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  July 27th, 2020 | Written by

Guide to Freight Shipping Services

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  • Freight services can be customized depending on the type of cargo in question and the shipper’s needs.
  • Air freight is the best choice for high-value and urgent-delivery goods.
  • Freight shipping by rail is the most affordable mode of transportation for large and heavy goods.

Freight shipping has become an integral part of most companies’ customer service. Americans have become accustomed to having a wide choice of products available at any time and having those products delivered to their address, no matter where they live. Some of the major industries that require freight shipping to send goods to customers and other businesses include e-commerce stores, pharmaceutical companies, medical clinics and hospitals, manufacturing and industrial support, etc. If the process of freight shipping is still new to you and you want to learn more about it, here’s a brief guide to freight shipping services that will help you gain a deeper understanding of how freight shipping works.

First of all, what are freight shipping services?

Freight (often synonymous with cargo) are goods transported in bulk by land, sea or air. Freight shipping services are a part of the process of transporting goods from point A to point B by land, air or sea. Freight services can be customized depending on the type of cargo in question and the shipper’s needs. These goods are usually packed in boxes, crates and containers and transported by different means of transportation. Freight rates are mostly based on the distance, the size of the shipment, and the method of shipping.

Crates and pallets are used for stability, protection, and easy loading when shipping goods by truck, and if the goods are perishable, the truck must be refrigerated. When shipped by sea, goods are usually transported in shipping containers. When shipping goods by air, special air freight pallets are used. There is also additional protection against extreme temperatures, humidity, pressure, and vibrations up to 500 Hz.

Is there a difference between freight and parcel shipping?

Many people confuse freight shipping and parcel delivery. The main difference between the two is weight. Parcels are individual shipments that are much lighter compared to standard freight pallets. They are handled by common US carriers like the USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Shippers can take a parcel to a local drop-off point and have it shipped in a box or envelope. A package that exceeds the maximum parcel weight is classified and shipped as freight. Parcel shipping is usually done via a small truck or van, while larger packages categorized as freight require larger vehicles.

Modes of freight transportation

Shippers can choose between different freight services. Each shipment can be customized to meet the shipper’s specific needs. Factors such as the shipper’s budget, the nature of goods that are being shipped, and the speed of delivery can determine which freight shipping service is the best fit.

Ground freight shipping services

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Sometimes, a single truck is large enough to fit several loads of shipment. Less Than Truckload is your best option if you don’t need to use the whole truck. Since one load of shipment only occupies a portion of a trailer, more than one customer can be served at a time. LTL shipping has several benefits. It is not only cost-efficient but also eco-friendly, as it helps reduce the carbon footprint on Earth.

Full Truck Load (FTL)

If the goods you are shipping require a whole truck, FTL is a valid option. Full truckload is a convenient choice when a company is shipping enough goods to fill a truck or it needs a dedicated vehicle for a partial load. The standard size of each load ranges between 10,000 and 45,000 lbs. FTLs use dry van, flatbeds, and refrigerated trailers.

Rail shipping

Freight shipping by rail is the most affordable mode of transportation for large and heavy goods. Automobiles, stone, grain, coal, ethanol, and petroleum are some of the goods commonly transported by rail. One of its biggest drawbacks is that the arrival destination is connected to the railway. Additional modes of transportation may be necessary to have your goods delivered which may involve additional costs. Still, if you can cut costs and your customers don’t mind waiting a little longer, rail shipping is the way to go.

Ocean freight shipping services

If we compare airfreight and sea freight, air freight is generally preferred for international shipping, but that doesn’t mean sea freight has no perks. The downside is that ocean freight takes weeks while air freight takes days for the same distance.

There are two types of ocean freight – Share a Container and Full Container.

Share a Container (LCL)

Similar to Less Than Truckload, sharing a container helps you save money by splitting the cost of shipping with another company. You are not paying for a whole container, plus, you can more easily restock and manage seasonal inventory in different shipments.

Full Container (FCL)

If you need to use a whole container, Full container shipping allows just that. You are paying for the entire container, whether you fill it up or not. If you opt for FCL, there is no standby time for filling out the container and there is no risk of damage caused by someone else’s cargo. Therefore, you can expect a quicker and safer delivery.

Air freight shipping services

Air freight is widely used all over the world. This is a safe, quick, and reliable way to ship your products. Smaller shipments belong to a service called express freight. They are handled by one central company (DHL, UPS, or FedEx). The second category is international air freight. This service is used to transport larger goods that require larger planes and one trip can involve multiple companies. If you need to ship products urgently, have in mind that air freight is much faster than the other freight shipping services. Moreover, products transported by air are less likely to suffer any damage. Although more expensive than other modes of transport, air freight is the best choice for high-value and urgent-delivery goods.


Hillary Jones is a freelance writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for Over the past few years, she has collaborated with several moving and storage companies writing helpful how-to blogs and promoting their services. Her main hobby and second source of income is making handmade jewelry.