FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) are two of the world's largest shipping and logistics companies, with presences around the world. In the United States, they are the predominant private shipping companies. However, there may be times that you decide to use a different carrier, either because of service issues or customer requests. In these situations, there are a number of other options.
United States Postal Service
With locations in almost every U.S. county, city and town, the U.S. Postal Service (usps.com) is a great option for shipping packages and letters. The Postal Service ships internationally and has a list of services ranging from next-day delivery to low-cost parcel shipping. Post offices also provide free shipping boxes for Express and Priority Mail services. The Postal Service is the only option available for shipments to U.S. post office boxes, as FedEx and UPS are not allowed to deliver to these boxes.
A division of the German Deutsche Post, DHL Express (dhl-USA.com) is a good option for shipments originating in the United States for international delivery. It is a major supplier of delivery and logistics services to companies throughout Europe, and has a strong presence in Asia as well. Domestic shipments within the United States are subcontracted to the U.S. Postal Service and other air cargo suppliers, as DHL no longer operates an American-based delivery business. Because DHL is German-owned, it is not subject to U.S. government embargo policies and will ship to Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Greyhound, the passenger bus transportation company, also offers domestic shipping options through a separate business unit called Greyhound PackageXpress (shipgreyhound.com). Home/office pickup and delivery are not offered; packages must be tendered to a Greyhound terminal and picked up at a destination terminal by the recipient. Greyhound will ship packages up to 100 pounds, with maximum dimensions of 30 inches by 47 inches by 82 inches.
Amtrak (amtrak.com), the passenger rail carrier, offers small package and less-than-truckload shipping options between more than 100 cities nationwide. Home/office pickup and delivery are not offered; packages must be taken to an Amtrak terminal and picked up at a destination terminal by the recipient. Amtrak will also ship human remains between express cities, provided funeral directors are on-hand to receive the remains. The weight limit for individual items is 50 pounds, with a 500-pound limit per shipment. Package sizes are limited to 36 inches by 36 inches by 36 inches.
Scott Georghiou has been writing and editing professionally since 1998. He has previously held writing and editing positions at Circuit City Stores Inc. and specializes in consumer electronics, musical instruments and home brewing. Georghiou holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature from the Virginia Commonwealth University.