cargo freight carrier

What Is Freight Delivery And Shipping Meaning?

Often, the terms shipping and freight are used as synonyms. However, both these terms have a meaning that overlaps; there are some features that distinguish one from the other.

Both shipping and freight comprise the practice of transporting goods from one location to another by different modes (usually by air, sea, rail or road). However, shipping has come to mean a more consumer-linked term, while freight has a more commercial connotation.

The terms have come to involve much confusion. A ship is called a cargo freight carrier when freight is transported by sea. Following is a more detailed discussion of the two terms:

What is freight?

Freight can have differing meanings in varied contexts. First of all, it can be used to refer to the cargo, goods, commodities, merchandise or any items that have to be transported. Thus, in such a context, freight refers to the subject of the process of shipping.

For instance, in the process of negotiating service contracts, an abbreviation called FAK is used- meaning Freight All Kinds. In simple terms, this is a rate that is applied to various kinds of commodities. The key fact to be noted is that the term freight refers to the real commodity in this context.

Yet, freight can also refer to the procedure of transporting goods from one place to another. But this term has a more commercial tone. For instance, companies who demand an RFQ (Request for Quotation) or RFP (Request for Proposal) or any requests for general quotations are seeking a proposal of pricing for moving cargo.

In such a context, they would be typically referring to air-freight or sea-freight RFQs. Thus, the commercial intent focuses on the transport of goods from one location to another.

Also, the implication is that the context and emphasis are commercial, which is mostly used in B2B (Business to Business) scenarios. As such, the term freight is more often used in an industry context and focuses on moving large quantities.

What is shipping?

The origin of the term shipping, referring to the transport of goods by ships, can be traced back to the 15th century. But currently, the term shipping has evolved to include different modes of transport (sea, road, rail, air).

Considering its evolution etymologically, the term shipping has now been generalised and revolves around the process of moving cargo from one place to another, no matter what the means of transport.

For example, the terms- ‘method of shipping’ or ‘shipping & returns’ can be found commonly in most e-commerce platforms. In such a context, shipping refers to the procedure of moving purchased items from the seller to the buyer’s doorstep.

Thus, the focal point is the buying of goods, and shipping is just a component of the purchase process. Shipping refers in a generalised way to the process of transport, no matter what the mode of shipping is.

Though the term has application in B2B scenarios, it is mostly used in B2C (Business to Consumer) and C2C (Consumer to Consumer) contexts. 

Shipping thus has a common reference to small consignments. It differs from freight cargo shipping, which means the transport of large cargo.

In sum, the terms cargo freight carrier are used interchangeably.  But freight refers commonly to the transport of large commodities in the B2B context, while shipping refers to small parcels in the B2C or C2C contexts.