How to ship a 55-gallon barrel cheaply

Written by sylvia cini
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How to ship a 55-gallon barrel cheaply
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Shipping barrels are more durable than cardboard boxes, making them ideal for combining items for shipment or transporting fragile items. Using barrels over 50 gallons for domestic shipping can be expensive, as they may exceed the weight and height limitations of the United States Postal Service. Private carriers such as UPS transport these packages but charge hundreds in fees for barrels over 50 gallons. However, some international shipping services offer discounted rates for barrels to common shipping destinations, such as Jamaica, Haiti and Ghana. These countries receive frequent deliveries from family members who have immigrated to the United States. For this group, barrels are a useful tool for cheap shipping.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 55-gallon barrel

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    International Shipments

  1. 1

    Locate a shipping company that delivers to your desired location. Some to choose from are Ship to Caribbean, VOOVit and Laparkan Shipping. Ask friends, family and coworkers for recommendations.

  2. 2

    Ask about the price per pound and flat rates for shipping a 55-gallon barrel. Look for special discounts to save money; find savings in company advertisements, customer referral programs or by speaking directly to a sales representative about your shipment. You may get a discount for shipping on certain days or for using the barrels they sell. Ask about free pickup services.

  3. 3

    Purchase the lightest barrel for your needs. Wooden and metal barrels are heavier but more durable than plastic and cardboard. Check with your shipping supplier for deals on barrels.

  4. 4

    Pack barrel tightly. Line the barrel with a plastic liner if you are shipping food. Place the heaviest items, such as canned goods, in the bottom of the barrel with clothing and soft items near the top.

  5. 5

    Transport the barrel to the shipping service in your personal vehicle if it is not being picked up.

    Domestic Shipping

  1. 1

    Measure the barrel's height and girth. The girth is the distance around the barrel at its widest point.

  2. 2

    Add the two measurements. If the sum is over 108 inches you will be charged a fee by the USPS; any package in excess of 130 inches will not be shippable. UPS and FedEx charge fees for packages over 108 inches in combined height and girth.

  3. 3

    Fill the barrel.

  4. 4

    Weigh the barrel. Use a commercial scale or stand on a conventional scale while holding the barrel. Have a second party read the weight. USPS will not ship over 31.8 Kilogram; other carries will charge a fee for barrels over 68kg.

  5. 5

    Choose USPS parcel post, UPS ground or FedEx Freight services. Review the additional services such as insurance, free pickup and signature confirmation offered by each company to determine the best value for your specific package.

Tips and warnings

  • Many shipping agencies provide international delivery service, however, small shipping agencies usually have more competitive pricing. Smaller companies ship to a limited number of countries and have a greater ability to offer speciality services for remote locations. These agencies also have fewer staff members, making it easy to build lasting relationships with your shipper. The personalised attention can lead to future discounts, free shipping supplies, transport advice and a smoother transaction overall.
  • Split the cost of shipping with a group by allowing friends and family to use extra barrel space.

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