Handbook of freight shipping in the US – what are the options and costs

Since ancient times, people were using different kinds of cargo transportation to improve trade. Trading caravans and large ships were making it possible to move various goods between distant countries. Today, thanks to modern technology, we can reach any part of the world in a considerably shorter time. And by using freight shipping, companies can transport significantly larger amounts of goods to almost any destination. Freight shipping in the US is an integral part of many businesses’ operations in general. But it also allows ordinary people to relocate with their possessions anywhere without problems. In addition, it’s possible to order various types of products and have them delivered to our address no matter where we are.

Options and costs of freight shipping in the US

As pointed above, many industries rely on freight shipping today. Due to its efficiency and availability, major industries like automotive, online stores, manufacturing, agriculture, and many others require freight shipping to operate. It’s a fast and safe way to transport goods, even those that require special conditions or have expiration dates. Additionally, it’s also a great option if you need cost-effective international relocation. If you want to find more about freight shipping in the US and available options and costs, you will find valuable information in this guide.

What is freight shipping in general?

Basically, it’s a way of transporting goods, commodities, and cargo in bulk, from one location to another. It can be done by land, air, sea, or any combination of those. As an example, you can look at different types of freight shipping services on movage-moving.com. Many companies offer customized services, depending on the circumstances. Since the size and type of items, including the distance, are deciding factors, most goods will be packed in boxes and crates and then placed in containers. For easier loading, shippers can place them on pallets first. And if goods are sensitive to temperature changes, or are perishable, climate-controlled trucks or containers can be used.

Types of freight transportation

There are different types of freight transportation you can choose from. In general, it depends on various factors, but the speed of delivery is probably the most important one.

Freight shipping by ground

Land transport is one of the options, and probably the most commonly used option in continental areas. It has considerable capacity and potential for transporting any type of goods. Usually, you have two options here:

  • FTL – Full Truck Load is a good choice if you need the entire truck trailer to fir your goods. Even if you don’t have so many goods, it’s still an appropriate option if you need a dedicated transporting option. The size of the load can vary, but it’s usually between 10,000 and 40,000 lbs. Furthermore, from additional specialized options, there are refrigerated, dry vans, and flatbed trucks.
  • LTL – Another option is Less Than Truckload. It’s most commonly used if you don’t have enough goods to fill the entire truck. It’s a cost-efficient option if you don’t want to pay for FTL without a good reason. Shippers use this type of transporting usually to serve more than one client at once.

Rail shipping

Besides trucks, goods can be shipped by rails. Basically, it’s the most affordable option for transporting exceptionally large and heavy cargo by ground. Of course, even if it’s cost-efficient, this option will not be a good choice if you require speed.

Railyard with trains and cargo.
Rail transport is a reliable way to transport raw materials.

Freight shipping by sea

Also known as Ocean freight, is probably the most appropriate option for shipping a large number of goods. It has the capacity to transport almost everything but the only drawback is it can take longer to deliver. Just like with trucks, you have two options here:

  • FCL – Full Container Load is an option where you use the entire container to transport your goods.
  • LCL – Less than Container Load allows you to share a container with other shippers if you don’t require the entire container.

Again, Ocean freight is excellent for transporting goods to large distances without having to worry about the delivery speed.

An ocean freight with a full cargo hold.
Ocean freights are slower but can carry anything.

Freight shipping by air

This is the fastest and most reliable way to ship your goods anywhere. If you need an option to deliver your products fast, airfreight is your option. Especially for international deliveries. This is also one of the safest ways to transport cargo, which is perfect for valuable items. Electronics, seasonal goods, and medicaments are the most common items shipped this way, due to their sensitive nature and urgency. However, the only drawback is the price. When compared to other means of transportation, this is the most expensive option.

Cargo plane at the airport.
Airplanes are the fastest mean of transportation today.

Costs of freight shipping in the US

Costs of freight shipping will depend on several factors. The distance, fuel expenses, capacity requirements, delivery time, and type of freight are just a part of it. Here are a couple of the most important factors that influence the price:

  • Freight class – It’s a standard known as National Motor Freight Classification used to determine to which class your goods belong. There are 18 different categories, and the price of shipping will depend on it.
  • Delivery time – This is the estimation of the speed of delivery. Basically, it’s in close connection with the type of freight shipping services you choose. The fast options like airfreight will cost more than the ocean freight, obviously. However, there are express delivery options even within airfreights, if you need an urgent way to deliver your goods.
  • Destination and location – typically, the further you need to ship your goods the costs will increase. But, it can also increase if the location of delivery is within the limited access area. Some places will require special permits to deliver the goods, which also adds to final costs.
  • Special services – this includes any additional requirements like special handling of specific cargo. If you have goods that need climate-controlled means of transportation, it will definitely increase the bills.

There are other important factors that can determine the price as well. Seasonal goods where the time of the year is important can cost more to ship. Also, shipping cargo of great value, or dangerous goods, will also increase the price.


All things considered, you will never lack options if you need freight shipping in the US. With the help of professional shipping companies, you will be able to easily get your cargo almost anywhere you wish. Whether it’s commercial goods you need to deliver to your clients, or you simply want to transport your household possessions to another part of the country, you have plenty of viable options to do it.

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