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Commercial Freight Shipping: A User’s Manual

The commercial shipping of items in bulk by air, land, or sea is freight shipping. Unlike package carriers, who specialize in little, light things, commercial freight shipping enables businesses to move huge quantities of goods or heavy items. Millions of firms rely on freight shipment daily for domestic and international trade.

The Basics of Freight Shipping 

Freight shipping is defined as transporting large amounts of commercial commodities by air, heavy haul trucking company, or sea. Freight shipping businesses use airports, seaports, and independent truck depots worldwide to transport commodities.

Oversize shipping services ship goods larger than 30″ x 30″ x 30″ or weighing more than 150 pounds are considered freight. Goods are put onto wooden pallets or 20-40′ shipping containers, frequently mixed with other cargo. Smaller shipments can be transported more cost-effectively using express parcel couriers such as the USPS. Instead of the end-customer, freight shipments are delivered to a warehouse. If the flatbed freight quote is accurate, single orders are only sent out for last-mile delivery after being unloaded and stored at the receiving facility.

The Three Types of Freight Shipping

Airfreight: One or more containers of cargo are loaded onto a plane. Airfreight is usually handled by a single business. Airfreight is the best option for merchants who need one or more palettes delivered in less than a week.

Truck freight: Palettes are placed onto semi-trailers or light vehicles and driven to the receiving warehouse via truck freight. This method works best for medium to oversized items that need to arrive in a week or less and are less expensive than air freight.

Sea freight: At the nearest seaport, cargo is loaded into a 20-40′ shipping container subsequently loaded onto an ocean carrier. When time is limited, ocean freight is the most cost-effective way to move high-volume cargo or big items. To plan transportation, customs clearance, and other logistics, you’ll work with the shipping firm and freight forwarder.

Freight Shipping’s Advantages

For enterprises moving huge items or significant cargo, freight shipping is the de facto delivery option. Growing enterprises use freight shipping companies for the following reasons: 

  • Large objects are simple to handle: Unlike courier services, freight can handle the largest and heaviest goods. Individually heavy objects, such as cars and pianos, or many lightweight items, such as clothing, are examples. 
  • Cost-effective at scale: Moving large, unwieldy, or heavy freight via courier service is cost-prohibitive. More prominent merchants use freight services to transport goods at pennies on the dollar compared to the rates of courier services.
  • Flexible pricing: Prices vary considerably among kinds of freight shipping. And each form of cargo shipping comes in a range of pricing tiers. This shows you can find ways to ship cost-effectively on any budget, so long as your items don’t need to be there post-haste. 

The Freight Shipping Process

Because of its size, freight transportation is more complicated than parcel shipment. Because big jobs necessitate extra hands, you should anticipate working with a few other people when you begin your career in freight, including: 

  • Freight forwarders: Freight forwarders are similar to travel brokers for freight shipments. Freight forwarders provide services to freight shipping firms and clients that make the freight process easier, such as providing truck transport services.
  • Providers of third-party logistics: Companies that provide warehouse, transportation, and last-mile delivery as part of their outsourced distribution and fulfillment services. Large freight forwarding businesses may offer fulfillment services. 
  • Customs brokers: Global logistics shipments involve receiving country-specific customs documents. Brokers are experts in completing the required import/export paperwork and clearing your shipment through customs. 

Best Practices for Freight Shipping

  1. Gather All Required Documentation

Freight shipment, especially international freight delivery, necessitates more documentation than courier service. For example, a packing list, a bill of lading, or a shipper’s letter of instruction.

For a complete list of shipping paperwork, contact your freight shipping firm. Double-check that you have all of the paperwork you’ll need to clear customs for overseas shipments.  

  1. Use The Right Packaging

Make sure your palettes and goods are in good shape. Faulty palettes and packaging might cause damage in transit. Shippers are forced to repackage their goods because of broken palettes. Also, make sure you get your flatbed freight quote to check for prices. 

  1. Select High-Quality Packaging

The handling of oversize shipping services might be complex. Use boxes with the correct weight rate, quality adhesives, and robust packaging tape to keep your goods as safe as possible.

  1. Find Quality Alliances

When moving commodities like gold, having a dependable and profitable freight partner is worth it. Setting clear expectations, requesting a shipment timetable, and maintaining a tight point of contact are all essential components of good relationships. When you’re open and honest with your heavy haul trucking company, you’ll get better service and fewer headaches in the long run.

  1. Keep Your Visibility Up

It’s vital to maintain your commercial shipping to ensure success. Your shipping platform should communicate directly with your fulfillment partners’ warehouse management systems (WMS). You’ll be able to see where your inventory is in real time this way.


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