Carrier Strategies Explained

2 min read
last change: 1-9-2023

Do you have a clear picture of the pros and cons of single, many, and multi-carrier strategies?

Did you make a conscious decision between them?

When did you last reconsider this strategic choice?

Carrier strategies need more nuance

Some people advocate a single-carrier strategy, pointing to its potential for high-volume discounts.

Others preach about the benefits of a multi-carrier strategy and how it’s (almost) always the best choice1. Note that these opinions are all voiced by multi-carrier software companies.

No one seems to talk much about many-carrier strategies.

This demonstrates a lack of awareness of the inevitable tradeoffs between carrier strategies.

Because the truth is, there’s no “best” carrier strategy for all shippers. What’s best depends entirely on the specifics of a business case: the phase the business is in, the type and volume of shipments and destinations, and customer preferences.

We facilitate communication for shippers with carriers through our integration platform. Our customers use different carrier strategies with varying degrees of success. This has taught us a thing or two about which carrier strategies suit what scenarios.

We’ve gathered our most important insights for you here. If you’re seeking answers about which carrier strategy to follow, use this guide to your advantage.

Quick Overview of Carrier Strategies

Carrier StrategyDescriptionBenefitsDisadvantagesScenarios
Single CarrierOne carrier for all shipmentsSimplicity of shipping process; Highest potential for volume discountsHigh carrier dependency; Low efficiencyRoad transportation; New business (segment); Low volume of (Express) shipments
Many Carrier (multi-lane with single carrier strategy)Multiple carriers, one carrier per laneEfficiency: lower transportation costs and higher reliability due to carrier efficiencyHigh carrier dependency; Requires more planning and organization than single-carrier strategy; Lower potential for volume discounts than single carrier strategyMulti-leg & multi-lane shipments with Road transport and no/low volume Express shipments
Multi CarrierMultiple carriers per laneSupply chain agility; Competition between carriers; Lower shipping costs for Express transportationRequires sufficient shipping volume; More complex to manage than many carrier strategy; Requires IT investment to manage shipping process reliably and efficientlyHigh volume Parcel and Express shipments



  1. Why you need a multi-carrier shipping strategy | Seven Senders Blog; Why EasyPost’s Multi-Carrier Shipping API Is Ideal for Peak Shipping Season & Beyond - EasyPost; Why Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Strategies Are Winning in 2022 | Enveyo; The Rise of Multi Carrier Shipping Strategies and Why Single Carrier Shipping Strategies Are Fading Away; 7 Reasons Why a Multi-Carrier Shipping Solution (Almost Always) Beats A Single-Carrier Strategy - Shipstore

Roel Kneepkens, Product Manager Carriers
published on: 1-9-2023
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