If you are trying to familiarize yourself with different shipping methods and terms, you might get lost easily due to the number of terms that are used to describe different aspects of transportation methods.
And the world of transportation is big. It covers so much that one article would not be able to cover all of it. There is for instance the world of transportation by ship (or is it a boat?) and all the different ways parties like to insure their cargo.
And within the cargo transport by road there are whole fields of study that focus on topics such as the last mile problem or clean transportation alternatives.
Freight or Cargo
But let’s have a look at another transportation world. The world of air freight delivery services and how air freight differs from air cargo.
Within the shipping industry the words freight and cargo are usually used interchangeably. Not much confusion is created when one speaks of a freight plane over a cargo plan.
Yet, it is sometimes more appropriate to refer to a ship as a cargo ship versus a freight ship. And the same actually goes for air travel. Even though not much confusion is created over a freight plane, a cargo plane is more commonly used in the shipping industry.
But the word freight seems to be used all the time, so it cannot be true that shipping experts do not refer to it ever, right? And it’s true that freight is indeed a much used word in this sector of our global economy.
Goods that are transported over land by a truck or a lorry are referred to as… freight! Indeed, it is very common to hear the word freight when discussing transportation. So, because of this one would say freight trains and freight trucks, NOT cargo trains or cargo trucks. But then again, if you were to refer to a truck carrying goods over the road and you would refer to it as a cargo truck, everyone would know what you mean by that.
Air Cargo or Air Courier
While these two words mean basically the same and they can be used interchangeably, there are two more words that do have quite a different meaning. This is air cargo and air couriers.
What they have in common is the fact that both involve an airplane to transport goods from A to B. The difference between the two terms is the type of airplane used for the transport of goods.
If you were to book an air courier service for your goods to be shipped across the globe, your goods will be safely packed away in a dedicated cargo plane. This type of plane only carries cargo in its belly, and no (paying) passengers.
Air cargo on the other hand is an approach where extra cargo space in passenger planes is used for cargo. So when all passengers including their luggage are all aboard and there is still space for more, then the plane can take on extra cargo. It then thus carries air cargo!