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Understanding Weight Limits for the Major Carriers in Canada

Aman Chopra
November 3, 2023

If you're a Canadian business involved in shipping and logistics, you're in the right place. Let this guide address the unique challenges that Canadian sellers encounter: understanding the weight limits of the major carriers in Canada, whether shipping products within your province, across the United States, or even internationally and understanding the ins and outs of weight limit is vital.

You'll see how these limits affect your day-to-day operations, providing tips on calculating and optimizing your cargo weight and figuring out the legal and logistical aspects you need to know for smooth shipping in the Canadian market. Let's get started!

What is the carrier weight limit?

It refers to the maximum weight a vehicle can legally carry to transport goods. These limits are in place to ensure road safety, protect infrastructure, and comply with regulations. Canadian sellers must consider when planning and executing their shipping operations.

What are the package dimensions and weight limits for major carriers?

For individuals and businesses engaged in shipping and logistics, having a comprehensive understanding of the package dimensions and weight restrictions imposed by major carriers is essential to ensure successful, economical, and compliant shipping operations.

Canada Post Weight Limit

Canada Post truck

The weight limits for parcels sent through Canada Post vary depending on the destination. The maximum weight for a package shipping within Canada or the United States is 30 kg (66 lb). Meanwhile, the maximum weight for international packages is also 30 kg.

Still, it's crucial to remember that additional weight restrictions may apply based on the specific laws and regulations of the destination country. Examining the weight constraints and any other potential limitations for your chosen overseas shipping destination is advised to ensure efficient and legal parcel delivery.

You can review the table below for specific size and weight restrictions:


Length140 mm380 mm
Width90 mm270 mm
Height1 mm20 mm
Length + girthNot applicableNot applicable
Weight50 g1.36 kg


Length230 mm2 m
Width200 mm2 m
Height25 mm2
Length + girthExceeds the maximum dimension or weight of a packet3 m
Weight100 g30 kg

Mailing Tube

Size100 mm x 23 mm x 23 mm2m x 2m x 2m
Length + girthExceeds the maximum dimension or weight of a packet3 m
Weight50 g30 kg

1. Oversized items

A surcharge is applied to all items classified as oversized to ensure a fair and consistent shipping policy. An item falls into the Oversize category if it meets one of the following criteria:

  • It has any dimension that exceeds 1 meter (equivalent to 39.4 inches).
  • It measures more than 76 centimetres (approximately 30 inches) along its second-longest side.

This surcharge is imposed to account for the additional handling and space requirements necessitated by larger items, guaranteeing that shipping costs align with the size and demands of the transported packages.

2. Out-Of-Spec Surcharge

An item is categorized as "out-of-spec" if it surpasses the designated maximum size or weight outlined in the tables above. When an item is out of spec, a surcharge will be applied as part of Canada Post's shipping policy. It's crucial to understand that Canada Post has the right to take various actions, including refusing the item, returning it to the shipper, or proceeding with the delivery while applying additional fees to account for the non-standard shipment.

FedEx Weight Limit

FedEx weight limit depends upon the service you opt for, ensuring the shipping experience aligns with the specific needs of your package. For example, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, and FedEx Express maintain a maximum weight allowance of 68 kg (150 lbs) for commercial or residential purposes. On the other hand, FedEx Freight has a higher weight capacity, accommodating substantial cargo weights of up to 9072 kg (20,000 lbs).

Here are the points to remember when shipping with FedEx.

  • With FedEx Express® services, you can send packages weighing up to 68 kg (150 lbs), up to 274 cm (108 in) in length, and 330 cm (130 in) in length and girth.
  • With FedEx Express® Freight Services, you can ship skids weighing 68 kg (150 lbs.) or more. However, skids exceeding 997 kg (2,200 lbs.), 178 cm (70 in) in height, 302 cm (119 in) in length, or 203 cm (80 in) in width need prior approval. FedEx Freight® shipments, whether palletized or non-palletized, can weigh up to 9071.8 kg (20,000 lbs.)and measure up to 6.4 meters (21 feet) in length.
  • When using FedEx Ground® services, you can send packages weighing up to 68 kg (150 lbs.), with dimensions of up to 274 cm (108 in) in length and around 419 cm (165 in) when you combine the length with the girth measurement.
  • If your package exceeds 34 kg (75 lbs.), affix yellow and black safety heavyweight labels at the diagonal corners. You can obtain these labels by contacting your FedEx Express courier, your FedEx account executive, or the nearest FedEx Ship Centre.

