • delivery to remote areas
  • Saturday or after-hours delivery
  • special packaging

It’s necessary to carefully evaluate these options based on your shipment’s specific needs and their value to your customers’ experience. You can make decisions aligning with your business objectives and shopper expectations by weighing the benefits they offer.

Why Are Shipping Costs Expensive in Canada?

Before discussing the cheapest way of shipping packages nationwide, let’s talk about the factors influencing the high shipping costs in Canada.

Geographical Size and Distance

cheapest way to ship across Canada

Canada’s geographical size and considerable distances between origin and destination are the factors that affect the shipping costs. Travelling long distances directly translates into increased operating costs, leading to increased fuel consumption, as vehicles, ships, or aircraft spend more time in operation.

Apart from these geographical challenges, planning routes becomes complicated, needing extra facilities like rest stops and storage places, adding more expenses. Efficient navigation and following rules from different areas also add to operating costs, plummeting shipping costs due to Canada’s big size and distance challenges.

Low Population Density

low population in Canada

Fewer customers translate to reduced shipping volumes in areas with low population density. This scarcity of demand leads to difficulties in spreading out the fixed transportation and logistics costs, causing individual shipping costs to rise.

As a result, most carriers need to raise their shipping rates to make up for the increased operating costs associated with each shipment. This further highlights the negative economic impact of Canada’s low population density on the cost-effectiveness of the shipping service.

Infrastructure Challenges

cheap shipping within Canada

Small remote towns or less accessible areas need specialized transportation modes like air or sea freight, which are fundamentally more expensive than conventional road transport or ground shipping. Poor road conditions in certain regions can also lead to longer transit times and increased vehicle wear and tear, increasing maintenance costs.

Meanwhile, limited transportation infrastructure in northern territories results in fewer route options, reducing competition and raising shipping rates. Additionally, weather-related disruptions, especially during harsh winters, can cause delays and require additional resources for navigation and safety, adding to operational expenses.

These infrastructure-related obstacles collectively elevate the shipping price as shipping companies adjust to the specialized modes, manage maintenance challenges, and allocate resources to adjust to the unique demands of Canada’s diverse landscape.

Weather and Climate

Canada's infrastructure challenges in delivery

Harsh winters with heavy snowfall and icy conditions make travel difficult, resulting in delays and the need for expensive weather-related adjustments. These adverse weather conditions demand specialized equipment and safety measures, increasing operational expenses. Furthermore, bad weather can lead to rerouting, interrupting supply chains, and increasing fuel consumption and time demands.

On the other hand, shipping in extreme cold can affect vehicle performance and increase maintenance requirements and expenses. Coastal regions face challenges from maritime weather, requiring vessels to navigate turbulent waters, impacting schedules and potentially raising package insurance premiums.

Limited Competition

Canada's limited courier services competition

The lack of shipping companies competing in Canada has reduced pressure to offer competitive rates, allowing major carriers to set higher prices without fear of losing customers. The absence of alternatives enables providers to maintain the shipping prices, especially in more secluded or less populated areas.

Due to the lack of market competition, fewer incentives exist to increase cost-effectiveness and shipping service quality. Customers have fewer options to compare rates and services, resulting in less negotiating power.

Fuel Costs

Canada's fuel costs

The rising of global oil prices directly influences transportation expenses, as fuel accounts for a significant portion of operational costs. When oil prices rise, shipping companies face increased fuel expenses, increasing overall shipping prices. Moreover, Canada’s vast geography amplifies the fuel costs effect, as longer distances require more fuel consumption. Plus, remote and northern areas often need specialized transportation modes that consume more fuel, compounding the expense.

How To Reduce Shipping Costs?

optimize packaging to reduce shipping costs

Let’s look at simple strategies to lower shipping expenses in your online store.

Optimize Packaging

Optimize your packaging by using lightweight materials that guarantee product protection. By reducing dimensional weight charges, it lowers overall shipping costs without compromising the reliability of the shipments.

Consolidate Shipments

Consolidate multiple orders into a single shipment to save money. This approach capitalizes on bulk shipping rates, substantially lowering individual shipping costs and fostering efficient resource utilization while maintaining reliable delivery standards.

Offer Free Shipping Thresholds

Set minimum purchase requirements for free shipping to encourage customers to make larger purchases. This method improves their shopping experience and reduces delivery costs due to the higher order value, encouraging cost-effectiveness and consumer satisfaction.

Choose Ground Shipping

Consider choosing ground shipping over air freight when immediate delivery isn’t vital. Ground options offer a cost-efficient alternative, as air freight generally charges higher. This prudent decision allows you to save time with budget considerations, optimizing shipping costs while maintaining service quality.

Avail Cheap Shipping Within Canada Via Stallion

cheap shipping within Canada by partnering with Stallion

Experience budget-friendly domestic shipping solutions within Canada through Stallion. You can save money with our cost-effective options that cater to your needs while ensuring reliable and timely delivery. With Stallion, you can enjoy affordable rates and save money for your shipments, optimizing your shipping budget without compromising quality.

Whether you’re sending packages locally or across provinces, Stallion focuses on economical solutions to make shipping hassle-free for eCommerce sellers shipping within Canada.

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

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