What Are the Types of Freight Carriers? | GoShip

What Are the Types of Freight Carriers?

In freight shipping, it can be challenging to understand all the different types of modes and services. One of the key things that shippers are usually interested in is the shipping cost. While there are some main factors that determine it, there are also minor factors that have an impact on pricing too. One of these factors is the type of freight carriers. Essentially, different carriers have different tariffs, regulations, service fees, etc. To choose the best option for your shipment, it is beneficial to learn more about the types of freight carriers, and the pros and cons they can offer you.

What is a freight carrier?

A freight carrier is a person or a company who has transportation equipment and expertise to move commercial freight. Each freight offers various freight services and provides them within a specific area.

What are the types of freight carriers?


Local, or small carriers, make up nearly 60% of all motor carrier market in the U.S. These carriers usually have a few trucks and operate within a limited area of 80-100 miles. Local carriers can often offer more customized services to their customers. However, they are not as competitive in terms of equipment and prices as larger carriers. Small freight carriers can be a perfect solution for last-mile shipping needs or short-distance shipments.


Regional carriers are mid-sized motor carrier companies. They operate within an extensive area, have better equipment, and more drivers. Still, these carriers cover a particular geographical region. Regional carriers offer faster transit times and a wider array of services. Just as local carriers, they often help huge carriers fill in supply chain gaps.


National carriers are the largest freight carriers, moving shipments throughout the entire country or internationally. These carriers usually serve large companies, and partner with smaller carriers for regional or local operations. Essentially, because of the huge capacity and better technology, national carriers can offer more flexible pricing and more reliable services.

How to choose your freight carrier?

No matter what types of carrier you will decide to choose, every freight carrier should offer you a good service and operate legitimately. Before booking a shipment with any carrier, answer these three questions:

  • Is this freight carrier certified and with a license?
  • Will I get all the services I need?
  • Is the price good for me?

Ultimately, all freight carriers can offer benefits to you, and it just depends on your shipping needs.

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