Key Points:

  • Freight shipping is the bulk transportation of goods by air, land, or sea
  • Air freight is the fastest form of freight shipping and can take anywhere from 1-5 business days
  • Depending on the freight carrier, air freight shipping may require you to fill out a commercial invoice, certificate of origin, bill of lading, or even an export packing list

Freight shipments totaled over $100 billion in the past year, making it a popular shipping option for large and heavy items. Items that use freight shipping range anywhere from automobiles, kitchen appliances, or even furniture and can be shipped by air, ground, or sea.

We'll go over everything you need to know about freight shipping and how to find the cheapest freight carrier in the blog post, so you can handle freight shipping like a pro.

Table of Contents

Basics of Cheap Freight Shipping

Freight shipping is the bulk transportation of goods by air, land, or sea. This shipping service allows businesses to transport large volumes of goods or heavier items; here's the breakdown of the three forms of freight shipping:

  • Air freight: Refers to the shipment of goods via an air freight carrier like UPS or FedEx. Air freight shipments are best for eCommerce merchants who need expedited shipping
  • Ocean freight: Refers to the shipment of goods by sea. Ocean freight is best for merchants who don't have time constraints for shipping and are looking for cheap freight shipping
  • Truck freight: Refers to the shipment of goods via ground transportation. This freight shipping service is typical for domestic deliveries and takes roughly a week. Less-than-Truckload (LTL) freight shipping is also a cheap freight option

Generally, freight shipments weigh more than 150 pounds and exceed 30 x 30 x 30" in dimensions. So for shipments under 150 pounds, eCommerce merchants can use couriers like USPS for affordable shipping.

Related post: Your Guide to Freight Shipping

How Long Does Freight Shipping Take?

Delivery lead time varies depending on the freight carrier and the freight shipping service (i.e., air freight) you choose. In very rough estimates, air freight is the fastest freight shipping option and can take anywhere from 1-5 business days.

On the other hand, ocean freight can take upwards of 45 business days, and truck LTL freight shipping can take anywhere from 5 to 10 business days, depending on the shipment destination.

Now that you know the estimated lead times for cheap freight shipping, we'll go over an example scenario about the costs involved in finding the cheapest freight carrier.

How Much Does Cheap Freight Shipping Cost?

Freight shipping fees vary depending on the type of freight shipping you choose. For instance, air freight shipping is a faster shipping service, which will cost more than sea freight. Though, no matter what, the following factors impact the shipping cost of LTL shipments:

  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Density
  • Storability
  • Packaging
  • Fragility
  • Destination specifications
  • Mode of transportation
  • Time sensitivity
  • Freight classification

Overall, the cheapest way to ship heavy freight shipments depends on the exact weight of your cargo and the distance it will travel. This section will give an example scenario of how much it costs to ship furniture at different weights via ground freight from New York to Los Angeles.


Shipping with UPS

Let's say you're shipping furniture with UPS via ground freight. For this example, we're shipping a couch using UPS Ground truckload LTL under freight class 175.

Weight Delivery Lead Time Cost (Ground Freight)
200 6 business days $785.95
250 6 business days $978.44
300 6 business days $1,170.92
350 6 business days $1,363.41

Shipping with FedEx

Now, let's say you're shipping the same couch shipment from NY to LA with FedEx. We'll calculate how much it costs for ground LTL freight shipping in the United States at varying weights here.

Weight Delivery Lead Time Cost (Ground Freight)
200 4 business days $1,047.34
250 4 business days $1,306.18
300 4 business days $1,565.02
350 4 business days $1,823.85

Shipping with USPS

USPS cannot transport any item over 70 pounds and is not ideal for freight shipping services. However, if your shipment weighs less than 70 pounds, flat rate shipping offers the cheapest rates for eCommerce merchants.

However, if you need faster shipping or a larger box side for your item, you'll need to choose from freight carriers like UPS or FedEx.

What is the cheapest freight company?

Overall, discount freight shipping rates may be hard to find if you don't know the right place to look. UPS and FedEx may offer reliable freight shipping services, but it'll cost you a pretty penny.

