What Does Pre-Transit Mean? The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Shipping Terminology

what does pre transit mean

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If you’ve ever shipped an item, you may have come across the term pre-transit in the tracking status. Seeing your package stuck in this status can be confusing, but there’s no need to worry.

What does pre transit mean?

In this guide, I’ll provide all the information you need and how to navigate any issues that may arise. You’ll learn:

  • The pre-transit meaning

  • Reasons why packages remain in pre-transit

  • How to avoid issues with pre-transit

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to confidently track your packages and ensure their timely delivery.

Let’s begin.

What Does Pre-Transit Mean?

When you’re tracking your order status, you might notice it says pre-transit and wonder what it means.

What is pre-transit?

When your package is in pre-transit, it usually means the shipper has the shipping label created. They have also paid for the shipment, but they haven’t handed it to the courier yet.

Let’s say the seller uses the United States Postal Service (USPS). Pre-transit means the postal system hasn’t picked up the parcel yet or the shipper hasn’t dropped it off at the local post office.

Since USPS didn’t do the initial scan yet, they don’t have additional information. They can only display the pre-transit status until they have scanned the shipment.

Once the courier has received and scanned the package, the status will change to In Transit on the USPS website. Likewise, the status will change to Delivered if they’ve already delivered it to you.

Other couriers also follow the same procedure.

Reasons Why Packages Remain in Pre-Transit

what does pre transit mean

Seeing the pre-transit status for many days can be frustrating, especially when you need a package delivered urgently.

There can be several reasons why your package isn’t moving forward, and it’s important to understand them to know what you can do.

Unscanned Packages

The employee might not have scanned your package into the system. Carrier employees scan packages at various checkpoints along their journey. If they hadn’t scanned yours yet, the status would remain in pre-transit.

Incorrect or Unreadable Labels

If the barcode on the label becomes damaged or smudged, the carrier may not scan it properly. They may also misread the tracking number, resulting in a stuck pre-transit status.

Incorrect or Incomplete Address

If you provide an incorrect or incomplete address, the courier won’t be able to deliver the package and will hold it until you provide the correct information.

High Volume or Unexpected Events

High-volume shipments or unexpected events like weather or natural disasters can also affect the delivery time.

If this happens, the courier may take longer to scan and move packages, resulting in longer pre-transit times.

How Long Does Pre-Transit Take?

How Long Does Pre-Transit Take?

The pre-transit status varies depending on when the shipper scheduled the pickup. It can be as soon as one day up to a few days.

As soon as the courier receives the package, they scan the shipping label.

However, the initial scan may not happen occasionally. It may be due to busy workers, broken scanners, or equipment failure. In this case, pre-transit would seem to take longer.

Sometimes, the online tracking system also fails to update the status. You may still see a pre-shipment status even if the courier has already accepted the package.

When any of this happens, the information should update the next time the courier does more scans on the package.

Couriers scan packages every step of the way, allowing you to track their status at all times using your tracking number. When your shipment reaches the next leg of its journey, which is usually a sortation center, the tracking page should reflect the updated status then.

Why Is My Package Still in Pre-Transit?

Pre-transit delays can be frustrating, but there could be several reasons a package might be in pre-transit for an extended period.

One of the most common causes of delays is processing issues. This can include problems with the shipping label, such as incorrect or missing information, or inventory management issues, like an item being out of stock.

When there are processing issues, the carrier may hold the package in transit until they resolve it.

Another possible reason is carrier issues. If the person who processed the package didn’t scan it, it will remain in pre-transit for longer. Package transport may also experience delays or disruptions.

This can be especially common during peak shipping periods, like holidays or sales events, when carriers may handle a higher volume of packages.

For international shipment statuses, customs clearance can also cause pre-transit delays. Some packages need to clear this stage before getting a status update, resulting in longer pre-transit times.

The time it takes to clear customs varies depending on the destination and the package contents.

How To Avoid Pre-Transit Issues

Sometimes, a package may remain in the pre-transit status even if it’s already on its way to you. As explained above, the reason might be an issue within the carrier.

