Difference Between Freight and Shipping

Freight vs Shipping

As freight and shipping are two of the most popular methods of shipping the products that one needs, there is a huge interest in finding the difference between freight and shipping. However, each one has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Therefore, knowing the difference between freight and shipping may help largely when it comes to deciding whether freight (or cargo) or else shipping is better for transporting your commercial items. Here, we have discussed the definition of freight, the definition of shipping, and what constitutes the difference between these two terms.

What is Freight?

Freight or cargo can be defined as the products or the goods that are being transported, usually for commercial gain via ship. However, this term is now being used to define commercial transportation of goods by any means be it by air, land via container trucks and other modes of transport.

What is usually referred to freight is bulk transportation of goods. Freight is usually categorized into air freight and freight shipments. When it comes to shipments, prior to being transported, shipments are usually categorized into several shipment categories. These categories may depend upon the type of items being transported, how large the shipment is and how long the goods will be in transit. The usual categories that they are divided into are express, household goods, parcel, and freight shipments.


Air freight, however, tends to be transported much faster than freight shipments.

What is Shipping?

Shipping is the general term originally used to refer to transport of goods by the sea. Shipping can be either commercial or non-commercial. However, shipping can be of various natures. Whether it is by ship or air, the transporting of goods in bulk from one place to another can still be known as shipping. Shipping although done in bulk, is for transporting much smaller amounts of goods, usually by small to medium merchandisers.

Difference Between Freight and Shipping

What is the difference between Freight and Shipping?

While shipping and freight are two terms that are interrelated, they are two different methods of transporting goods from one place to another. Each method poses challenges, advantages and disadvantages of their own and, therefore, cannot be used interchangeably.

• Shipping and freight can be the transportation of goods either by air, land or water.

• Although shipping and freight are for the bulk transportation of goods, freight refers to a larger quantity of goods whereas shipping refers to a smaller quantity.

• Freight is done mainly for commercial purposes. Shipping of goods can be done for either commercial or personal purposes.

• Shipping is considered to be more expensive than freight since it is cheaper to transport a larger amount of goods than smaller amounts.

• Modes of transport that are mostly used for freight shipments are highway freight trucks, railroad cars, and large ships carrying shipping containers. Modes of transport usually used for shipping is through air or small trucks by land.


Photos By: Derell Licht (CC BY-ND 2.0), Loco Steve (CC BY 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Cargo and Freight
  2. Difference Between Shipping and Delivery