Easyship offers up to 91% off discounted shipping rates for over 250+ couriers. Plus, we offer 24/7 customer service, so our team of shipping experts can answer your questions about the cheapest freight carriers.

Related post: The Rise of Freight Shipping Rates

5 Things to Consider for Freight Shipping

Freight shipping and regular parcel shipping aren't apples to apples. That's why we'll give you the scoop on all the things you need to know about finding cheap freight shipping to help your eCommerce business.

Make sure you completed appropriate shipping documents

Unlike regular parcel shipping, freight shipping requires filling out more shipping documents. For instance, if you're shipping ocean freight, you may be required to fill out forms like a bill of lading, commercial invoice, certificate of origin, or even an inspection certificate.

Depending on the freight carrier, air freight shipping may require you to fill out a commercial invoice, certificate of origin, bill of lading, or even an export packing list. It's also important to note that shipping domestically or internationally will ultimately impact which shipping documents are required. Failure to fill out the proper shipping documents may result in a hefty fine, or the shipment may be sent back to the sender.

Helpful resource: Glossary of Shipping & Logistics Terms

Research if your item is classified as restricted

Before you start shipping away, check to see if the item you're shipping is restricted or prohibited. Failure to comply with courier rules and regulations may result in considerable fines, though it varies depending on the courier. For instance, the courier may choose to send it back to the sender or confiscate the item.

Ensure your shipment is packaged securely

Cushioning and packaging materials are your new best friend for freight shipping. FedEx and UPS offer free packaging materials, though you may want to consider purchasing materials like bubble wrap or other materials for heavy-duty freight shipments.

For example, ULINE offers a wide variety of shipping supplies that can secure your freight shipment. But, of course, the last thing you want is for your shipment to become damaged during transit, so make sure you don't shy away from extra cushioning materials.

Compare the cheapest freight carrier rates

When searching for the cheapest freight carrier, don't just settle on the first quote you receive. Instead, use a shipping platform that offers multiple discount freight shipping rates from varying shipping companies.

Consider using shipping insurance

Shipping insurance protects you from lost, stolen, or damaged packages. Plus, it's a great way to give you the peace of mind you need for freight shipping safely.

An estimated 5-15% of shipments fail to reach their intended destination because of logistics issues, so make sure you opt for shipping insurance. Easyship offers up to $10,000 of shipping insurance for all shipments. This benefit means that you can get the protection you need without additional costs.

Find the Cheapest Discount Freight Shipping with Easyship

By now, you should know everything about discount freight shipping to get you started. For eCommerce businesses that ship large and heavy items, freight shipping is the best way to get your items from point A to B. Plus, it's important to note that before shipping, make sure you keep the best practices in mind to minimize any issues while sending your items.

Freight shipping doesn't have to be a struggle, which fis why Easyship offers multiple premium shipping tools to help scale your eCommerce business, such as:

  • Easyship Shipping Rates Calculator: Access high-volume discounts and competitive rates from major couriers' shipping options. Plus, get instant access to delivery lead times from premium shipping couriers
  • Global Fulfillment Network: Easyship ships over 220+ countries so merchants can reach their customers worldwide. Plus, with warehouse partners on four continents, merchants can be closer to their customers
  • All-One-Dashboard: Manage all your orders and create shipments in one place. Plus, upload CSVs or sync directly from your eCommerce store

Ready to ship? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and get instant access to discount freight shipping

Cheap Freight Shipping FAQ

Does USPS offer freight shipping?

USPS cannot transport any item over 70 pounds and is not ideal for freight shipping services. However, if your shipment weighs less than 70 pounds, flat rate shipping offers the cheapest rates for eCommerce merchants.

What is the difference between a courier and a freight forwarder?

A courier service uses its labor and equipment to make deliveries, while freight forwarders work with other transportation companies to complete shipments.

How vital are freight forwarders in delivering parcels?

A good freight forwarding company is in charge of a freight shipment and ensures shipping information is communicated to the appropriate parties on time.

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