What Is the Different Types of Freight That Is Shipped Today?

Over 11 billion tons of freight are transported by ships every year.

Packaging and transporting freight can be challenging because there are multiple ways to do it. Proper freight can enhance business operations and prevent product damage and wastage. It can also reduce the costs of doing business.

So what are the main types of freight today? Read on to find out.


Less-than-truckload is the process of shipping small packages. Parcel companies and logistics firms usually provide this type of shipping service.

Less-than-truckload shipping is perfect for small and large businesses that have to transport small patches of products on a regular basis. The main underlying benefit of this shipping method is the economies of scale. If people were to do the shipping on their own, they would spend a lot of money.

However, by using the same truck, many businesses can save a lot of money. This doesn’t mean that the shipping cost of less-than-truckload shipping is lower than other shipping methods.

Many things will influence the costs and duration of less-than-truckload shipment. The main determining factors are the weight, size, type of packaging, and distance.

Full Truck-Load Freight (FTL)

FTL involves a single truck carrying a dedicated shipment. This means that weight and size limitations do not affect FTL truckloads. Similarly, the shipments can get to their destination quicker since there are no drop-offs along the way.

Because there is less handling during the shipping, the handler or driver is less likely to damage or lose the products in transit.

Businesses prefer full truckload shipment when they have many items to fill a truck. They can also go for this option if they have to transport time-sensitive products. There are also cases where FTL is cheaper than other shipping options.

FTL requires extensive research and proper prior planning to be successful. It will also help if you regularly use the same route and schedule to increase consistency and reduce costs.

Intermodal Rail Freight

Transporting products on a truck can be costly. That is why many businesses prefer to cut the price by using rail shipments. However, rail transport alone cannot work because the rail tracks are not present in every area.

So, the best freight option is to combine trucks and railroads for transportation. You will put the freight in a container or a trailer.

Initially, the shipment will move on rail for long distances. A truck will transfer it from the rail station to your business premises.

Intermodal rail freight uses less fuel than other shipping methods. This is not only cheaper, but it leads to fewer carbon emissions.

Air Freight

You can also get your freight through an air carrier. The air carrier can be commercial or charter and may be on a domestic or international route.

Businesses can order and receive time-sensitive products anywhere in the world in a very short time. Besides, air freight allows startups and other small businesses to trade across international borders.

Another significant advantage of air freight is the increased security of products. Cases of loss or theft of air freight shipping are rare because airports have some of the best security systems in the world.

Most air freight is done by brokerage firms that use advanced shipping software, such as LoadPilot Freight Broker Software. They use the software to determine the carriers that have the lowest rates and will be flying within the shortest time. This allows the expeditious and smooth shipment of items.

However, air freight does have its fair share of disadvantages. Top of the list is the high cost of shipping freight through an air carrier. You are likely to pay several times more for convenience, speed, and security than if you were to use sea shipping.

Your goods may also spend a lot of time going through customs clearance. The additional taxes and the distance from the airport to a business can equally increase the cost of air freight shipping.

Ocean Freight

Ocean freight typically involves moving massive containers of goods by sea. Large ocean vessels such as ships carry these containers in a safe and secure manner over long distances.

Ocean freight provides multiple shipping choices depending on the type of goods. The most popular one is putting the goods in a container and then loading the container onto a ship.

Freight forwarders are the main players when it comes to ocean freight shipping. They are a third-party entity that will pick the goods from the origin and package them in the containers. They will then track the movement of goods until they arrive at their final destination.

There are many steps involved in ocean freight, including:

  • Export haulage
  • Export customs clearance
  • Origin handling
  • Import customs clearance
  • Destination handling
  • Import haulage

Freight forwarders and shipping companies have various types of arrangements. To begin with, you can sign a contract where you share responsibility if the goods get damaged while in transit.

On the other hand, you can sign another contract where the freight shipping company and the freight forwarder are responsible for any damages during shipping.

Expedited Freight

This is when you want freight to reach its destination within a very short time, typically a day. A single carrier will handle the freight and has a legal obligation to deliver the freight shipment within a specific time frame.

The carrier will have to use fast-paced transportation techniques and prioritize your products. This requires a carrier with a vast network of trucks, airplanes, and other transportation methods. They also need to be creative and find quick solutions to time-wasting processes.

The main disadvantage of expedited freight is that it is more costly than other shipping methods. The cost will even be greater if the shipment is transported over long distances.

Understand the Various Types of Freight

Businesses need to find ways to cut costs by making the right decisions. If you understand the various types of freight, you will easily choose the best shipping methods for your products. The ideal freight method will vary depending on your clients’ needs and the type of products.

If you had fun learning the different types of freight, browse this website for more exciting content.


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