Sellers may also cause issues, such as missing the scheduled pick-up date or delaying the drop-off at the post office.

In these cases, you can’t do anything but contact the seller or carrier to ask for an update.

How To Avoid Pre-Transit Issues

However, there are some steps you can do as a customer to avoid pre-transit issues. Here are some tips to get your purchased product delivered as soon as possible.

  1. Provide complete and accurate shipping information. Double-check your name, address, and phone number before submitting your order. Sellers create a shipping label based on their received information, so mistakes might delay the package pick-up.

  2. Choose a shipping method that offers tracking updates and insurance for your package, allowing you to monitor it as it moves through the shipping process.

  3. Be patient and understand that delays and pre-transit issues can sometimes happen despite your best efforts.

Monitor your package’s tracking information and communicate with the seller and shipping company at all times. This helps you stay informed and resolve issues as quickly as possible.

What Does Pre-Transit Mean on Etsy?

What Does Pre-Transit Mean on Etsy

If you purchase on Etsy and see a pre-transit label on your order status, it means the seller is preparing to ship your package.

The mail carrier will eventually pick up the package and move it into transit. You may also have to wait until the seller drops off the package at a shipping facility.

How Long Before Etsy Package Leaves the Pre-Transit Status?

How long your order stays in this status varies depending on the seller’s processing time, shipping method, and package destination.

If the seller has a longer processing time or is experiencing a high volume of orders, the package may stay in pre-transit for several days or even a week.

Otherwise, it may move out of pre-transit status within a day or two.

Once the package leaves the pre-transit status and enters the transit phase, Etsy usually provides a more accurate estimated delivery date.

Note: Unexpected delays can still happen during transit. It’s a good idea to track the package and stay in touch with the seller if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is My Package in Pre-Transit?

The time your package spends in pre-transit status varies depending on how fast the pre-transit process moves, provided there are no issues with scanning.

The process usually includes order processing, inventory management, packing and labeling, carrier pickup, and more.

In most cases, pre-transit is relatively short. In other cases, it can account for a significant portion of the total transit time.

Is My Package Stuck in Pre-Transit?

Pre-transit doesn’t necessarily mean your package is stuck. It may also mean the courier has accepted the package but they haven’t scanned it into their tracking system yet.

Various factors may cause delays, such as a backlog of packages, processing delays, or issues with the shipping label or package information. In some cases, the shipper may also choose to delay shipment.

What Is an Estimated Delivery Date?

What Is an Estimated Delivery Date?

The estimated delivery date is when you can expect your package to get delivered. Carriers estimate the timeframe based on the package’s origin, destination, and shipping method.

It’s not a guarantee they’ll deliver it on that exact date, but it’s accurate most of the time.

The estimated delivery date may still change due to unforeseen weather delays, mechanical issues, or other factors affecting the delivery schedule.

If your package is arriving late, you’ll usually receive a notification, or you’ll see it on the tracking page.

The shipping method you select also affects the estimated delivery date. Expedited shipping methods usually have shorter estimated delivery dates than standard shipping methods.

Should I Be Worried if the Tracking Status Hasn’t Updated for Days?

In some cases, the carrier might update the tracking page for days. However, it doesn’t automatically mean you have to worry.

It could be any of the reasons mentioned earlier, such as a faulty scanner, a weather event, or a damaged label. While delivery delays are not uncommon, the package arrives within a reasonable timeframe.

If it has been several weeks, contact the seller or carrier. Prepare your tracking number so they can help you better.

What Does ‘Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending’ Mean?

When you ship via USPS, you might see this tracking update. It means the USPS clerks have scanned and processed the package, but it hasn’t reached a sortation center yet.

The Bottom Line

Understanding shipping terminology is essential for anyone who regularly sends or receives packages.

Pre-transit is just one of the many terms you may encounter in the shipping world, but it’s important to understand.

By knowing what pre-transit means and various reasons why a package may remain in this status, you can take the steps to ensure your packages arrive at their destination on time.

Written by: Omar Deryan

Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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