Definition of package
In logistics, the smallest transportable packaging units of a good are called packages. Packages are as different as the goods being transported. They are not based on standardised weights or dimensions. Examples include: pallets, boxes, barrels and packaged components. Packages are usually transported by general cargo forwarders or parcel service providers. They can handle packages at hubs and distribution centres in a way that keeps transport quick and cost-effective.
What is a package?
The term "package" can be confusing in logistics. For example, several parcels (packages) can be combined on one pallet (also a package). For example, if 60 laptops are transported in boxes on a pallet, several packages (boxes) are being transported on one package (pallet). Multiple packages can be combined into one shipment. For example, if a delivery note says 25 packages, the shipment consists of 25 packaging units.
The connection between package and general cargo
General cargo refers to the actual number of units being shipped. To stick with our above example, our shipment consists of 60 laptops (general cargo) in 60 boxes (packages) on a pallet (package).
How is it different from the shipment number?
A shipment can consist of different packages. If you want to track and trace an entire shipment, you have to enter the shipment number. If you only want to track individual components, only their package numbers are needed.
What distinguishes packages from general cargo?
General cargo and packages are closely related, but so is groupage cargo. Like packages, groupage cargo refers to an intermodal transport unit or a packaging instead of the goods themselves, as general cargo does. As the name suggests, in groupage, individual items are grouped together to form a shipment or delivery unit. While general cargo consists of the same type of goods, groupage combines a wide variety of goods – sometimes from different senders. That is why, in logistics, groupage is treated as a logistics process.