Do you wish to have a thorough understanding of different modes of Freight shipping?

If yes, then you have landed on the right page because we will discuss Freight shipping in detail here.

Freight shipping is the process of transporting goods and daily life commodities in huge containers. Traders use it to import and export things in bulk.

Originally the word “shipping” was used for sea freight, but nowadays we use it for the shipping done through air, trains, and roads also.

If you wish to ship your goods through freight shipping, and want to learn every aspect of it before booking one, then keep reading this blog to have a better understanding of Freight shipping.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: Understanding Freight Shipping   

Chapter 2: How Coronavirus Impacted Freight Shipping Time & Rates?

Chapter 3: Factors that determine Freight Shipping Rates  

Chapter 4: Common Types of Freight Shipping  

Chapter 5: Benefits of using Freight Shipping

Chapter 6: Step by Step Process of using Freight Shipping

Chapter 7: Things to take care of before Freight Shipping

Chapter 8: 8 most Common Documents required in Freight Shipping

Chapter 9: Frequently Asked Questions About freight Shipping

Chapter 1: Understanding Freight Shipping   

Freight shipping is the intermodal transportation of goods in large quantities. It is a very crucial part of commerce involving international trade.

This chapter is intended to enhance your knowledge about Freight shipping.

1. What is meant by freight shipping?


Freight shipping is a process of transportation of bulk items or commodities on cargo through air shipping, land, and sea. It takes place across the globe.

It is used to transfer large quantities of goods that are bulkier than a normal parcel.

The goods or commodities are packed on pallets into the boxes and then transported through cargo. The means of transportation may vary according to your choice. You can opt for sea, air, and land transportation methods.

Technically any shipment above 150 lbs. is considered a freight shipment. For shipping, such heavy load containers and cargo are used.

In commerce, the term shipping is not restricted to ocean and sea transport only, rather it is used to indicate all types of transportation that may include water, land, and air.

2. How does freight shipping work?

Freight shipping starts when you book for cargo or container and schedule a trip. Because freight shipping offers you a lot of options like, LCL, FCL, and Expedited freight shipping, etc., so it is your responsibility to choose the best one for you.


Your goods are packed, stuffed into the cargo, and moved. You can track your freight through the freight carriers’ website.

The shipping process ends once the recipient receives the goods.

3. When should you use freight shipment?

Freight shipping is used when you have to transport large volumes of goods from one place to another preferably overseas.

It saves you from the extra efforts of shifting the goods yourself. It also helps you to avoid wasting a lot of money by arranging everything yourself.

Sometimes when you need to transport things that need special care e.g., something fragile or something that needs proper cooling, then you connect to freight carriers and ask for their services because you cannot transport such things yourself.

4. How to prepare a freight shipment?

It is a common misconception that parcel shipment and freight shipment are similar. Actually, freight shipment follows a different method to transport your goods. To be sure that your shipment is safe and sound you must take care of the following things.

  •  Preparing the right sized pallets

Pallets are the extra coverings that are used to wrap the goods and ship them easily. Pallets occupy space and so add up to the cost of shipment.

On the other hand, they are crucial for the safe shipment of goods. So, you must know what to use.


The good quality pallets are made up of wood or plastic. Their weight is around 20 to 70 pounds.   You must choose a sturdy and well-built pallet that can support your load so that damage can be avoided.

  • Non-palletized shipments

If you intend to avoid using pallets then you must take care of the goods by choosing appropriate, well-designed containers, corrugated boxes, or crates.

You should make sure that the goods are safe and boxed in a container that is strong enough to support the weight and save the load inside it.

You can even reuse the containers. For doing so you will have to remove the previous labels of shipping or the barcodes.

Failing to do so will cause confusion and your load may get shipped to the wrong place.

Another thing to take care of, while using old boxes is checking for holes or wear and tear.

An expert tip here will be to use dunnage at all the sides of the container so that the items present inside it stay in place. It prevents bending by reinforcing the edges. Always remember to seal all openings.

  • Labels

Labeling is held to locate the destination, so you must attach visible labeling that has clearly mentioned the phone number and address. Labels should be attached to all sides of the pallet.

