Find Affordable Freight Shipping Services

Freight shipping is an excellent option for affordable, efficient, and safe shipping of goods. Learn more about the types of freight shipping available, the best approach to freight shipping, and the costs and rates of freight shipping.

If you need to transport heavy, large, or bulk items, freight shipping can be one of the best options for delivering your items in an affordable, efficient, and safe manner. Freight shipping is a special service that ships goods by truck, train, airplane, or ocean liner depending on your destination and delivery date. As freight shipping services are often difficult to navigate, this article will cover the most important considerations: the types of freight shipping available, the most popular freight shipping carriers and companies, the best approach to freight shipping, and the costs and rates associated with this way of shipping.

What Are the Types of Freight Shipping?

There are many different types of freight shipping services available. You may be interested in one of the following: 

  • Less than a Truckload (LTL): You may opt for LTL freight shipping if you wish to transport a relatively small amount of goods. The weight range for LTL shipments are between 150 and 10,000 pounds. It is an excellent option for eCommerce and other small businesses as they generally do not need to transport full trucks of products and they can take advantage of the cost-savings. However, transport may be less timely than other freight shipping opinions as trucks tend to make multiple stops to unload pallets. 

  • Full Truckload (FTL): FTL freight shipping is advantageous if you have an exceptional amount of goods to transport and deliver. If you are shipping more than ten pallets or more than 10,000 pounds, it will usually be transported by FTL. Moreover, FTL shipments are delivered quickly and can be transported with more specific safety or sensitive handling requirements. 

  • Intermodal Rail: Intermodal rail freight shipping transports goods in shipping containers and truck trailers by train. Although the standard maximum accepted weight for one container is 40,000 pounds, many railroads will accommodate bigger shipments if it is pre-arranged. Additionally, it is an advantageous option for bulk construction or dangerous materials. 

  • Air: If you have a small shipment, under 350 pounds, and have a tight delivery deadline, air freight may be the best option. Although it is more expensive than other types of freight shipping, it is the quickest way to ship items over long distances. 

  • Ocean: When you are shipping more than 440 pounds, or shipping internationally, ocean freight shipping is the cheapest option. Typically, you can ship by transit time, by full container load (FCL) or less than container load (LCL). 

What Are Freight Shipping Carriers and Companies?

One of the difficulties with shipping bulky, heavy, or large items is finding a freight shipping carrier that can accommodate your shipping conditions, budget, and delivery date. Freight shipping carriers are companies that physically transport your items by truck, train, airplane, ocean liner, or a combination of different types of transport. If you are shipping within your state, finding a shipping carrier directly may be a good course of action as you will only need one type of transport from point A to point B. 

That said, if you are shipping across the United States, or intentionally, it is likely you will need more than one type of transport. In these cases, a freight forwarding company may be ideal, as they will arrange shipping, even if it includes more than one type of shipping or one carrier. 

Furthermore, if you need help with storing warehouse goods, managing orders, processing, and packing items, transporting, and delivering goods, you may be more interested in 3PL Fulfillment companies (or a shipping freight broker) that will take care of all your shipping needs. 

How To Ship Freight

If you decide to take advantage of a third-party logistics company, they will likely handle the majority of the challenging work from order management, to order fulfillment, including transporting your items. However, if you opt for freight shipping through a carrier or forwarder, you will need to:

  • Package or box your items appropriately, stack them onto pallets, and wrap and secure the pallets. 

  • Determine the freight shipping option that best suits your needs, including transport mode, shipping speed and time, and additional services such as sensitive handling.

  • If you are shopping by ground transport, truck, you may need to determine freight classification. 

  • Create a shipping label through your carrier or forwarder.

  • Ensure that you have completed all the appropriate forms. In the United States, all shipments generally require a Bill of Lading, Packing List, and Commercial Invoice. However, depending on the types of goods you are transporting and where you are delivering them, you may need other paperwork as well. 

  • Inquire to your carrier or forwarder if you need extra assistance with loading your pallet onto their truck. For instance, if you do not already have a loading dock, you may need a liftgate. 

  • Schedule your pick up through your carrier or forwarder.

  • Pay for your shipment and track your packages. 

How Much Does Freight Shipping Cost?

Freight shipping costs depend on various factors including type of freight shipping service, current market conditions, fuel costs, distance, demand, weight and size of your packages, types of goods you are shipping, any extra handling instructions, and delivery date. It can be difficult to figure out and compare all these factors by oneself, which is why many individuals and businesses opt into working with a freight forwarding company or a broker. 

In general, the most expensive way to ship items is by air. The cheapest method to ship items within the United States is through ground transport (truck). However, if your shipment is quite large, rail may be cheaper. Internationally, the most affordable option is to freight ship by ocean liner rather than by airplane. 

What Are Pallet Shipping Rates?

Although pallets can simply refer to how you transport items in the most efficient way possible, it can also be how you can secure the most affordable freight shipping services. Most carriers and forwards offer low, standard rates regardless of the type of items you are shipping (unless you are shipping sensitive, fragile, or hazardous items) by pallet. In this way, your freight shipping cost will be determined by the weight and size of your shipment; for instance, the standard rate usually applies to a pallet that fits 48” by 40” by 48” and weighs less than 1600 pounds. In most cases, if you prefer to ship by standard pallet rates, you may be interested in LTL shipping or FTL shipping. 

On the other hand, if you are shipping by train or ocean liner, you will usually load your goods into a container. Standard containers are 8’ by 8.6’ by 20’ or 40’. You can choose to partially or fully fill these containers. 

Shipping goods by freight can be one of the most advantageous methods to transport and deliver goods to other businesses or consumers. It can be cost-efficient, timely, and ensure safe handling of fragile or hazardous items. If you are interested in freight shipping, it is an excellent idea to investigate a freight shipping forwarder or broker to secure the best rates available on the market today.