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Modes of Freight Transportation

Modes of Freight Transportation

FreightCenter can help you decide which of the following types of freight transportation and services will best fit your needs.

illustration of less-than-truckload (LTL) freight
LTL Shipping

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

By far, the most popular type of freight transportation, LTL freight, is generally shipped by truck to and from your pickup and destination locations. LTL freight shipping is the most cost-effective, reliable, and timely service because your shipment shares a truck with other LTL freight shipments.

Illustration of a partial truckload shipment

Partial Truckload

Different from LTL freight, this type of freight involves a dedicated truck that moves fewer loads at one time and handles all types of commodities, including refrigerated, temperature-controlled, hazardous material, and overweight or oversized goods. Partial truckload shipping is reserved for medium-size loads that are booked by volume or require running feet of a truck.
Illustration of a full truckload shipment
Partial Truckload Shipping
Partial Truckload Shipping (FTL)

Truckload (TL)

This service is ideal for commodities that are unpackaged or may require refrigeration, climate control, flatbeds, or other special accommodation for oversize or overweight shipments. Truckload shipping is not the least expensive transportation option, but it can be much faster than LTL freight because it requires no truck transfers (e.g., unloading and reloading of your shipment).

Illustration showing an air-ride trailer suspension

Air Ride Truckload (Full or Partial)

If your shipment is delicate or has a high risk of damage, then a dedicated truck with air-ride suspension is the most preferred method of transportation. For this type of freight, air ride provides a softer ride than a standard freight truck. Because this type of service is used less frequently, it can often be more expensive than a standard full or partial truckload shipment.
Illustration showing air freight shipping

Air Freight

Air freight services have the fastest transit time by far. Cargo airlines or air freight carriers are dedicated to handling logistics for the transport of cargo. Specifically, for the shipping of smaller packages, types of air freight usually have a higher density, which means they don’t take up much space on a cargo plane, but they do meet the weight requirements to be considered freight. If the package weighs more than 100 pounds and is tightly packed, air freight shipping can be more cost-effective than LTL freight methods. Learn more about air freight shipping.

Blanket Wrap or Van Move

Another method of shipping freight that cannot be boxed, palletized, or crated is to request blanket wrap or van move services. A perfect solution for large pieces of furniture that cannot be repackaged, blanket wrap shipping and van moves are slightly more expensive than basic LTL freight shipping. Since both services require more specialized planning, a slower transit time is inevitable. Although a slower method, you can rest assured that your goods will be handled with care.

Intermodal Rail Freight

Shipping by rail is a cost-effective, efficient, and green transportation method. Widely used as a method of shipping bulk construction or hazardous materials, intermodal rail freight can save you time and money compared to shipping by truck. With railroad systems throughout the United States and Canada, our extensive network of rail freight carriers can deliver your cargo to most places in North America. Learn more about intermodal freight shipping.

International Shipping

Similar to the differences between LTL and truckload freight, there are different types of shipping loads for container shipping, which are separated by full container loads (FCL) and less-than-container loads (LCL). Through our network of freight forwarders and ocean or air transporters, FreightCenter agents can arrange international freight shipping to and from most parts of the world. Whether you have smaller, dense packages or a shipment that can be moved by container or boat, we have solutions to keep your imports and exports moving. Learn more about international shipping.

Expedited Freight Services

Expedited freight shipping is predictable because it allows different types of freight to be moved at a very high speed. Although not the same as “Guaranteed Delivery,” expedited freight has a speedy transit time and is usually arranged with delivery between one and five days after pickup. Learn more about expedited freight services.

Guaranteed Delivery Freight Services

If the type of freight you are shipping requires it to be delivered on a certain date and time, then guaranteed delivery is your best option. If the delivery is late, you will be reimbursed for the difference between the guaranteed price and the standard or non-guaranteed rate.

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