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Freight Services: Types of Online Freight Shipping Services

Logistics is a fascinating aspect of transporting and distributing goods, and it involves various factors such as package size or weight and not just what kind you order. 

Freight shipping companies make sure packages get to their destination while maintaining the quality of the product throughout transportation. 

The different types of freight services available could be daunting to understand, but learning about them could help you find the best option for your shipping needs. 

3 Types of Freight Services: 

Air Freight Services 

You may already have a picture of what air shipment means. But there's much more to it than just stowing your parcel in the designated aircraft's area. 

There are two ways aircrafts ship your parcels: charter or commercial. Charter flights involve one to a few selected passengers, while commercial flights involve having several passengers on board. 

Several imports and exports are done via freight forwarding services.

Convenient and fast, freight shipping is a preferred transportation option for high-value, perishable, irregular items (e.g., kayak or electric guitars) and international shipments. However, be prepared to pay more for the freight shipping services fees, especially for international shipments. 

Ocean Freight Service 

Sea delivery service is another alternative to freight option you can check.

This type of transportation utilizes significant waterways and places all parcels in massive shipping containers.

Combined with other transportation methods, ocean freight services are frequently used for international shipments looking to cut down on handling fees. 

Taking the ocean freight route could save you money on transportation fees for businesses that ship their products in large volumes.

Shipments that don't require a tight arrival time would find that ocean couriers are safe and affordable to get their goods across several major docking points anywhere in the world. 

Land or Ground Freight Service

This is the most common courier used by businesses from various industries.

Because of its practical and broader reach, land couriers are some of the best options for shipments where borders are connected by land. 

There are three kinds of land freight services:

If you're looking to ship a large volume (say 50 percent and more of the trailer's capacity), opting for the truckload is good.

This is common for volume shipment with a deadline to meet. Considering this is a volume shipment, expect your parcels to have minor handling needed, ensuring that the quality of the items inside the container is maintained throughout the transportation.

You can also compare the freight fees with ocean transportation to see which brings the most value for your business. 

Volume LTL shipments exceed the 5,000-pound capacity. In this case, using a trailer to transport your parcel is a good option.

Most items of this kind are encased using a large pallet since they can't fit the standard truck container. 

Smaller parcels are tagged under an LTL shipment. These parcels are shipments in smaller batches or quantities. Businesses that don't ship large volumes can still take advantage of land transportation, especially if these parcels are not pressed for time.

LTL is more affordable compared to air freight forwarding shipping. However, you can opt for airfreight shipments should your cargo be required to be delivered within a given deadline.

Freight Broker vs. Freight Forwarder vs. Freight Carrier

Shipping terminologies can be overwhelming, especially if you're still starting.

But do you know the difference between a freight broker, forwarder, and carrier? Here's a simplified guide to help you distinguish one from the other. 

What is a Freight Broker?

Freight brokers act as mediators between the shipper and the carrier. These brokers work as third-party entities, usually collaborating with shippers, including freight forwarders and carriers.

However, brokers don't have any equipment or trucks to carry the parcels compared to the freight forwarders and freight carriers.

They also don't possess the goods to be shipped or do paperwork for the clients. Freight broker services involve handling the arrangements and ensuring that the cargo is sent to the proper transportation route.  

To find a credible freight broker, you need to check if FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is registered.

Most of these brokers cater to U.S-based shipments to their destined shipping locations.

However, some freight broker services offer international shipments limited to only one place. 

What is a Freight Forwarder?

Freight forwarders work like brokers but take on a different role in shipping.

Freight forwarding services take care of arranging your shipment and contact a third-party freight carrier to carry the parcel to its destination.

Unlike freight brokers, freight forwarders don't own any equipment or trucks to transport the goods. But, unlike brokers, they actively participate in the preparation and shipment of the cargo. 

Freight forwarding companies offer some services: warehousing, preparing custom documents, consolidating shipments, and packaging. Freight forwarders also do their HBLs (bills of lading) and have containers to keep the parcels ready for shipping. 

What is a Freight Carrier?

Compared with freight broker services, freight carriers transport your goods from point A to point B.

As the term implies, a freight carrier acts as the 'trailer' to ship your products via air, sea, and land couriers. This type of freight service adheres to a strict protocol in transporting goods.

You will often find individual and commercial freight carriers offering online freight services for your convenience. Freight services of this type could operate globally and domestically.

However, there are also freight carriers providing both types of shipping destinations. Depending on where your parcels are destined to be shipped, most freight carriers use sea, air, and land transportation. 

Shipments within the country usually use land (by truck or trailer) transportation.

Provincial shipments or parcels destined for remote locations may use motorcycle couriers. Some local and international shipments may also use multi-modal freight couriers to ship specific packages. 

There are several governing entities regulating freight carriers. Here are some of the prominent organizations commonly associated with freight carriers: 

  • Freight Transportation Association (FTA) 

It is one of the most prominent regulatory entities in the United Kingdom supporting the improvement of logistics within the country. 

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA) 

This organization is composed of airline traders across the globe in promoting safe, secure, and credible air transportation services. 

  • British International Freight Association (BIFA) 

This not-for-profit organization specializes in trade associations in the United Kingdom. 

  • Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) 

This entity leads and directs third-party freight carriers, upholding the industry's highest professional and business practices.

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