  • Follow freight carrier instructions

The freight carriers have their set of rules that they follow. Knowing those instructions helps you to prepare for freight shipping and get things working smoothly.

5. What are the shipping options we can avail in freight delivery from China?

The shipping options available for the freight delivery from China include

  • Ground freight shipping (LTL, FTL, PTL)
  • Air Freight shipping
  • Intermodal rail freight shipping
  • Multimodal freight shipping
  • Expedited freight shipping
  • Ocean freight shipping

6. What is the rough estimated cost of freight shipping?


The cost of freight shipping depends upon various factors. Dimensions (length, width, and breath), weight, shipping fee, speed of delivery, and the distance to the destination are mostly considered before deciding on the freight carrier.

Other factors include customs clearances and extra fees due to delays in delivery. So, we can say that the cost of freight shipping varies in different situations.

Chapter 2: How Coronavirus Impacted Freight Shipping Time & Rates?


The covid-19 pandemic has hit the world very hard. It has affected all walks of life, and some of the departments are crippled. The effects of the pandemic on the industry are discussed below.

1. How is the virus causing Shipping Delays?

Along with other industries of the world, the pandemic has also affected trade and e-commerce.

The closures of ports and delays in shipping caused an overwhelming demand for freight shipping to meet the requirements of the world population. The delay has caused a severe lack of capacity, and the rates of air freight have risen.

It was estimated that almost 5.5% of all the ocean freight shipping capacity is currently waiting in storage spaces away from the ports. The traders are trying to get their cargo on board and deliver the goods.

2. Ocean freight rate increases due to the Pandemic

As an aftershock of the pandemic outbreak, there have been very crucial shifts in the industry. Due to the high demand for ocean freight, their rates have risen.

This has caused the blockage of ships on the congested ports. The ships have to wait for almost 16 days to dock.

The increasing consumer demand and lagging behind inventory levels are causing more troubles.

3. How much did the Airfreight increase due to the virus?


Air freight is the faster mode of transport. So, in this pandemic, when everything has slowed down, air freight is in demand to catch up with the demands of people.

Astonishingly, the rates of air freight have risen all around the world. One reason for this elevation in rates is the tight conditioning the e-commerce sector is facing due to pandemics.

It was published that the Asia-US freight rates have climbed to 25%. Similar is the case of other global destinations of air freight.

4. Trucking delays and costs increasing

The main concern of the inventors right now is to replenish the inventory because of rising demands. Watching the replenishment of inventory.

The rates and capacity of trucking have also increased. This would cause delays in the shipping process, even if the goods get manufactured on time.

The needs of the public are increasing, and the experts predicted that the conditions of trucking delay and cost increase would remain the same in the first half of 2021.

Chapter 3: Factors that determine Freight Shipping Rates  


The primary concern of traders dealing with freight shipping is the shipping rates. Some crucial elements that have a serious impact on rates of freight shipping are being discussed below.

1. Different Shipping Methods can affect the final cost

The mode being used for the transportation to ship the freight is the first factor to consider. There are different charges for different shipping modes.

For instance, expedited shipping can cost you more than simple LCL shipping. Air freight burns more fuel and is faster so it charges you quite high.

So what you need to do is to check the different price of different shipping methods in advance, and to choose the one which is suitable for you.

And the delivery time, products’ weight, your budget and other factors need to be finalized before choosing the shipping way.

2. The Longer-distance Delivery will charge more money

It is an obvious concept that your shipping rates are changed according to the distance. So, the farther the final destination is the more you will be charged for the shipment.


You can make a rough estimate about the cost of the journey by asking for quotes from several freight carriers and comparing the prices.

3. Check the Size and Weight of Products beforehand and select a suitable shipping method

The size and weight are of primary importance in shipping. The length, width, and height (dimensions) of shipment along with its weight and volume determine the rates of freight shipping.

The actual weight of your freight shipping is compared to its volumetric weight, and then the cost is determined.

You need to check the size and weight limits of each shipping companies, and find out the most suitable one for you.

