Unit Loads – A Delivery Guide from PostNord

The term unit load refers to when several products are packaged and loaded together as a single unit, for easier and more efficient shipping and delivery. Learn more about what different types of unit loads there are, why unit loads are practical for you as a business owner, and how PostNord can assist you with transporting and delivering unit loads.

For more similar articles, see our Logistics page.

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What are unit loads?

Unit loads is a shipping term that refers to shared packaging and loading of a number of goods. The term often refers to a collection of products that have been stacked on a pallet and packaged as a single unit. It can also refer to other shared packaging of products – for example a box or container.

Unit loads make more efficient deliveries possible

Unit loads serve a very important purpose when shipping and delivering large batches of goods at once. By packaging many smaller items to form larger units, the loading and transportation can be made significantly more efficient, both in time and money.

How do unit loads work?

There are no fixed specifications regarding measurements, weight or volume of a unit load. A unit load can essentially be any size – as long as there are several smaller units packaged and/or loaded as a larger unit for the purpose of simplifying shipments.

Some types of unit loads, however, are more common than others. The following three types of unit loads are standardized in the context of international shipping:

  • Pallet: A simple platform of wood or plastic, onto which products are stacked and packaged. Pallets feature slots at the bottom for a forklift to be able to lift them.
  • Hand cart: Typically used in internal warehouses to move goods from the loading dock to their respective shelves. The load volume is usually smaller than that of a pallet.
  • Shipping container: A large storage box, usually a container. A shipping container typically has walls and a roof of metal, a wooden floor and two doors at the front. Used for bulk transportation of larger or multiple unit loads.

Pros and cons of unit loads

Like with everything else, there are pros and cons to using unit loads. If it’s a good alternative for your company depends on the type of business and its conditions, and the needs you might have.

The pros and cons of unit loads can be summarized as follows:


  • Unit loads make logistics easier and help speed up deliveries.
  • Reloading becomes easier which reduces terminal times.
  • Different types of unit loads allow for flexibility and the ability to adapt loads.


  • Unit loads are more profitable for larger bulk deliveries.
  • It requires that everything in the unit is delivered to the same location.

Multiple containers or a single pallet – we can help with large and small unit loads

Does your company send large shipments and want to make shipping and logistics more efficient? Let PostNord help you.

With our capacity, transportation network and expertise in everything related to shipping and logistics we can optimise your product deliveries in the best possible way. We have also made it super simple to use our services.

As an agreement customer you gain access to loads of practical tools in PostNord Portal Business, several which are advantageous to use when shipping unit loads. With the feature Send Parcels you can purchase shipping online and schedule pickup of outgoing deliveries. This is ideal when you need to send large unit loads, to avoid having to take them to an agent or collection point.
You can also track unit loads during ongoing deliveries – both incoming and outgoing – via the feature Track & Trace.
Don’t yet have an account in the Business portal? No problem. It only takes a minute to register, and it’s completely free. Sign up today.

Frequently asked questions about unit loads

How big is a unit load?

Unit loads can vary greatly in size. As long as a number of smaller units are packaged and loaded as a single larger unit, it counts as a unit load.

Why should I use unit loads?

Unit loads make shipping more efficient and reduces delivery times, especially when sending large shipments. This, in turn, is efficient both in terms of time and cost.

Who is unit loads good for?

Unit loads are often especially advantageous for companies that send large shipments of products.