Freight shipping is the transportation of goods and cargo by land, sea, or air. Typically, the transportation means associated with freight shipping are railroad cars, semi trucks, ships, and planes. Sometimes, shippers interchangeably use the term “freight” to describe the actual goods being transported. Generally speaking, eCommerce businesses don’t make too much use of freight. Instead, they choose a major shipping carrier such as USPS to ship parcels directly to customers. For eCommerce businesses sending out smaller parcels, shipping Priority Mail Cubic with USPS will always be the cheapest (and fastest) shipping option.
The Different Types of Freight Shipping
- Less Than Truckload (LTL): For shipments bigger than parcels but not big enough to need a full truckload trailer. Shippers typically use Less Than Truckload for shipments weighing anywhere between 150 to 15,000 pounds.
- Partial Truckload: Partial Truckload allows shippers to split the cost of a full trailer with other shippers, often resulting in cost savings.
- Full Truckload: Just like it sounds, Full Truckload shipments justify the use of an entire semi-trailer.
- Intermodal: This describes combining different means of transport to deliver goods, such as using a mix of rail cars and trucks to reduce costs on a single shipment.
- Expedited: This refers to time-critical shipments that need to be delivered quickly. These are often done by air or truck, and are obviously more expensive.
How is Freight Shipping Cost Determined?
Just like regular shipping, a number of factors influence the cost of freight shipping. Typically, freight becomes more expensive the further a shipment has to travel, the more it weighs, and how quickly the shipper wants it to arrive. In addition, shipments that require special handling (such as shipping items with hazardous materials) will add to the cost.