It not only means you can select the one who provides the lowest average price, but also you can select the one which has the limits upper than the size and weight of your products.

4. For special goods, Special Services are needed

The traders often deal with fragile, hazardous, and perishable substances. Transportation of such material requires extra care and special handling.

If you intend to deal with such material then you will have to pay special services charges also.

The documentation for such materials is also different from the normal ones. For instance, you need DG (dangerous goods) form to ship hazardous materials.

Chapter 4: Common Types of Freight Shipping  


Freight shipping is not a small term. It covers the whole commerce going on around the globe. So, it can be classified into the following major types.

1. Ground freight shipping (LTL, FTL, PTL)

Ground freight shipping includes those modes of shipping that use roads and railways. It can further be classified as

  • Less than Truckload Shipping (LTL)

Where one cargo of goods is grouped with other such cargos before shipping. The shipments are sometimes transferred to other routes to reach the final destination. It carries a 1 to 5 pallet load.

  • Full Truckload Shipping (FTL)

Where the cargo is dedicated to only one person. It carries the load of one trader only. It has at least 10 pallets.

Partial Truckload shipping (PTL)

Is a mix of FTL and LTL. It carries the load of several traders like LTL, but the shipment is never transferred to another route. It directly reaches the destination. It carries at least 6 pallets.

2. Air Freight shipping


Airfreight is the quickest way of moving goods. As compared to other modes of shipment it transports the cargo at the speed of 900 km per hour.

Only a few hours of air shipping can transfer your goods from one continent to another.

The load is carried either through cargo or a passenger plane. As the airplane flies directly to the destination country, there is no delay in shipment.

This service is ideal, if you wish to transport personable goods and edibles along with pharmaceutical drugs that need sensitive shipment.

3. Intermodal rail freight shipping

Intermodal rail freight shipping is one of the most cost-effective (due to less fuel consumption) and efficient ways of shipping products that need special care. It is an environment-friendly means that saves your time, energy, and money.

It connects the most remote and far-flung areas to each other through railway routes. It involves the combination of trucks and rails to transfer your goods without direct handling of goods.


4. Multimodal freight shipping

Multimodal freight shipping does not consolidate your goods with those of others. Just like intermodal rail freight shipping, it uses multiple different modes of transportation for shopping your freight. The process takes place with the help of a broker.

5. Expedited freight shipping

You must at least once in your life have been through a time when you needed to do something urgently no matter how much it costs you.

Similar is the case of expedited freight shipping. For this reason, expedited freight is also known as the hotshot service.

The urgent shipments are entertained through expedited freight shipping. A truck fully loaded with your goods is delivered to the destination quickly. There are no stopovers in its way. It is very effective at meeting the deadline set by you.

6. Ocean freight shipping


If you are looking for the most convenient and the cheapest way to send your goods to another country, then maybe ocean freight is your answer. It ships your goods through boats across the globe.

The charges are considerably lower than those of other shipments. It is further classified into LCL (less than a container load) and FCL (full container load) shipments. Ocean freights are best at shipping maximum load at minimum rates.

Chapter 5: Benefits of using Freight Shipping

All the methods of freight shipping are useful in their aspects and add value to your lives. However, here we will discuss the most important benefits of different modes of freight shipping that you should never miss.

1. Benefits of freight shipping through air


Following are the most compelling benefits of using air freight for shipping goods:

  • It is the fastest and most reliable way of shipping goods. Airfreight is never late from the schedule, and flight operations take place daily.
  • There is no boundary when you ship your goods through air freight because it can ship them anywhere across the globe.
  • The requirement of tight packaging is not necessary when you ship your goods by air. This is because only a few hours of a safe flight do not impose any considerable danger to your goods as compared to other shipping modes.
  • You don’t need to worry about your goods being stolen or damaged when shipping through air freight. It is one of the safest ways to transport goods.
  • You do not need a warehouse because shipping is too quick through airfreight. Your packaging cost is also reduced. You can even track your shipment easily when using airfreight.

2. Benefits of freight shipping through the sea


Sea shipping is one of the most frequently used methods of shipping goods. Almost 90% of shipping takes place through the sea route.

