Freight carriers can be individuals or companies that specialize in moving different kinds of goods from one location to another. Most global freight carrier firms are usually made up of professionals who are trained in logistics and supply chain. Their training allows them to be able to respond quickly to the changes that may occur in demand or supply, help with transporting hazardous materials safely, and offer different options for delivery time. They also offer different delivery options, which may include scheduled pickup and door-to-door delivery.
Before going ahead to search for a freight carrier, you need to know that there are different types of freight carriers to choose from. Knowing the types of freight carriers available will help you make the right decision for all your shipping needs.
Types of Freight Carriers
Freight carriers are grouped into different categories, which include their function, location, equipment, etc.
Regional carriers are location-based carriers. They are further divided into local carriers and national carriers. They mostly deal with transporting goods within specific regions of the country. Based on which service you choose, they can provide door-to-door delivery or a pickup schedule.
- Local carriers
Local carriers are a more flexible and cost-effective option than other types of carriers. They provide door-to-door delivery, and their costs are usually determined by the fuel cost and the vehicle used.
- National carriers
National carriers provide a wider range of services than local carriers and are often more expensive. Similar to local carriers, they provide door-to-door delivery, but they have access to more regions within the country.
This type of freight carrier has assets such as equipment and infrastructure that are needed to move goods all through the shipping journey. They provide full truckload services (FTL) and less than full truckload services (LTL). They often work directly with the shippers to provide a more reliable service which usually comes with a higher cost. The benefits of asset-based carriers include higher transparency in tracking packages, higher quality of service, consistent pricing options, etc.
Unlike asset-based carriers, this type of carrier does not have the infrastructure or equipment to handle all shipping phases, although they may have a few facilities. Usually, they liaise with other types of carriers to complete their delivery process. They are a cheaper option than asset-based carriers. However, because they usually outsource to other carriers, they may have an increased transit time and lesser service quality.
A common carrier is a private or public company that moves cargo for a fee. They are required by law to provide transportation services to everyone at uniform rates, regardless of the destination or origin of the cargo. Their services are usually accessible to the public for hire. With most common carriers, freight is usually moved by third-party carriers on a transactional basis. Types of common carriers include trucks, buses, and ships.
A contract carrier is a transport company or an individual that works for a particular shipper for a specified time duration. The carrier is bound by contract to work for the shipper under certain conditions for a stipulated time. During the period of the contract, the carrier would be unable to provide their services to another shipper.
Types of Freight Shipping
There are different types of freight shipping available to freight carriers which include truck, sea, air, and rail shipping.
- Trucks: This is the most common shipping method used. It is cost-effective, time-saving, and can cover more distances. This type of freight service is also accessible to every business, regardless of its size.
- Air: Usually used to ship small packages that are time-sensitive. It uses airplanes to ship packages across countries or continents.
- Railroads: Mostly convenient for moving large shipments over long distances.
- Sea: This is also one of the most common types of shipping. It is cost-effective and suitable for moving large cargo over a long distance.
How to Choose The Best Freight Carrier
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a freight carrier. You want to make sure the carrier is going to be reliable, has the capacity you need, and has a good reputation. To ensure you pick the best carrier for your needs, here are some factors you should consider:
- The kind of services they offer
- Online reviews
- Cost of shipping
- Their insurance policy
Most businesses have experienced challenges with some freight carriers at some point in their business. So, while you look out for the best carrier service, don’t forget to weigh the pros and cons that are involved with each service. Factors such as the region of shipment, transit time, quality assurance, transparent tracking system, charges, etc., would help you choose the best freight carrier service.