Freight vs Shipping: What’s the Difference?

Today, the vast majority of people use the internet when they are looking for products and services they require. Therefore, companies are receiving more orders via the Internet.

As a result, they frequently have to deliver orders to their customers. Two of the most common terms businesses encounter during the process are freight and shipping. What is the difference between them? 

An Overview: Freight and Shipping

Freight and shipping are both popular options when it comes to shipping products and services that someone requires.

At the same time, companies do not want to spend more money than they have to, which is why many business managers and owners are interested in parsing the difference between Freight and shipping. 

Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, understanding the differences between these terms can help businesses decide which one is right for them.

Ultimately, there is no “best option” out there. Instead, it is important for business owners to compare the benefits and drawbacks of each option so they can figure out which one is right for them. 

Freight: What Is it?

In the past, freight shipping was a term limited to the transportation of goods via sea freight or ocean freight; however, this term now includes not only cargo ship ocean shipments but also air shipments and land shipments.

Therefore, freight now encompasses a variety of shipping methods. 

Now, people usually refer to a freight carrier when they are talking about large shipments. For example, companies such as FedEx and UPS divide their services between parcel shipping and freight shipping. For instance, any order greater than 150 pounds is usually designated as a “freight” order.

Some companies designate an order as “freight” once it reaches a specific length or width in the truck. This could even include LTL shipments, which stand for “less than truckload” shipments.

Importantly, it is the size of the order that usually dictates a “freight” shipment, not necessarily the mode of transport.

Prior to deciding which freight shipping option is the best one, it is important to take a look at the size of the shipment, how far it is going, and how much it weighs.

That way, businesses will be able to figure out which option is right for them. 

Because freight shipments can include land, air, and sea options, it is important to compare prices.

The distance the items have to travel, how much the items way, and any added security or protection will all play a role in how expensive freight shipping might be.

Heavy items and those traveling long distance will be more expensive. 

Often, freight is broken down into household goods, express shipping, general freight shipments, and parcel shipping.

In general, air shipping is much faster than the alternatives, leading to a much shorter transit time. 

Shipping: What Does this Mean?

In the past, “shipping” exclusively referred to items being transported by sea. Even though shipping certainly still includes both being moved by sea, shipping also includes air and land commercial transportation.

Usually, a shipping courier service is used to transport goods in bulk; however, shipping is usually a term that is referred to smaller shipments or small parcel shipments.

When it comes to parcel shipping, people are usually talking about shipments that weigh less than 70 lb.

Parcel shipping is usually not shipped on a specific pallet. Instead, it is packaged by the shipper or carrier before it is sent off. 

Similar to freight, there are many categories when it comes to shipping. For example, some companies may have to transport large quantities of goods over vast distances; however, these orders are usually not as large as freight orders.

Some shipping orders even need to cross international borders. For this reason, an order crossing international borders might include land, air, and sea all in the same order.

Even though the term “shipping” is usually used to refer to smaller orders, this is not always the case. 

Ultimately, it is not the mode of transportation that defines whether something is parcel shipping; it is the size of the shipment itself. Different companies have different standards; although, 70lb is usually the cutoff. 

What Is the Difference Between Freight and Shipping?

So, what is the difference between freight and shipping? Importantly, these two broad terms mean different things to different people; however, the difference is usually the size of the order.

A few important points to keep in mind include: 

  • Shipping and freight refer to land, air, and sea travel. 
  • Both shipping and freight are used for the bulk transportation of goods in the commercial field. 
  • Freight shipping is usually reserved for orders greater than 150 lb or orders taking up a significant amount of space in a truck.
  • “Shipping” usually refers to parcel shipping and refers to orders less than 70 lbs.
  • It is usually cheaper to ship goods in bulk, meaning that parcel shipping can be more expensive than freight shipping per pound.

Business owners need to keep these points in mind when they are deciding which option is right for them. 

Which One is the Best Option?

Ultimately, there is no single “best” choice out there. Some companies prefer to use freight shipping while other companies prefer to use partial shipment.

There may be some situations where it might not be possible for companies to use parcel shipping because their orders are simply too heavy.

Furthermore, because it is usually less expensive to ship orders in bulk, companies will probably be better off using freight shipping when they can.

Remember that different shipping services are going to have different rates. Therefore, take a look at multiple freight and shipping companies to see what they charge for the order.

That way, businesses will be able to figure out which option is best for their needs. Remember to reach out to a trained professional with any questions or concerns.

It might be helpful to work with a consulting service that can help you figure out whether freight or parcel shipping is the right move.

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