It offers you the following benefits:

  • As oceans cover most of the area of the world, sea shipping is available almost everywhere. Seas and oceans connect all continents to each other hence it becomes easy to ship through the sea route.
  • It is one of the most economical ways to ship goods overseas. We can say that it is the cheapest international shipping option available in the world today. The total expenses of transportation through sea routes are 4 to 6 times lower than that of air freight.
  • It is the most effective way of shipping goods of all sizes. You can transport smaller-sized shipments by LCL (less than a container load) through the sea route. You can even book a whole cargo for your goods if you feel the need for it by FCL (full container load).
  • Unlike air freight that can bear burden only to some predefined extent, sea shipping can carry heavy load in bulky cargos.
  • Over some time, sea shipping has become one of the safest Shipping options available in the world. You can ship hazardous materials through sea shipping.
  • It is eco-friendly and produces less air pollution. The per cargo chemical fuel combustion is very low as compared to other modes of shipment.

3. Benefits of freight shipping through railway track


Railways are also a major transportation source. Railway tracks are not only used by passengers but also for the traders to help them ship their goods across the borders.

Following are the key benefits of using railway Shipping:

  • It can ship a vast spectrum of goods from small-sized to large-sized. The goods of a diverse range of industries can find their way to their destination through railway shipping.
  • It is ideal for long-distance shipping with less cost. The cost of fuel for railway freight is low hence, the total cost becomes lesser.
  • The shipping can be traced through digital systems, and thus safety can be ensured.
  • Railway shipping is easy to handle.

4. Benefits of freight shipping through road


Roads are another useful way of shipping goods. The benefits they offer are mentioned below.

  • Road shipping through trucks is used for relocating houses mostly. Booking a truck to ship your goods is better than buying a truck for the same purpose. It is an economical method and saves capital investment.
  • It saves you from buying supplementary gear for transportation vehicles. You only have to pack your goods and let the freight carrier do the rest by paying them the cost.
  • It saves your time and also increases the storage facility by providing warehouse facilities.

5. Which freight shipping is suitable for you?

The decision of choosing the freight shipping is yours. All these shipping types have their benefits and drawbacks.

You can choose the best one by considering your needs and aligning them with the benefits provided by these freight shipping options.

You will come to the conclusion and select the one best for you. For Instance, If you want to ship your goods as soon as possible, then airfreight will be the best option.

If you want to choose an economical option, shifting heavyweight ocean freight might be your favorite.

Chapter 6: Step by Step Process of using Freight Shipping


The step-by-step process of freight shipping is discussed below.

1. Opting for a freight forwarder

The first step of freight shipping is to select the type of shipping suitable for you and ask for quotes from multiple freight carriers.

Then you can compare the rates and the features to opt for one freight forwarder to start with your freight shipping process.

A good freight forwarder can handle all the shipping things for you, and even they can offer warehousing service, deal with Amazon FBA warehouse and other things if you want.

What you need to do is discuss about the total payment with the company, and then give the detail information of your goods to the shipping agent.

2. Moving the goods to the freight forwarders warehouse

Once you have decided on the freight forwarder for your shipping, you will move your goods to the warehouse of your freight forwarder. The packing is usually done in their warehouse.

If you have signed the agreement with your supplier, and they will get the warehouse’s address with you. Then your goods will be sent by your supplier.

But some suppliers do not provide delivery service. At that time, you can try to deliver the goods by yourself, or ask your freight forwarder for picking up the goods from the factory.

3. Quality check at the warehouse

quality-check-at the-warehouse

Your goods are checked in the warehouse to see if everything you are shipping is according to the deal or not. The quality of goods is also inspected here.

It is important to check the goods before shipping, and you also need to tell the requirements to your freight forwarder in detail. According to your description or the file, they can check it more carefully, and it helps you get the perfect products in the end.

4. Customs clearance for export

Before the exit of shipment from the country of origin, export customs clearance is required. All the details about the cargo along with supporting documents are used for this.

Sometimes the freight carrier service does not offer such services. In that case, you will have to hire a customs broker service separately.