Purolator Weight Limit

Purolator sets a standard carrier weight limit of 68 kg (150 lbs.) for all shipments. If the packages exceed this weight, they fall into the category of being over the limit, and, as a result, Purolator will not be able to accept them for delivery. This weight restriction ensures consistency and compliance with safety standards in Purolator's shipping operations.

Note that there are also guidelines to follow for special handling enhancements:

Special Handling Enhancements

Special Handling TypeDefinition and Parameters
Flat PackageThe longest side must be greater than 45.72 cm (18 in) and equal to or less than (48 in), while the shortest side should be equal to or less than 5.08 cm (2 in).
Additional HandlingItems with high-risk contents that are not packaged in compliance with Purolator's approved standards or unboxed items (such as pails, crates, etc.).
OversizedWeight should be more than 22.68 kg (50 lbs.) but no greater than 68.04 kg (150 lbs.), or the longest side must exceed 121.92 cm (48 in) while remaining equal to or less than 274.32 (108 in).
Residential Area HeavyweightWeight exceeding 31.75 kg (70 lbs.) and delivery to sparsely populated residential areas.
Large PackageGirth should be greater than 330.20 cm (130 in) but no more than 419.10 cm (165 in).
Over Maximum LimitWeights exceeding 68.04 kg (150 lbs.), girth surpassing 419.10 cm (165 in), or the longest side extending beyond 274.32 cm (108 in).

DHL Weight Limit

DHL enforces a standard 70 kg (154 lbs.) limit for all shipments. Packages exceeding this limit cannot be accepted for delivery, ensuring uniformity and safety in DHL's shipping process.

You can check the table below for more information:

Standard Shipment

Minimum measurement per unit15 cm11 cm3.5 cm
Maximum measurement per unit(for terminal-based transport)240 cm120 cm220 cm
Maximum measurement per unit for shipments with tail lift220 cm120 cm220 cm
Minimum weight per unitNo limit (except those pertaining to vehicle capacities and local country laws.)
Maximum weight per unit1 kg per item/package (international)
Maximum weight per unit for shipments with tail lift7.5 kg per item/package
  • Please be aware that for shipments to and from the United Kingdom, the maximum allowable height is 200 cm when utilizing terminal-based transportation.
  • Shipments exceeding the specified maximum measurements and/or weight cannot be accommodated for the Eurapid Service.

Standard Trailer Dimensions and Weight

Outside Dimensions13.67 m2.50 m (2.55 m - Temperature-controlled)2.70 m
Inside dimensions13.5 m2.48 m2.63 m
Maximum weight capacity per trailer24 kg
Maximum number of europallet spaces per trailer33 (international)
Maximum number of europallet spaces per trailer32 (Benelux)
Maximum of bloc/industrial pallet spaces per trailer26
Maximum cubage per trailer88 cubic meters: Standard economic use 79 cubic meters

UPS Weight Limit

UPS imposes a consistent limit of 68.039 kg (150 lbs.) for all types of shipments. Packages exceeding this designated weight restriction will be categorized as exceeding the established maximum weight threshold and won't be accepted or processed for delivery by UPS.

Packages' length can extend up to 274.32 cm (108 in). However, it's important to note that your particular shipment's size and weight limits may differ. When packages exceed certain combinations of size and weight, it may be necessary to utilize freight shipping services. Understanding how to prevent measurement correction charges is crucial to ensure cost efficiency and accuracy. We also encourage you to visit the UPS Package Advisor page to view the specifications of each shipment.

USPS Weight Limit

The USPS has a consistent weight limit of 31.751 kg (70 lbs.) for all shipment categories. If the package exceeds this stipulated weight, it will be deemed oversized, and USPS cannot accommodate and process it for delivery.

