The Difference Between Freight Shipping and Courier Shipping

Are you considering shipping small goods internationally for your business? Perhaps you’re importing a small shipment from an overseas supplier as an initial product sample or are exporting a small number of goods to one of your customers. If you fall into this category, consider a courier shipping solution.

What is courier shipping?

Courier shipping refers to shipping for small consignments around the globe, especially those under weighing under 100 kilograms. These services are excellent for small commercial consignments.

Due to a decrease in international travel, demand for space is at an all-time high and some airlines are even converting passenger planes to cargo planes as a way of staying viable. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in airfreight prices and lack of space and services. 

Depending on the destination, traditional airfreight is best for dangerous cargo and shipments that have irregular dimensions or weigh over 100kg but should be booked ahead of time to secure space. With traditional airfreight for large consignments, you benefit from economies of scale, shipping more cargo but only paying one handling and clearance fee. ICE can handle both your traditional and courier consignments for you if they are strictly business to business.

Differences between freight and courier shipping

There’s a marked difference between traditional freight shipping and courier shipping.

You’ll want to organise freight shipping if you’re transporting large volumes, or several items.

There are many different freight shipping options you can use, including LCL (less-than-container-load) shipping or FCL (full-container-load) shipping. You can read more about this kind of shipping in our LCL guide and our FCL guide.

Courier shipping services, however, are consolidated services that will often deliver parcels direct to the customers door and even residential addresses.

We’ll outline the benefits of using a courier for your light commercial consignment below.

Benefits of courier shipments for small shipments under 100kg

There are scores of benefits to using courier shipments for your smaller commercial consignments weighing under 100 kilograms.

  • Door to door service – couriers offer a “door to door” service and can arrange important documentation for your shipment such as export and import declarations where required. This is opposed to the “airport to airport” service offered by traditional air freight.
  • Faster than sea freight – Couriers have their own dedicated planes and trade lanes offering faster transit than sea freight. Their dedicated drivers are specifically tasked to pick up and deliver your cargo although the goods may be transferred through a network of different businesses.
  • Availability – Courier services are available in almost every country in the world.
  • Safe and reliable – Couriers offer up to date tracking, so are able to track where your cargo is at any time.
  • Easy – Couriers are simple to use.  They’ll save you lots of time, and let you focus on growing your business while they get to work on carrying out your delivery.

You can always ask for a comparison quote if you’re unsure of the best option.

Use expert freight forwarders when arranging courier shipping

If you’re looking to ship your small consignment overseas by way of courier (or import a small amount of goods from overseas), give our expert freight forwarders at ICE a call today.

We’ll directly liaise with the courier, handle all the logistics and ensure all the required documentation is in order for your import or export. International shipping, even with a small number of items, can still be a bit tricky. Focus on your business and let the experts handle your shipment.

Questions about courier shipping? Give us a call on 1300 227 461 or leave a comment below today.

Request a Free Quote or call us on 1300 227 461

One Comment

Sunrise Mumbai

The courier industry is a door-to-door service that offers same-day delivery to most places. Companies and individuals alike typically choose a courier over standard mail delivery because of its quick delivery speeds and high-quality services offered.


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What Others Are Saying About International Cargo Express

Managed goods end to end

Due to critical stock levels we needed a fast solution to urgently meet growing client demand. Presented with this challenge, ICE quickly identified appropriate freighter services and proactively managed the movement of goods end to end.

Eddie Liaw – Supply Chain Director

ICE offered flexibility

ICE offered flexibility, high levels of communication and attention to detail during our pick, pack and delivery project. With their professional support we were able to meet the demands of our supply chain knowing our freight was in safe hands.

Tony Kealy – National Distribution Manager

Without exception and on time

Since having International Cargo Express handle my ocean freight , I have had my bookings and equipment available without exception and on time. Communication between ICE and my supplier is very good and I receive information via my shipper before my supplier.

Michael Caiacob – Purchasing and Supply Officer

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