How to Ship Milk & Juice Cartons

Learn how to save the most money on milk and juice shipments that tend to be on the slightly-heavier side, and which shipping service to choose from
how to ship milk and juice cartons
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These days, milk products seem to be all the rage. There’s regular milk, of course, but now there are tons of dairy-free options for people of all preferences to enjoy. Since this is the case, retailers are jumping on the opportunity to sell milk products online and ship them to customers all around the country. If you’re in this boat, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is all about which carrier to use for shipping milk and juice products, the best services to choose from, and how to save the most money doing it.

Table of Contents

Which Carrier is Cheapest for Shipping Milk Cartons?

Of the three major carriers in the U.S., UPS will provide the best mix of affordable rates and fast delivery for milk shipments. Packages containing milk tend to be on the heavier side, whether you’re shipping a couple of cartons or several. UPS specializes in heavier boxes and focuses on capturing that corner of the small package delivery market. Thus, they offer the most affordable shipping solutions for heavier, bulkier packages.

UPS Ground is One of the Best Services for Sending Milk

When it comes to the myriad UPS services, UPS Ground is the clear choice for milk shipments. While other air-based UPS services may be faster, UPS Ground isn’t slower by that much. UPS advertises delivery between 2-5 business days for Ground shipments. However, in our experience, these packages often get delivered much quicker than this. In some cases, UPS even delivers Ground packages as early as the next day (depending on how close your destination is to your origin point)! Not only that, but UPS Ground is the most affordable service that they offer. Between the affordable rates and fast delivery, it’s a win/win!

For Packages to/from Far-Off Destinations, Use USPS

One of the few times to consider a different service from UPS Ground is if you’re shipping milk or juice to (or from) a location outside of the contiguous United States. For instance, UPS treats Hawaii and Alaska as foreign countries regarding pricing since these states are so far away. In the case of shipments going to/from Hawaii, Alaska, or any U.S. Territory, your best bet will be to ship with the US Postal Service…and you’ll get the best rates with USPS Parcel Select Ground.

Does Your Milk or Juice Need to Be Kept Refrigerated?

Another thing to consider when shipping milk or juice is whether or not the products need to be kept refrigerated. Most dairy-based milk requires refrigeration, and some plant-based milk doesn’t need to be kept cool until you open the carton. In any case, if you need to keep your cartons cool during transit, you can add frozen gel packs or dry ice to your package. We recommend adding frozen gel packs because they’re easier to handle, and won’t add too much weight.

If you decide to add dry ice, remember that this is a hazardous material that requires specific markings on the outside of your package. For more information, check out our guide: How to Ship Dry Ice with UPS.

Shipping Insurance Won’t Cover Perishable Packages

One thing to keep in mind about perishable shipments is that shipping insurance companies typically don’t provide coverage for them. So, purchasing extra shipping insurance won’t provide any value for you. You could claim insurance if your package gets lost in transit, of course, but if your milk products arrive spoiled, insurance companies typically won’t provide any compensation.

That said, all UPS shipments come with $100 of built-in carrier liability. In our experience, $100 is more than enough to cover the replacement cost of any milk you’re sending (unless you’re shipping crazy artisan products with gold flakes, or something). For the most part, as long as you ship UPS Ground, you’re covered!

Pro Tip: While all UPS labels come with $100 of protection, not all USPS labels do. For instance, USPS Parcel Select Ground does not provide any coverage. That’s another tradeoff for using Parcel Select Ground, on top of the slower service (Parcel Select Ground is significantly slower than UPS Ground in most scenarios).

Save the Most Money on Milk Shipments with Online Shipping Software

As is the case with sending anything, you should never go to your local UPS Store or Post Office to ship your milk package. Instead, purchase discounted shipping labels with online shipping software that sells UPS and USPS postage.

When you use online shipping software, you gain access to special discounts that major carriers like UPS and USPS typically only grant to huge shippers who send more than 50,000 or so packages per year. For UPS Ground shipments, these discounts can save you up to 78% off what you’d pay to ship the exact same package at the UPS Store!

On top of letting you purchase your labels from your own home or office, most shipping software companies also automatically select the cheapest available service for you when you enter your package details. Sometimes Parcel Select Ground is the cheapest service; sometimes, it’s Priority Mail. If, for whatever reason, UPS Ground isn’t the most affordable service for your package, you can rest easy knowing you’re still shipping at the best possible rates when you use shipping software to buy discounted labels!

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