When a large steel manufacturer needs to ship 3 containers worth of parts overseas for an automotive construction company, this is called a freight shipment. Commonly used for commercial purposes, freight shipments are transported in larger scale and heavier transportation methods.


Definition of Freight Shipments

Freight shipments are normally associated with the bulk transportation of merchandise goods, commodities, and cargo. This type of shipping moves large items like machine parts, vehicles, medical goods and more.

Therefore, the definition of freight can oftentimes be confused with “shipping”. Although very similar, both are quite different in their own respective.

freight shipments by ground

Freight shipments can move by land, ocean, or air. These are called ground freight shipping, ocean freight shipping, and air freight shipping.


Common Information on Types of Freight Shipments

Freight shipments are those that weigh no less than 150 lbs. They require an accurate measure of weight and dimensions. Once determined, freight shipments are then classified by freight classes based on the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC). This ensures that the correct carrier is utilized for the transportation, and the associated costs and fees are correct for the freight shipment.

As the goods and commodities become larger and larger, other methods of freight shipping services and transportation are introduced. This includes ground transportation, air shipping, ocean freight shipping, and a combination of all processes called intermodal transportation.


Different Transportation Services Offered for Freight Shipments

Air Freight Shipping

Air freight shipping is one of the fastest and most efficient shipping methods for freight shipments. This is particularly valuable to businesses and organizations that require expedited shipping to international customers.

Shipping by air also offers a high level of security as most airports have tight control over cargo and goods. This makes it air freight shipping one of the more safe methods for high-value items such as pharmaceutical goods, unveiled technology and automobiles.

The only major downside of air freight shipping is the costs that can be significantly higher than ocean freight shipping. However, these costs can be cut by almost 50%.

Learn more about how to cut air freight costs.

cut freight shipment costs

Costs for air freight shipments can add up fast. Although the advantage to this mode is a much shorter transit time – it reflects the final costs.


Ocean Freight

Shipping ocean freight can be efficient and provide sustainable solutions to shipping overseas than shipping by air. When time is not an issue, shipping freight by sea severely cut costs for international transportation. Costs for transporting shipping containers is much less by sea than moving the same size by an air carrier.

For those that are more conscious about the environment, ocean freight produces less CO2 emissions when compared with air freight shipping.

The only thing to be wary about is reliability. Ocean carriers more often will be off schedule by a day or two. This could be from weather conditions, docking issues or other troubles that arise at sea. For this reason alone, it is suggested to only ship by sea for products not impacted by delivery times.


Ground Freight

Ground freight shipping is normally narrowed into two categories: full-truckload and less-than-truckload.

Less-than-truckload (LTL) refers to freight shipments that do not take up an entire truck and only weight between 100-10,000 lbs. With LTL, shippers do not pay for space they don’t need. The rest of the truck is filled with other freight shipments and cargo from other companies. This method is a great option for small businesses looking to ship domestically.

When the entire truck is filled, this is called full-truckload (FTL). If a domestic shipment is high-risk, FTL is highly beneficial and a better option. FTL does not transfer freight shipment during transport; this reduces the risk of damage and shipment duration.


Intermodal Freight

Intermodal transportation is when two or more freight transportation modes are used. A typical example is a truck bringing an empty container to pick up a freight shipment at a warehouse. The container would be loaded with freight and taken to a loading dock and loaded onto an ocean carrier to be shipped internationally.

intermodal freight shipment

Intermodal freight shipments utilize two or more freight services to transport goods. For example, trucks will load up freight and bring it to loading docks to transfer over to an ocean carrier.


The benefits of using intermodal transportation are when the flow of cargo needs to be continuous and of similar sizes, and the travel distance is moving more than 300 miles.


Finding a Freight Forwarder to Transport Your Freight Shipment

At Mach 1 Global, we offer freight forwarding services to transport freight shipments of any sizes. Whether your requirements are domestic or international travel, our network of freight carriers, customs brokers and warehousing experts are available to meet your needs.

Learn more about our freight forwarding services here, or request a quote to get started on your freight shipment today!


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