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If you’re responsible for finding a new freight carrier for your company and you’re new to logistics, you probably have a lot of questions. By familiarizing yourself with the basics of freight shipping, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable navigating quotes and contracts. Keep reading to learn what you need to know to get started. Who knew freight shipping could be so complex? The freight industry is multi faceted and ever changing and navigating the intricacies of the shipping world can be an overwhelming task. It is important to know all the basics. Let’s break down the freight shipping basics to get you started.

What is Freight Shipping?

Freight shipping is the process of transporting commodities, goods, and cargo by land, sea or air. Common types of freight shipping over the road include truckload, less than truckload (LTL) and intermodal. Freight itself can be defined as the goods transported by truck, train, ship, or plane. The means of transport commonly associated with freight shipping are trucks, railroad cars, and large ships carrying containers. Goods are categorized in several different ways before a shipping channel is determined.

Things to consider about the goods at the beginning of the shipping process…

  • Type of Goods – Will it be household good, grain, hazardous materials, liquid, large machinery, etc.
  • Size of Goods – The size and quantity of the goods
  • Time of the Delivery – Do you need it there tomorrow or next week?
  • Packaging – Boxed, crated, palletized, or something else?
  • Destination – Domestic, intra-state, or international?

A freight service provider can help guide you through this process if you are unsure of of any of these considerations. Now you will need to decide what freight shipping option you need to use. The freight service can help you with this decision also. We will outline several freight options for you…

Parcel Carriers

Small parcels are individual shipments that are handled by common carriers such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx. These are much lighter than standard freight pallets, maxing out at only 150 lbs per shipment. Individual shippers can visit their local drop-off points to ship via envelope or box at their convenience.

LTL Less Than Truckload Freight

Less Than Truckload, or LTL, is a ground shipping service where goods only occupy a portion of a trailer. Most freight trailers are 8’-8.5’ wide, 12.5’-13.5’ high, and 40’-53’ long. These dimensions allow for several loads of shipment to fit into a single truck to accommodate multiple customers and point of destinations. This makes LTL cost efficient for freight shipping. LTL also offers many benefits not found in other shipping methods. Those are eco-friendliness and access to extra service options.

TL Truckload Freight

Available for any shipment large than about 15,000 pounds. The most economical way to ship large load is via its own truck. TL shipments generally deliver on exactly the same trailer as they are picked up on. This method is often chosen when shippers have 10 pallets or more, there are high-risk packages or when the time is an issue. A couple questions to ask before choosing this method is: What size is the shipment? (Is it more than 10,000 lbs?).How fast does it need to be delivered? How delicate is the shipment? Can it be easily damaged or is it temperature-sensitive?

Air Freight

Air freight shipping services are widely used by shippers all over the world because it allows for goods to move quickly and reliably. Defined into two groups… freight can either be delivered as express or international air freight. Shipping by air is available for just about every type of freight that can be shipped LTL at a quicker pace and a higher rate.

Rail Freight

This is an economical means of transport for almost anything that could be otherwise shipped LTL or TL. If goods and commodities are located near the rail-head then this option should be considered. However, one fact to consider is that if the destination is connected to the railway, or if additional modes of transportation is needed. This will influence a cut down or increase in costs, so ensuring that shipping by rail fits within a specified budget.

Ocean or Barge Freight

Even though air is preferred over ocean for international shipping, the benefits of using ocean freight shipping are due to the size of cargo and total costs. There are no restrictions when using ocean freight, but where air freight may take only a few days, ocean freight may take up to a few weeks. Much like ground shipping, ocean freight is categorized into two different shipping types, Full Container and Share a Container. Domestically , certain freight moves on major river channels such as the Mississippi and the Ohio.

Contact Us (859) 824-4177 for more information or to get a quote!

About American Lighthouse Transportation

American Lighthouse Transportation has been serving shippers with honesty and integrity throughout the United States, since 1998. You can depend on our experienced and knowledgeable management team, drivers, and support for all your shipping needs. We communicate effectively to make sure your shipment arrives safely, accurately, and on-time! You can count on us for personalized customer service, expert guidance, accurate anticipation of potential setbacks, and possible workarounds and solutions.
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