Learn more about the risks associated with utilizing carrier-provided APIs for your growing parcel shipping needs

We’ve all seen how e-commerce skyrocketed unexpectedly due to the pandemic. Shippers had to adapt to new standards for a successful supply chain. This includes meeting higher customer expectations, keeping shipping costs down, and providing faster delivery times. Today, e-commerce continues to grow, making the investment in top-notch shipping software a top priority.

Many carriers offer free online APIs that can seem like a simple and cost-effective alternative to a custom-built solution. These API-aggregators have a quick set-up, are low-cost, and are simplistic in nature as far as maintenance and connectivity. So, what’s the problem? Why not just use the carrier-provided APIs?


With API-aggregators, you are getting that simplistic and basic carrier connectivity we mention above. Most supply chains often have unique and complex business logic. An API-aggregator may struggle to accommodate the nuances of your business. When you ask a question of the carrier API, it gives you a response.

Enhanced functionality must be created around the basic capacities of the API for it serve any real purpose. Think about rate shopping or any business rule logic [Everything You Need to Know About Complex Business Rules – In Five Minutes] – these types of complex functions require a complete solution – not just a cobbled together quick fix. 


As we pointed out earlier, the service and support team from your shipping software should serve as a valuable and trusted partner, not just another cookie-cutter vendor looking to secure your business. Support in the shipping technology industry is crucial for ensuring a positive customer experience.

Unfortunately, the technical support behind free carrier APIs can be minimal. Even if you can work one-on-one with the APIs, limits exist for the range and comprehensiveness of their support. A more basic solution requires a more basic support team, and sometimes companies even outsource this support. This is never a good sign for those looking for a personalized experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you can work with a partner who owns the intellectual software property, you are going straight to the source. This source is typically an expert technician who understands your business and can work with you on the most basic to complex issues. [Read on: Solving the Shipping Software Support Equation]

Risk Control

By using an API-aggregator, retailers put themselves at several levels of risk. Justin Cramer, Co-Founder of ProShip shares the following, “An unavoidable level of risk is an API call to the carriers themselves. Though some small parcel carrier services can only be executed with real time API’s, most have a premise alternative. This removes the risk of the carrier’s API becoming oversubscribed leading to slowness or failure. The risk of making API calls to the carriers is compounded by adding a hop to a third-party aggregator. They have their own components, their own internal dependencies and, therefore, have an additional layer of risk of slowness or failure that it outside of the retailer’s control.

When carrier engines are integrated into the retailer’s software network, the brand can allocate more resources to rating and shipping servers. They can also set up multiple servers for backup, reducing downtime. This gives the retailer more control and helps them manage risks better compared to using an external API-aggregator.


Reach echoes the Resource reasoning from earlier, but it takes it one step further into another essential part of shipping: compliance. It is the responsibility of your vendor to keep your software up-to-date and compliant. It’s well understood that failing to comply with regulations can result in fees and chargebacks piling up. A solution that relies solely on APIs may not have enough support staff to focus on compliance efforts like a full-service solution would.

This also tracks to any new service offerings that you may be looking to add to your shipping profile. Carriers are often the last ones to make these available to your system because it relies on the carrier APIs, which haven’t yet implemented the new service. On the other hand, software vendors compliant with carriers can adapt more swiftly in their development cycles. This enables them to introduce new carrier services faster with shorter roll-out times.

In addition, an API-aggregator has throughput limits which don’t allow retailers to plan for business growth. Without the ability to scale as needed, you will need to plan for a new solution that can meet the industry’s latest omnichannel fulfillment trends. During busy times, like peak season, brands should feel confident that their shipping software will be able to handle the complexity driving elite enterprise businesses.

Reliability with ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

With all this mind, carrier APIs should not be thrown out completely. Clint Boaz, Senior Sales Engineer at ProShip, shares, “The carriers provide a very useful service with their APIs. They are vital for specific functionalities like tracking, or when they are the carrier’s preferred way to ensure compliance to their specifications. They deliver on what they were designed to be – a low-cost means to connect lower volume shippers with unsophisticated requirements to carrier services.”

When looking for a shipping software that meets all your needs, look no further than ProShip. ProShip is established as the last shipping system you will ever need to integrate. With a robust and advanced system, ProShip is the number one in speed, compliance, reliability and experience. We have heard from many businesses who did not have the vision for growth at the time they integrated their initial system. As their business scaled, they outgrew their initial vendor and looked for a partner in ProShip, who could offer an integrated and automated multi-carrier shipping solution.

Ready to revolutionize your shipping strategy with a leading shipping software solution? Contact our team of shipping experts or schedule a pressure-free discovery call to learn how ProShip can help you meet your unique business needs.