Three Types of Freight Transportation

Freight transport is the process of moving merchandise, cargo, and commodities. Freight transportation is essential in the logistics and supply-chain systems.

For your goods to arrive at their destination safely and on time, you have to select the best transportation mode. Being unable to pick the right method to transport your freight can delay business. Several factors determine the mode of transportation you chose for your cargo.


Truckload (TL) shipping refers to the shipment of goods weighing 15,000 pounds and more. The goods are delivered either within the country or to neighboring countries. The occurrence of loss and damage is limited because the same trailer picks and delivers the goods.

The cost of transporting cargo via truckload freight varies depending on several factors. The factors include the weight of goods, the distance, and equipment used to transport the cargo.

Usually, a per-mile rate applies when transporting truckload commodities.

Flatbed trailers transport most of the truckload freight. You can probably find flatbed trailers for sale around your city, however it might be cheaper getting it somewhere else so just be sure you do your research. Flatbed trailer models normally include aluminum, steel, composite flatbeds, steel extendable flatbeds, and slide axle trailers. According to the experts at Hale Trailer, “Flatbed trailers can be made of aluminum, steel, and composite, and have options for additions like curtain-sided walls, extendable decks, and multilevel decks (drop deck).”

Shipping Freight by Air

Shipping by air is appropriate for anything that can be shipped LTL (less than truckload). Time-sensitive goods are best transported by air. Compared to land and sea transport, air transport is expensive. The weight of cargo and time constraints determine the cost of freight. Time-sensitive cargo usually attracts the highest charges.

Airfreight is usually for valuable cargo and, therefore, requires insurance. The cost of insurance for air shipping is relatively low. Weather conditions frequently affect air transport. However, rescheduling and rearranging air shipments happen fast.

The best part is that many planes offer multiple flights on the same day between major cities. However, when the disruption is immense, resumption of flights may take a few days.

Air shipping always provides clients with the ability to track goods using web-based technology. Such technology forms can be useful if the client makes some critical decisions when the goods are already in transit. There may arise a need to change routes or to change the final delivery point.

Shipping Freight by Rail

Rail transport is a useful means to move goods in bulk. It is not as flexible as transport by road. Frequently, rail transport is used as a part of the transport chain when transporting goods to an international port for export or from the port to a final destination point.

Transport of cargo by rail tends to be less costly, especially where long distances are involved. Storage of the goods in containers ensures their safety. Additionally, specialized rail cars store bulk goods to ease the job when unloading. Refrigerated rail cars and containers can store perishable goods.

Shipping Freight by Sea

Shipping by sea is the best method to transport internationally exported goods which do not require fast transport. Shipping by sea is usually the best option for such goods because the cost is low.

Sea shipping varies. It depends on weather and nautical conditions. Rescheduling of ocean freight transportation does not occur as quickly as it happens with air transport.

Protocols in the industry require that you transport goods in containers. Containerization makes it easier and faster to transfer the goods from ships to rail cars, planes, and trucks.

The use of containers reduces the time and cost of handling cargo at the ports. Standardized containers are used at the docks for easy handling when changing the modes of transport.

In recent years, specialized ships handle all kinds of goods like bulk commodities, perishable goods, and liquids. The specialized ships help in safeguarding the cargo and prevent damages.

Different ocean carriers offer freight services. Every ocean carrier operates under its own set of rules. The individual ocean carriers have developed working partnerships to enhance the reliability of ocean shipping.

However, partnering may result in complexity. The requirements of one ocean carrier may permit certain commodities on board while the other does not allow. One ocean carrier may therefore agree to transport certain goods while another may not.

The mode of transport you use for freight shipment depends on your budget, urgency, convenience, and the kind of items you are transporting. Time-sensitive cargo may make you opt for air transport. Goods that do not require fast delivery may make you go for rail or road transport. It is advisable to consider all the factors before you choose the shipping method for your freight.


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