Difference Between Courier and Cargo

Logistics is a commercial organization that deals with transporting goods to customers. And in this organization, one major department is the distribution logistics.


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The main work of distribution logistics is to deliver finished products to the customer. Courier and cargo come under this category. Both are ways to send parcels to another address. Even then, couriers and cargo are completely different concepts.

Key Takeaways

  1. Courier services are typically used to deliver small packages and documents, while cargo services are generally used to transport large goods or bulk items.
  2. Courier services offer faster and more reliable delivery options than cargo services, which are often subject to delays and require more extensive logistics planning.
  3. While courier services are generally more expensive than cargo services, they offer a more personalized and secure delivery experience, making them an ideal option for businesses and individuals who require expedited and reliable shipping services.

Courier vs Cargo

Courier services deliver small packages, documents, and parcels quickly and securely. Cargo services are designed to transport larger and heavier items, such as industrial equipment, furniture, and raw materials and are generally more cost-effective than courier services.

Courier vs Cargo

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A courier is a company or a person whose work is to deliver a message or packages from one place or person to another place or person.

On the other hand, cargoes are the services used to transport a larger quantity of goods and produce by water, air, or rail.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCourierCargo
DefinitionA courier service is a company or an organization that aims to carry and deliver mail, messages, or packages.Cargo is the goods or items that need to be delivered. It can also be a company that deals with delivering items and products.
Delivery TimeThe delivery time taken by courier service is very fast. Courier parcels clear within 24 hours.The delivery time taken by Cargo is usually slow. Cargo clearance takes weeks to clear from customs.
WeightCourier parcels are usually small in quantity. They weigh between 0.5 to 30 kg.For the transportation of bulky materials, cargo service comes to the rescue.
UsageCourier is used by common people etc., for sending documents, gifts, small packages, etc.Cargoes service is mainly used by businesses such as manufacturers and exporters to transport bulky materials.
PricingCourier services are a bit pricey as the goods transported are very light.The cost per product is much less in cargo than the courier services.
Safety EnsuredCourier service does not guarantee the non-occurrences of wear and tear.Cargo takes into consideration the safety of goods and products.

What is Courier?

Courier is a service that allows an individual to send consignments or packages/parcels from one person to another. They offer superior speed and tracking systems.

Features such as fast delivery timing, security, specialization, and individualization of services make it stand out from other types of services.

Courier services are probably useful for people who sell products online and want a shipping solution for multiple parcels. It offers both national and international shipping services.

On a general basis, a courier company is a private firm. It specializes in one or more segments of the shipping process. The parcel is received, ranging from same-day delivery to international delivery.

When the deliveries ought to be made in the city, bicycle or motorcycle couriers come to the rescue. Trucks, aircraft, and railroads are used when larger distances are to be covered.

Courier services also provide real time-tracking to know exactly where the shipments are. You also have the option to make a phone call and know about the updates.


What is Cargo?

Cargo refers to the goods and items that are to be transported. It also refers to a company that deals with the delivery of goods/items and products.

Cargos may include clothing, materials, wares, baggage, equipment, and livestock.

They are carried from their current location to their desired location through a cargo company.

Cargo services are often used when the deliverable items are in bulk and must be handled carefully. Services charges may vary. It depends on the quantity of goods carried.

Transportation types for Cargo Service

  1. Marine- Seaports deal with a wide variety of cargo transportation. Bulk cargo/goods like salt, oil, scrap metal, etc., are transported through this.
  2. Air Cargo- Also known as air freight, these are very popular. Aircrafts such as Boeing 747 and An-124 are made for this purpose.
  3. Rail- Trains are capable of transporting a larger number of goods. They are used for the transportation of cement, grains, etc.

Main Differences Between Courier and Cargo

  1.  As mentioned in the table, a courier is a service which collects and deals with the delivery of shipments in a stipulated period. Cargo refers to the freight or items that need to be delivered. It also refers to a company that helps deliver items to the required destination.
  2. Courier companies deal with parcels, smaller shipments weighing between 0.5-30 kg. It could be mail, messages, documents, packages, etc. Cargo services deal with the handling of bulky parcels/shipments. Items include wooden pallets, steel, mining products, and other bulky materials.
  3. In general, courier companies have emerged as major cargo services. That is, they deliver small and big items as well. They usually use bicycles, motorcycles, and trucks for carrying shipments. Cargo companies use ships, aeroplanes, and railway services to carry the deliverable items.
  4. In courier services, any wear or tear of the product is not covered under the service. Cargoes, on the other hand, ensure the safety of things. Things do not become mutilated or disfigured.
  5.  Courier companies ensure the shipments reach the delivery spot as soon as possible. It takes time between 24 hours to 2 days maximum. Cargo services take time. Usually between 1-2 weeks.
Difference Between Courier and Cargo
  1. http://ijqr.net/journal/v10-n2/8.pdf
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Patrick_Jomini/publication/265496661_The_Regulation_of_International_Air_Cargo_Services/links/555d17df08ae6f4dcc8bd3d9.pdf
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