Here are some of the definitions used by USPS when determining the package sizes and weights.

  • Balloon Price. It is relevant to parcels within the size range of greater than 213.36 cm (84 in) but not exceeding 274.32 cm (108 in) when you combine their length and girth, as long as their weight remains under 9.07 kg (20 lbs.). Also, this pricing is specifically applicable to USPS Ground Advantage™ - Limited Overland Routes parcels.
  • Dimensional Weight Price. The application of dimensional weight pricing varies depending on the specific mail classes listed. For parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-9 exceeding one cubic foot (1728 cubic in), postage is determined by either the parcel's actual weight or its calculated dimensional weight, whichever is greater. This dimensional weight pricing may apply to Priority Mail Express® parcels, Priority Mail® parcels, USPS Ground Advantage™ parcels (excluding Limited Overland Routes parcels), and Parcel Select® parcels (excluding Parcel Select Lightweight®).

Note: If the calculated dimensional weight exceeds 31.75 kg (70 lbs.), the postage applied will be the 70-pound price. For Global Express Guaranteed® items not sent in USPS-produced GXG envelopes, pricing is based on either the calculated dimensional or actual weight, again choosing the higher of the two.

  • Nonmachinable Price. A mail that cannot be sorted using the standard automated mail process is called a nonmachinable mail piece. Due to the higher processing costs involved, it applies to services, such as First-Class Mail® letters (Commercial), USPS Marketing Mail® letters, USPS Marketing Mail Nonprofit letters, Parcel Return Service parcels, Parcel Select® parcels (excluding Parcel Select Lightweight® and USPS Ground Advantage™).
  • Oversized Price. The oversized price applies to parcels in the specified mail classes with a combined length and girth greater than 274.32 cm (108 in) but not exceeding 330.2 cm (130 in). On the other hand, the weight has no bearing on how this cost is applied as it stays under 31.75 kg (70 lbs.). This oversized price applies to USPS Ground Advantage™ parcels, USPS Ground Advantage™ - Limited Overland Routes parcels, Parcel Return Service parcels, Parcel Select parcels (excluding Parcel Select Lightweight), and USPS Connect™ Local.

To further understand the guidelines set by USPS, you can visit their website for additional information,

What are the factors influencing the weight limit?

For Canadian sellers, it's crucial to understand the weight restrictions applied to shipping, but what factors affect these restrictions? The essential factors determining weight limits will ensure you are well-prepared to negotiate the complexity of shipping and logistics successfully.

1. Carrier Policies

    It's important to note that each carrier has its own requirements when it comes to weight restrictions. These weight restrictions can exhibit considerable variation from one carrier to another, emphasizing the importance of understanding and adhering to the specific weight limitations associated with the carrier you've chosen for your shipments.

    Being well-informed about these carrier-specific weight regulations is essential for ensuring your products comply with the appropriate guidelines, which is vital for a seamless shipping experience as a Canadian seller.

    2. Service Types

    Weight restrictions also vary depending on the service you choose for your shipments. For instance, the choice between express services, ground shipping, and international shipping, frequently comes with varying weight limitations. These limit distinctions are designed to align with each service's unique demands and considerations.

    Knowing how their selected service influences weight restrictions is essential information for Canadian sellers since it enables them to make wise choices, ensuring their products adhere to the proper weight guidelines and promoting a successful shipping experience.

    3. Destination

    Whether shipping within Canada, to the United States, or internationally, you'll encounter varying weight limitations and regulations. Each country or region may impose distinct standards, reflecting the need for localized considerations and restrictions.

    4. Package Size

    Carriers frequently impose restrictions on the weight and the combined dimensions, including the length, width, and height. Understanding how these dimensional considerations interact with weight limitations is crucial for Canadian sellers. It enables them to optimize their packaging and ensure their shipments follow the weight and dimension guidelines set forth by carriers, fostering a seamless and efficient shipping experience.