5. Freight shipping – the actual shipping

After clearance of the customs, the actual shipping process begins. The cargo leaves the country of origin and starts moving towards the destination.

It may stop at several points if you have shipped for Less than Container/truckload. Otherwise, it will move straight to your destination.

6. Customs clearance for import


On the arrival of the shipment, the authorities of the country of destination check and verify import custom documents.

Sometimes the custom clearance begins even before the arrival of the cargo. The freight carriers nominate a custom broker for performing this custom clearance before the arrival of the cargo.

7. Arrival at the agreed destination

When the cargo arrives at the agreed destination, a few important processes take place. The freight forwarder gets all the documents of the cargo.

These documents include carrier bills also. Handling the arrival and things linked to it is the responsibility of the freight carrier.

8. Freight shipping unloading and dispatching of goods

The cargo is transported to the final destination from the warehouse. The consignee can hire a middle-man to collect the cargo or ask the freight carriers to do so for him. Another option is, the consignee himself picks up the package.

Unloading and dispatching is the final step of freight shipping when the goods are unloaded and dispatched. Once done with this step, the shipment is marked to be “Completed”.

Chapter 7: Things to take care of before Freight Shipping

Things to take care of before Freight Shipping

Other than knowing the steps of freight shipping, one should get deep into the concept of freight shipping to take maximum benefit out of it. Freight shipping is easy to handle when you take care of the following things.

1. Transporting hazardous material

The hazardous materials include pharmaceutical drugs and gases, cleaning chemicals, radioactive material, blood, or serum that may transmit germs.

The cargo shipping such material have to follow a proper guideline. These containers are not mixed with normal shipping cargo.

The packaging of such harmful materials is intact so that the danger can be avoided.

You will require a DG (Dangerous Goods) packaging list and a DG request to ship such material. It is mandatory to complete the paperwork work before shipping and pay for insurance.

Labeling of packages should be done critically. Please use correct signs for the safety of people.

2. Shipping food and perishables

Foods and perishable material should be shipped wisely. You will never want to pay a lot of money for shipment and receive decayed stuff. Insulating the packages will be a smart move in this case.

You should always opt for temperature-controlled shipment when dealing with edibles.

You should check for the stability of shipping and delivery windows to save the material from rotting. Styrofoam boxes, insulated pads, and dry ice can help you save different foods from spoilage.

3. Packaging for freight shipping – an art to master


Packaging is the most important part of freight shipping. Bad packaging can lead to huge losses, and good packaging might save you from many troubles.

So, learning how to pack goods is an art to learn. Palletizing cargos, using bubble wraps, wooden crates, and double-walled corrugated cartons may be few packing options available for you.

4. Disadvantages of using freight shipping services

Following are the disadvantages of freight shipping:

  • One can never be fully secure about the freight carriers. No matter how fair the system is, there is always the danger of loss while using freight shipping.
  • Due to lack of communication, the process of simple freight shipping gets complicated. Both the owner and the freight carrier have to face the consequences of this communication gap.
  • You may face unfair pricing when dealing with freight shipping, and your goods might get lost during shipping.
  • Because the freight shipping industry is still not regulated, so in case of legal issues you might get stuck.

5. Factors affecting freight rates

Factors that can affect freight rates include:

  • Modes of transportation
  • Weight of shipment
  • Size of shipment
  • The volume shipment covers
  • Distance from destination
  • Import/export customs

For cutting the money, you need to consider all these things in advance. According to your budget of shipping, you can choose how many goods you need to import from China.

You will know how much the size and weight of products should be. It will save you a lot of time and money rather than go for buying wholesale first.

6. Difference between freight and parcel

Parcels are often confused with freight. The parcel is normal, everyday shipments that weigh not more than 150 lbs. The freight shipments are bulkier than parcels. So, anything heavier than 150 lbs. will be called freight.

Chapter 8: 8 most Common Documents required in Freight Shipping


Freight shipping is not all about the practical transfer of containers. Legal documentation plays an important role in keeping the shipping process clear and scam-free. Following are the important documents used in freight shipping.

