green and brown cargo containers

Basics of Freight Shipping

by Ann-Ghilianne Laguerre

containers on cargo ship

Freight shipping, by definition, is the movement of bulk cargo from one location to another, whether it’s by truckrailair, or sea. Knowing the basics of freight shipping can be the difference between shipping a truckload of freight versus a truckload of money. The importance of the freight industry cannot be understated. In fact, The American Trucking Associations’ American Trucking Trends 2018 found that the trucking industry alone generated $700.1 billion in revenue, or 79.3% of the U.S.’s freight bill, cementing its place of importance in the U.S. economy.

At FreightCenter, we ship freight for corporate and governmentsmall businesses, and one-time and first-time residential freight shippers. No matter the freight shipment, FreightCenter will connect you to one of our many nationwide carriers.

Can I Ship That?

Short answer: Yes! Slightly longer answer? Your best bet is to check with your FreightCenter freight agent. We want to help you get your freight where it needs to go, but some limitations apply. For instance, we don’t ship vehicles or live things.

This can depend on the carrier you choose, and your agent will inform you upon booking.

Are Accessorials Needed?

Accessorials are add-ons to your booking that assure ease of shipment. If your shipping location or destination lacks the proper equipment, like a liftgate, or if they are starting or ending at a limited access pickup location, it can be added to your quote form for an additional feeBilling adjustments occur if such accessorials are missing on the order.

Furthermore, if you want your freight to be treated like the MVP (Most Valuable Package!), additional accessorials like First Mile and White Glove Service will lay out the red carpet. Services like these are optional.

—Learn more about different kinds of accessorials here!

Basics of Freight Shipping

Types Of Freight Shipping


While learning the basics of freight shipping, above accessorials, the most important to know is the different forms of trucking and when to use freight. While choosing accessorials for your freight does save money on the shipment, it means nothing if you have the wrong form of transport. In the logistics industry, there are many ways to ship easily and save money on both ends.


The perfect fit for shipping a crate or two (or three, or four…)! Less-than-truckload, or LTL, is a popular, cost-effective mode of transportation when you don’t require the whole trailer for your shipment. Instead, you only have to pay for the space your freight occupies. It’s also the ideal choice for anything between 150 – 10,000 lbs.

—To learn more, check out our page on LTL freight shipping and LTL freight services.

—LTL uses National Motor Freight Classification. Learn more about NMFC here and check out our freight class lookup tool.

Full truckload

When cargo is too bulky it’s best to ship it by itself. Full truckload, or FTL, is the choice for you. By choosing FTL, the world is your oyster…or the truck is, at least. Full truckload is ideal for shippers with time-sensitive freight. When the trailer is dedicated to your load there will be no stops on the way to its delivery point.

—Read more about truckload and truckload services.

Partial truckload

If you don’t need the full truck, perhaps a partial truckload is the route for you. This can be anywhere from 6 to 18 pallets from 8,000 lbs. to 27,000 lbs. PTL does not rely on freight class classifications, and has competitive rates against LTL, with quicker delivery times since it passes through fewer hands.

—If you want to learn more about partial truckload, check out our Partial Truckload Shipping Services page.

Parcel shipping

Shipments weighing 150 lbs. or less qualify for parcel shipping (anything that can fit reasonably inside of a USPS truck). Since the packages are smaller,  the parcel receives more personalized treatment during shipment. Parcels are the way to go when your shipment is too small for a freight truck.

—Brush up on parcel here!

Packaging For Freight Shipping

The road to delivery can be a treacherous one. Freight faces damaging conditions in the warehouse and on the road. It also typically passes a lot of hands before it gets where it needs to be. Just remember:

– Crate, palletize, and otherwise package your freight securely.

Proper packaging is of the utmost importance! If something happens between points A and B, you want to assure that your carrier liability is not nullified due to improper packaging.

– It would be wise to get freight insurance.

– Place labels in multiple places on every piece of freight.

Learn more about packaging here!

Freight Shipping With A 3PL


Have your freight shipped with FreightCenter’s help! We will introduce you to our vast network of carriers, matching you with the perfect one for your freight. When the choice is yours, you get a 1-2 combo of service and pricing based on your specific needs.

Our freight agents will see your shipment through each leg of travel, from verifying the freight class, and double-checking freight specs before shipment, to assuring that all your paperwork is in order. And if you have a question, our freight agents are available around the clock. Start your FreightCenter freight quote today, or give us a call at 800.716.7608 to learn more about the basics of shipping your freight with FreightCenter.

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