    5. Special Handling

    Specific item categories, including but not limited to hazardous materials, fragile goods, or oversized items, are subject to lower weight limits. These limitations are primarily enforced with safety and careful handling in mind. Shippers can ensure these items' secure and efficient transportation by accounting for these reduced weight thresholds, aligning with the specialized safety cargo.

    6. Transportation Mode

    Weight restrictions can vary depending on the selected transportation mode, whether by air, ground, or ocean. Each transport mode has a unique weight restriction set to accommodate that method's specific characteristics and capabilities.

    7. Carrier-Specific Policies

    Within the shipping and logistics industry, some carriers may introduce distinctive policies hinging on factors like the chosen service type, package content, or shipping location. These carrier-specific features may directly impact weight restrictions and shipping policies. Therefore, staying well-informed about these specific carrier policies is paramount for Canadian sellers.

    8. Legal Regulations

    The domain of weight limitations in shipping is also affected by numerous rules and regulations, including domestic legislation unique to Canada and global standards applicable to cross-border shipments. These legal considerations may significantly impact weight limits, particularly for specific goods or transportation types.

    9. Shipping Fees

    Weight is an important factor to consider since it significantly affects delivery costs. In general, bulkier packages are charged more for shipping. Understanding this essential idea will enable Canadian sellers to choose the most cost-effective packaging and shipping options, saving shipping costs while ensuring their product's safe and prompt delivery.

    How to Calculate and Estimate Weight?

    Calculating and estimating the weight of your packages ensures you choose the right service, pay accurate postage fees, and comply with weight limits set by carriers.

    What are simple yet effective methods for calculating and estimating package weight?

    Determine the Cargo Weight

    To determine the weight of your cargo, use a reliable scale to weigh both the items being shipped and the packaging materials. Sum these weights to calculate the total cargo weight. Ensure the total weight falls within the permissible limits set by your chosen carrier to facilitate a hassle-free shipping process.

    Tools and methods for accurate weight estimation

    Accurate weight estimation is vital in shipping. Tools such as postal scales, kitchen scales, and shipping software are essential. Postal scales are precise and often come with rate calculators. Kitchen scales work well for smaller items.

    Shipping software, like online calculators, can provide accurate weight estimates. In addition to these tools, check carrier guidelines and use a suitable shipping container. For larger items, freight scales are valuable. These methods and tools help ensure you meet weight limits and avoid surprises in the shipping process.

    Importance of precise weight calculation

    Precise weight calculation is crucial in shipping for several reasons.

    • First, it ensures accurate postage costs, preventing underpayment or overpayment.
    • Second, it helps avoid fines or delays due to exceeding weight limits.
    • Third, it promotes fairness and transparency in shipping transactions.
    • Fourth, it prevents damage to goods by ensuring proper handling.
    • Lastly, it maintains the safety of carriers and their staff, reducing the risk of injury from handling unexpectedly heavy or unbalanced packages.

    Accurate weight calculation is fundamental for efficient, cost-effective, and secure shipping processes.

    How to Maximize Carrier Weight Limit

    Maximizing carrier weight limits is essential for optimizing shipping efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By understanding and strategically utilizing these limits, Canadian sellers can ensure they make the most of their shipping options while avoiding additional fees and complications, ultimately enhancing their logistics operations.

    Accurate Weight Calculation

    Investing in accurate weighing equipment is advisable to ensure the precise calculation of your cargo's weight, accounting for factors such as packaging and pallets. Also, it's essential to be well-informed about the weight limits of your particular vehicle and the chosen transportation route.

    This knowledge and reliable weighing equipment can significantly enhance the accuracy of your cargo's weight assessment, helping you avoid potential issues and ensuring seamless and efficient shipping for your goods as a Canadian seller.

    Strategic Load Distribution

    To avoid overloading on specific axles, it's crucial to distribute the weight of your cargo evenly across the vehicle. Maintaining this balance helps ensure that your shipment complies with axle weight limits and, in turn, helps you steer clear of potential penalties or fines.

    Proper weight distribution is a key consideration for Canadian sellers to ensure the safety of their shipments and regulatory compliance during the transportation process.

