USPS “Pre Shipment”: What It Means and When to Worry

Seeing the status “pre shipment” while tracking a package can be confusing and concerning. What exactly does it mean? Should you be worried? This post will explain what pre shipment means so you can know what to expect.

Definition of Pre Shipment

Pre shipment is a term used by shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx and UPS that indicates a shipping label has been created for your package, but it has not yet been handed off to the carrier for transit.

The “pre” part means before or prior to. So pre shipment is the stage before the courier takes possession of your parcel. The shipper has generated the label, but the package is still awaiting pickup.

Why You Might See Pre Shipment Status

There are a few reasons you may see your package stuck in pre shipment status:

  • The shipper printed the label but hasn’t taken the package to the post office or courier for drop off yet.
  • The package is at the shipper’s location but hasn’t been picked up by the carrier for transit yet.
  • There can sometimes be a delay between label creation and the courier collecting the package.

Pre shipment means the process has started, but the carrier doesn’t have the actual parcel in their logistics network yet. Printing the label is the first step, but the package must still make its way into the carrier’s hands.

Is Pre Shipment Something to Worry About?

Seeing your tracking status as “pre shipment” does not necessarily mean you should be concerned. It simply indicates the carrier has not started transporting the package yet.

Pre shipment can last anywhere from several hours to a couple days in some cases. The length of time varies depending on factors like:

  • The shipper’s schedule and when they do their package drop offs
  • How frequently the carrier does pickups at the shipper’s location
  • Any weather events, holidays, or other delays that can impact pickups

The package is still on the way. Once the carrier takes possession, the tracking status will be updated again to reflect they have received it. Try not to stress too much if you see pre shipment.

When to Take Action

However, if your package seems stuck in pre shipment status for more than 2-3 days without any change, that may warrant looking into it further. Here are some tips on when to take action:

  • Check for any alerts on the courier’s website about potential weather, holiday, or any other delays that could be impacting pickups.
  • Contact the shipper to inquire if the package has been dropped off and confirm when it will be handed over to the carrier.
  • If the shipper cannot provide clarity on the delays, you may want to contact the shipping carrier directly to ask about the status.
  • If there are still no updates after communicating with the shipper and carrier, you may be able to file a claim on the package if needed.

The Bottom Line

Seeing “pre shipment” as the tracking status for your package is very common and is nothing to panic over. It simply indicates the carrier has not received the package yet.

However, if the package seems to linger in pre shipment limbo for more than a couple days without any scans or updates, a quick check-in with the shipper is advised. This can help determine if any action is needed on your end.

Try not to stress excessively if your package has not progressed past the pre shipment stage yet. But feel free to follow up if it appears stuck in that status for too long without explanation.