The Difference Between Chicago Shipping and Freight

In the shipping industry, it’s important to understand the difference between “shipping” and “freight.” While their differences may seem obvious, their definitions have expanded and changed to the point where you may refer to the wrong term when talking about certain things pertaining to shipments.

What is Freight?

Freight or cargo is typically defined as the goods or products being transported to a location for commercial gain via ships. However, this term is also now used to cover a wider scope of goods, including those transported by land, air, or railroad.

Two categories comprise freight: air freight and freight shipment. Freight shipments are also divided into multiple categories, which will depend on the type of items being transported, the size of the shipment, and the length of time the freight will be in transit.

freight shipping boat

Typical categories include parcel, express, household goods, and freight shipments. Air freight transportation tends to be much faster than freight shipments, however.

What is Shipping?

Shipping is the general term normally used to refer to transport of goods across the ocean. It’s either commercial or noncommercial. Regardless of whether goods travel by sea or air, the process of transporting goods in bulk is still known as shipping. Shipping is for transporting smaller amounts of goods, usually by small or medium-sized merchandizers.

So, What’s the Real Difference Between the Two?

Freight and shipping may seem like two terms that are interrelated, but they are actually two different transportation methods. Each method includes its own challenges, pros, and cons, which means you can’t use these terms interchangeably.

In short, shipping refers to smaller amounts of goods, whereas freight refers to larger shipments. Freight shipping from Chicago is also done mainly for commercial purposes, while shipping is suitable for both commercial and noncommercial applications.

Shipping is also more expensive than freight because it’s cheaper to ship large amounts of bulk goods. And freight shipments are performed via air, sea, or land, while shipping is done mainly through air or smaller trucks on land.

You can look at it this way to help separate the two: Shipping could refer to courier and integrator companies such as Fed Ex, while freight can include freight forwarders through line-haul.

Keeping these differences in mind can save you a lot of confusion in the long run, making it easier to identify which type of shipment a person is referring to.

Any Future Changes to Definitions?

So far, there haven’t been too many developments apart from these terms, as technology has changed over the years to change the shipping world, with the advent of planes and faster and more efficient land travel.

Despite the changing landscape of shipping and freight transportation, we’re not likely to see many changes in terminology apart from these two, unless new terminology is used to describe new processes or technology.

For now, knowing the difference between freight and shipping is the primary concern regarding knowledge in the shipping industry, which can help avoid mix-ups and other confusion regarding the types of shipments you or a client intends to push.

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