What Is Freight Shipping?

Freight shipping is a transport method that businesses use to move around large items that exceed the weight and dimension limits for postal parcels. Pallets are frequently used to load and carry this material.

Continue reading to discover more about freight shipping, including what freight delivers, how it works, and why it is vital to global supply chain operations.

What Is Freight?

Freight is any cargo that has to be carried from one point to another and is not eligible for package transportation. Most online purchases delivered to your home or apartment use parcel delivery, which is designed for smaller items and boxes.

The standards to decide whether packages qualify as freight varies depending on the carrier. Still, it is often anything weighing more than 150 pounds, or more than 108 inches in length, or measuring more than 160 inches in length plus girth. Freight is often applied to goods transported on a pallet.

So, the answer to what is freight shipping could be practically any item, even enormous amounts of more minor commodities gathered on a pallet, can constitute freight. More essential items frequently requiring freight delivery include furniture, automobiles, building supplies, and outdoor recreation equipment.

Hazardous commodities such as aerosols and explosives, costly things such as diamonds, and perishables such as meats and frozen meals are exceptions for common freight carriers. Some items need more specialized carriers.

Types of Freight Shipping Providers

When it comes to freight shipping, there are several types of providers you can choose from. Each provider has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s essential to understand them to choose the best one for your shipping needs.

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies are the most common type of freight shipping provider. They use trucks to transport goods from one place to another, usually within a specific region. For instance, if you need to ship goods from Houston to Dallas, you can find a trucking company in Texas that can handle the transportation.

Heavy haul trucking companies offer various services, such as dry vans, flatbeds, and hazmat carriers. Dry vans are enclosed trailers that transport non-perishable goods such as electronics, clothing, and furniture.

Flatbeds are open trailers transporting heavy, oversized cargo such as construction equipment and machinery. Hazmat carriers specialize in transporting hazardous materials such as chemicals and flammable liquids.

Shipping Companies

Shipping firms operate ships that convey products across the ocean. They provide a variety of services, notably the entire container load (FCL) and less-than-container-load (LCL). When cargo fills a whole vessel, FCL is utilized, whereas LCL is employed when the cargo exceeds the capacity of a single shipment.

Air Freight Providers

Air freight providers use planes to transport goods across long distances quickly. They’re ideal for urgent shipments that need to be delivered within a short time frame. However, air freight can be costly compared to other modes of transportation.

Rail Freight Providers

Rail freight providers use trains and Conestoga trailers to transport goods across the country. They’re ideal for large shipments that must be transported over long distances. Rail freight is usually more cost-effective than air freight but may take longer to arrive at its destination.

Costs Involved in Freight Shipping

The cost of freight shipping depends on various factors such as the mode of transportation, the distance, the weight, and the type of goods being shipped. It’s essential to get quotes from several providers to compare prices and choose the most cost-effective option. Here are some of the costs involved in freight shipping.

Transportation Costs

Transportation costs are the fees the freight shipping provider charges to transport your goods from one place to another. The costs depend on the mode of transportation, the distance, and the weight of the shipment. For instance, shipping a 20-foot container from Houston to Shanghai can cost between $1,500 and $4,500, depending on the provider and the type of service.

Insurance Costs

Insurance costs are essential in case of loss or damage to your goods during transportation. Most freight shipping providers offer insurance as an additional service that you can purchase to protect your shipment.

Customs Fees

Customs fees are charged when shipping goods across international borders. The fees depend on the value of the shipped goods, the country of origin, and the destination country. Researching the customs fees and regulations of the countries involved in your shipment is essential to avoid any delays or unexpected costs.

Best Practices for Freight Shipping

Here are some best practices to follow to ensure your freight shipping goes smoothly:

Plan Ahead

Planning is crucial in freight shipping. Make sure to schedule your shipment in advance to avoid any delays or last-minute rushes. Also, research the customs regulations and requirements of the countries involved in your shipment.

Choose the Right Provider

Choosing the right provider is essential in ensuring that your goods are delivered on time and in good condition. Research several providers and compare their prices and services before making a decision.

Package Your Goods Properly

Proper packaging is crucial in ensuring that your goods arrive in good condition. Use appropriate packaging materials, such as boxes, bubble wrap, and padding, to protect your goods during transportation.

Communicate with Your Provider

Communication is essential in freight shipping. Communicate with your provider regularly for updates on your shipment’s status and potential issues.


Freight shipping is crucial to global trade, commerce, and manufacturing. It involves transporting goods from one place to another by land, sea, or air. There are various freight shipping providers, including trucking companies, shipping companies, air freight providers, and rail freight providers.

The costs involved in freight shipping depend on various factors such as the mode of transportation, the distance, the weight, and the type of goods being shipped.

To ensure that your freight shipping goes smoothly, follow best practices such as planning, choosing the right provider, packaging your goods appropriately, and communicating with your provider regularly.