If you are planning on setting up a small store or an import or export business, you will need to plan for the transport of your goods. You need to consider shipping companies that specialize in freight services, especially international shipping services. Here we give you an overview of the freight business to help you choose the best freight service for your small business.
Simply defined, freight is the commercial transportation of goods and materials. Goods or materials transported by freight companies are referred to as cargo. There are many ways by which cargo can be transported: by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. Below is a description of the different types of cargoes:
- Marine cargo. Commercial products that are transported by ship are grouped into different categories. Break bulk cargo are goods on wooden pallets, while bulk cargo are goods that are neither on wooden pallets nor containers, but do not require heavy lifting. As its name implies, containerized cargo are goods stored in containers and may include auto parts, machinery components, shoes, toys, frozen meat and seafood. Project or heavy lift cargo refers to goods that are too big to be stored in a container, including manufacturing equipment, factory components, power equipment, and military equipment.
- Air cargo. Commonly known as freight, air cargo are those goods transported by aircraft. One good example is mail. The transport of mail by air first came about in 1911. This allowed the faster shipping of mail overseas. Large aircraft like the Boeing 747, the An-127, and the C-17 Globemaster III are used for transporting cargo. When they are used for this purpose, they are called cargo aircraft.
- Rail cargo. This refers to goods and materials transported by freight train. Rail freight is much more cost-effective than vans and trucks when transporting large volumes of goods and services between places that are directly connected by roads. Rail freight companies usually transport steel, wood and coal.
- Van or truck cargo. Goods and materials that can be transported by vans or trucks belong in this category of cargo, these include household goods, furniture, art pieces, and mail. The freight company handling these goods will classify whether these items will fall under household goods, express, parcel, or freight shipments.
The cost of shipping these types of goods depends on how fast the sender wants them to reach their destination and the weight of the item. Express delivery is much more expensive than regular freight delivery.
Some of the leading freight companies in the U.S. are the following:
- Federal Express (FedEx). This shipper has a reputation for being the most reliable in overnight deliveries. It has a detailed tracking system.
- United Parcel Service (UPS). For on-time ground deliveries, choose UPS. Packages get free insurance.
- DHL Worldwide Express. For internal freight, choose DHL. It offers free tracking and competitive prices.
- United States Postal Service (USPS). When it comes to affordable rates, nothing can beat the pricing of USPS. One great thing about this is that it ships to post office boxes and military post offices. However, it has a poor tracking system for packages.