Difference Between Freight and Cargo

The term freight may indicate a large of things like goods that are transported, the amount payable, and money charged for transportation.

Cargo basically refers to the goods that are being transported by large vehicles like a ship or a plane. Mail may also be termed as cargo.

Comparison Table Between Freight and Cargo

Parameters of ComparisonFreightCargo
MeaningFreight refers to any sort of money or fees charged by the transporter or the carrier, or it may also refer to the goods being transported by smaller vehicles like trucks and trains.Cargo refers to the goods that are transported with the help of comparatively large vehicles like planes and ships.
RelationFreight may be related to goods or charges of transportation.Cargo is only related to transferring of goods.
Type of vehicleFreight refers to the goods that are being transported with the help of small vehicles like trucks and trains.Cargo is transported with the help of large vehicles like ships or planes.
ScopeFreight can not be considered as mail.Cargo can also be referred to as mail.
CompaniesThe top freight companies in the world include XPO Logistics, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, DHL supply chain, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services.The top cargo companies in the world include A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, CMA CGM Group, and Evergreen Marine.

What is Freight?

Freight transportation basically refers to the transfer of goods from one place to another using different modes of transportation. One of the major modes of transportation is the transportation of goods overland.

The second type of freight transportation is transportation by trains. Many transport companies prefer a combination of both rail and land to transfer goods.

A freight broker refers to an individual who acts as an intermediary between a shipper and the freight service provider. Generally, every freight broker is specialized in a specific kind of freight like auto, bulk tanker, and oversize.

Another type of freight transport is Intermodal transport that refers to shipments that involve more than one mode of transport. It is a combination of air, rail, ship, and land.

What is Cargo?

The term cargo is basically used in the case of products in the cold chain because perishable goods are always transferred towards the final end-users even if the goods are held in cold storage or similar preserved conditions.

It protects the carrier more than the cargo. If the cargo is very large, then the carrier must have insurance to protect the goods from any type of risks like theft, fire, and rain.

Many containers meet accidents due to which all the cargo is destroyed. In the sea, cargo is prone to risks like high seas, adverse weather conditions, and sea robbers.

Cargo is usually transported through ships and planes, due to which the terms cargo ship and cargo planes are widely used. Like freight, cargo cannot be used for indicating the money charged for transporting cargo from one place to another.

Main Differences Between Freight and Cargo

  1. Freight refers to the goods that are transferred through small modes of transport like trains and trucks, whereas cargo refers to the goods that are transported through ships and planes.
  2. The cost of transferring freight is comparatively lesser when compared to cargo.
Difference Between Freight and Cargo


Freight and Cargo must be insured so that if the ship, plane, or truck suffers an accident, then the life of people involved and goods must be insured.

Freight is generally transported by a truck or a train, whereas cargo is generally transferred with the help of ships and planes that are bigger in size.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965856413002218
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050916302198
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