We’re a world of consumers; every day we need more and more stuff to take the place of the stuff we use. Stuff to eat, stuff to use in our homes, stuff to drive, stuff to wear, stuff for entertainment, and stuff to read. We don’t always think about how all this stuff gets to the stores near us or to our doorstep. It’s just there when we need more stuff.
The fact is, there are several ways that products get shipped around the world or locally, some even using more than one shipping method. So what are the types of freight shippers that bring us all our stuff?
First, let’s define freight. Freight is any shipment that is larger than 30”x30”x30” and weighs more than 150 lbs. Packages that are smaller than that would be expensive to ship in the same manner as freight and are usually shipped via parcel, i.e. UPS or FedEx. Freight is loaded by pallet or can be loaded directly onto the floor of the truck. Floor-loaded freight is loaded into the truck by hand where pallet-loaded can be loaded into the truck using a forklift.
Air Freight Shippers
Air freight shippers ship cargo just as it sounds, using planes. Although it is an expensive way to ship cargo, it is fast which can be more important than the cost. Air freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally.
Ocean Freight Shippers
Shipping products via ship is the most popular way to ship cargo because it’s the most inexpensive. However, it does take the longest amount of time. It’s the oldest way to ship freight around the world. Usually, large containers are used for shipments that can be loaded onto trucks or trains at ports to bring the products to their final destinations. Ocean freight shippers can ship internationally or domestically.
Rail Freight Shippers
Shipping products by train may take a little longer than by trucks, but as they don’t have to be concerned with running into traffic or auto accidents, it can be faster. Because trains use less fuel to pull many cars than the same number of trucks would, they are more economical and more eco-friendly than trucks. Rail freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally to Canada and Mexico and are often the second leg of transport of products coming in on container ships.
Ground Freight Shippers
Ground freight shippers use trucks to transport cargo, especially to local areas but many deliver cargo across the country. A standard-sized truck can carry a maximum of 26 pallets. Standard dimensions of a single pallet are 48”Wx40”Lx48”H. Anything above 48” high is considered a double pallet.
Ground freight shippers offer a variety of options for shipping including:
Full Truck Loads (FTL): Typically a load of 24-26 pallets. Because it is a full truck, shipments can be made directly from pick-up to destination. Benefits of FTL include the use of refrigerated trucks or the ability to ship over-sized loads.
Less Than Truck Loads (LTL): This type of shipping is for cargo that is larger than a parcel but smaller than a truckload, usually 1-6 pallets. This is the most common type of ground shipping. Along the route, cargo is transferred to other trucks and is shipped through local terminals. Because of the shared payload, shipping usually takes longer than full trucks which are shipped directly to their destination. It’s cheaper than other ground shipping methods that use trucks.
Partial Truck Loads (PTL): Partial truck loads are generally between 6-18 pallets. Costs are usually comparable to LTL rates but have the benefit of FTL shipping times because they may be transferred to a different truck but usually they are not.
Freight shippers are constantly looking to improve ways to ship cargo as well as the logistics involved with moving freight. Driverless vehicles and even drones may be on the horizon but the tried-and-true shipping methods using planes, trains, and trucks remains the most cost-effective and efficient ways to get us our stuff.
If you’re looking to ship your product around the state or around the world, Direct Freight Services can help. Go to directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and find a truck for your load or a load for your truck. Start your free trial today!