March 15, 2024 - By :

Four Main Types of Freight Shipping

There are four main types of freight shipping to use to move cargo around the world. The major forms of transit are road, ocean, air, and rail. Each of these modes of transit has its own processes, making them unique options with different advantages and disadvantages.  Each type of freight shipping has different service groups. Below, we take a look at each. 


When someone mentions shipping by ground, they typically mean trucking. Ground freight includes both Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping and Full Truckload (FTL) shipping.  LTL shipping refers to cargo that does not fill an entire truck. Generally, this allows shippers to join other shipments on a similar route. The transit period is longer, but it is often more cost-effective.  On the other hand, FTL shipping dedicates an entire truck to a single shipper. The benefit here is the space and security required for high-value freight and a shorter transit period. 


ocean freight shipping Ocean freight involves moving freight over the water. Typically, the freight is in containers. The process involves shipping from a port of origin to a port of destination.  Generally, this is only one part of the process. From the port of destination, the freight may require warehousing or shipping over rail or road.  Similar to trucking, there are several options: 
  • Less-than-container load service (LCL)
  • Full container load service (FCL)
  • Multimodal solutions
  • Oversized or non-containerized cargo


air cargo transportation The next main type of freight shipping is by air. As you might imagine, this involves aircraft transportation. Generally, the process involves the consolidation of goods into larger shipments. Then, a commercial or cargo plane transports the cargo from one location to the next. 
  • Cargo shipping
  • Hand-carry shipping with an on-board courier
  • Charter aircraft


freight transporation by rail Rail freight transit is the final major type of freight shipping. It involves the use of trains and railways to move cargo. Cargo trains have several freight cars hauled by a single or multiple locomotives.  This mode of transit allows it to move some or all of the way between a shipper and the final destination. Generally, trains haul intermodal containers, regular freight, specialized freight that requires specially designed cars, and bulk materials.

Multimodal Shipping

Typically, it’s not possible to use a single mode of freight shipping for your cargo. Multimodal shipping through a logistics company schedules different methods in an effective, efficient manner. There are many advantages to this: 
  • Streamlined service 
  • Single point of contact
  • Troubleshooting issues on the journey
  • Simplified tracking 
  • Efficient and cost-effective
Freight forwarders often specialize in multimodal transportation. If you need assistance moving your cargo, the team at Derby Logistics is always ready to help.  We have two main headquarters in Houston, TX, and Portland, OR. Contact us today for a quote, and see how we can meet your needs.