    Optimize Packaging and Containerization

    Optimizing your shipping strategy as a Canadian seller involves adopting efficient packaging and containerization techniques. These methods allow you to maximize the use of available space while still staying within the specified weight limits.

    Additionally, it's beneficial to contemplate the use of lightweight packaging materials. These materials help decrease your cargo's overall weight, which can lead to cost savings and better compliance with weight restrictions, ultimately contributing to a more cost-effective and efficient shipping process.

    Efficient Loading Practices

    Efficient planning of your loading process is essential for Canadian sellers. It can help minimize the occurrence of empty return trips and maximize the vehicle's cargo capacity. Additionally, making use of backhauls whenever feasible is a strategic approach.

    This ensures that the vehicles consistently carry a full load, enhancing both the efficiency of your shipping operations and cost-effectiveness, which is vital for a successful shipping experience as a Canadian seller.

    FAQs About Weight Limit in Canada

    Navigating weight limits is crucial for Canadian sellers in the shipping and logistics industry. This set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) delves into the intricacies of weight limits, offering insights to help you understand and navigate these restrictions effectively in the Canadian market.

    Are there different weight restrictions for different provinces in Canada?

    No, Canada generally maintains consistent weight limits for shipments across provinces. While there may be exceptions for certain specialized routes or unique circumstances, most shipments adhere to uniform weight limits established at the national level. It's essential for Canadian sellers to be aware of these standards to ensure compliance.

    What happens if I exceed the carrier weight limit during transportation?

    Exceeding the carrier's weight limit during transportation can have several consequences. It may lead to the carrier refusing the shipment, incurring fines or penalties, delays in delivery, redistribution of the cargo to meet limits, safety concerns, and potential liability for damage or accidents. Adherence to weight limits ensures safety, legal compliance, and a trouble-free shipping experience.

    Are any exceptions or special permits available for carrying overweight cargo?

    Yes, in some cases, exceptions or special permits are available for carrying overweight cargo. These permits are typically issued for specific routes and circumstances, such as transporting oversized or heavy machinery.

    Carriers or shippers must apply for and obtain these permits from relevant authorities, which may include provincial transportation departments. However, obtaining such licenses is subject to stringent regulations and may involve additional fees. Researching and following the legal requirements for overweight cargo transportation in Canada is crucial.

    Can I request a weight limit waiver for specific situations or loads?

    Yes, you can request a weight limit waiver for specific situations or loads in Canada. These requests are typically made through provincial or territorial transportation authorities. The approval of a weight limit waiver depends on factors like the type of cargo, route, and safety measures in place.

    Carriers or shippers seeking a waiver should contact the relevant authorities, provide necessary documentation, and adhere to the specified conditions if a waiver is granted. Remember that waivers are usually granted for exceptional circumstances and may involve additional fees or requirements.

    Consider Partnering with Stallion

    Partnering with Stallion can offer significant advantages in various industries, from logistics and transportation to technology and beyond. The strategic collaboration with Stallion brings innovative solutions, expertise, and resources to your business, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness.

    Whether you're looking to optimize supply chain operations or harness cutting-edge technology, Stallion's partnership can drive growth and success. Explore the possibilities of this dynamic alliance and unlock new opportunities for your business.

    Canadian Shipping

    Stallion offers efficient and cost-effective domestic shipping services in Canada. With a focus on fast and secure deliveries, nationwide coverage, and transparent tracking, they cater to businesses' diverse needs. Stallion specializes in professional handling and customized solutions, ensuring reliable shipping solutions for their clients nationwide.

    US Shipping

    Stallion provides reliable US shipping services from Canada. They offer efficient cross-border shipping solutions, ensuring prompt and secure deliveries to the United States. With a strong focus on customer satisfaction, transparent tracking, and competitive rates, Stallion simplifies cross-border shipping for eCommerce businesses.

    International Shipping

    Stallion offers international shipping services, connecting businesses and individuals worldwide. Their comprehensive solutions ensure seamless and secure shipping to various destinations. With a commitment to customer satisfaction, competitive rates, and a strong network of global partners, Stallion facilitates international shipping, fostering a hassle-free global trade experience.

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