1. Proforma Invoice

It is a bill sent to buyers before delivering goods. Pro forma invoice tells about the item bought and also enlists other important information. It mentions the weight of shipping and the total transport charges.

2. Commercial Invoice

A legal document that shows the amount which the customer has to pay, along with the supplied goods, is called a commercial invoice. Commercial Invoice remains between the customer and the supplier only. It helps a lot in deciding customs duties.

3. Packing List


It is a document that gives complete information about the goods. It tells about the packaging of goods, their weight, and their volume.

Hence, it helps to provide necessary information to the exporter and freight carrier.

4. Certificates of Origin

Certificate of origin, as its name suggests, talks about the country from where the goods have come. These certificates are not required in all countries.

This certificate shows that the goods were manufactured, packed, and shipped from which particular country. The commerce-related bodies sign this certificate for validation.

5. Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

SLI – shipper’s letter of instructions, as the name suggests, is a letter that tells the freight carrier about the shipping requirements of the exporter. It conveys which freight shipping is best to use.

SLI also shows when the goods should reach their destination. It is a permission letter from the exporter to the carrier of freight to ship his goods.

6. Bill of Lading


The shipping document that outlines the whole journey of goods from their origin to the decided destination is called the Bill of Lading. Bill of lading is issued by the freight carrier in form of a contract of movement for the shipment.

It also highlights the detailed path of shipment. Depending upon the route of shipment, the Bill of lading has three common types. Inland air waybill, and ocean bills of Lading – all names representing the routes of shipment used.

7. Bank Draft if required

Bank draft, also known as ‘documentary collection’ is issued by the seller to transfer the control of exported goods.

After paying the funds, the buyer becomes the controller of goods. The banking authority of the seller sends a bank draft to the buyer’s bank with the help of freight forwarders.

Once the buyer permits the payment, the banking authority of the buyer also releases a document to the buyer. In this way, funds are transferred to the bank of the seller.

8. Dangerous Goods Forms

Dangerous Goods Form is used to ship hazardous materials like gases and drugs used for medical purposes, blood, and serum that may carry germs, any inflammable material, etc.

It is mandatory to provide DG form before shipping dangerous goods so that care of cargo can be taken properly.

Chapter 9: Frequently Asked Questions About freight Shipping


1. Is freight shipping time-consuming?

Different types of freight shipping have different speeds of transportation. Airfreight is the fastest among all. Others vary according to destination.

The distance from the destination decides the time consumption. Farther the destination, the longer the journey will be. Customs clearance may cause unexpected delays.

2. Is freight shipping costly?

Freight shipping is not costly, rather it is cost-effective if you cut down the extra expenses by thinking wisely. If you want to save money then you should avoid using Airfreight.

The total cost of freight shipping depends upon several factors. Dimensions, weight, shipping fee, speed of delivery, the distance to the destination, and customs clearances. So, we can say that the cost of freight shipping varies in different situations.

3. Which routes does freight shipping follow?

Freight shipping follows all three routes i.e. Air, water, and land routes. Airfreight is the fastest route of freight shipping while others have good shipping rates and lower speed. Land routes involve both truck and railway journeys.

4. What type of freight shipping will suit me?

Freight shipping has many types as discussed above. Each type has its perks, and a single type cannot be suitable for everyone. So, you should check which of them provides the benefits you are looking for.

5. Is freight shipping acknowledged worldwide?

Yes, freight shipping is acknowledged all over the world. The network of shipping routes covers almost all countries of the world and connect them with each other for commerce and trading.

6. Which goods are not allowed for freight shipping?

Hazardous material and drugs are not allowed to be transported through freight shipping unless you have a written permit. It is mandatory to provide DG form before shipping dangerous goods so that care of cargo can be taken properly.


Freight shipping is a term with vast horizons. Moving your goods smartly through freight shipping is an art. It comes with an increased understanding of the concept.

You can easily compare different types with each and with your requirements to decide which one is perfect for you. Freight shipping has revolutionized the process of goods transport.

Due to the new and impact strategies, the whole system is evolving. There are high hopes that in the near future we will be able to witness high-quality shipping along with safe deliveries and reasonable charges.