As the world of shipping and logistics becomes increasingly complex, companies should seek out providers with the experience and commitment to customer service necessary to deliver real value.

People have been transporting goods across the globe for centuries, but in today’s increasingly connected global economy, the task has never been more complex. The explosive growth of eCommerce and one-day shipping have ratcheted up pressure on companies to improve delivery times, even as barriers to expediency — from import/export regulations to customs complexities — become increasingly onerous.

With end-users exhibiting little tolerance for what they perceive to be excess shipping costs, companies need all the expertise they can get to determine the most cost-effective way to ship their commercial goods. In that spirit, we’ve created an overview of the various types of international shipping, each with its own usage and cost considerations.


The ocean has long been the primary channel for international shipping, and with good reason: ocean freight gives customers flexibility by enabling them to reach multiple ports — for example, a manufacturer can deliver goods to one destination, where they can then be separated and sent off to various worldwide ports by the shipper. According to the World Shipping Council, liner shipping tops the list of most efficient transportation channels because of its ability to transport more and/or larger goods than most other options.


Companies turn to air freight for time-sensitive deliveries. Whether the product has some kind of expiration date, or a customer simply needs goods shipped by a hard-and-fast deadline, air freight guarantees the fastest delivery time of any transportation option.

But speed isn’t the only benefit offered by air freight: for example, ground shipping typically involves transferring goods to different trucks and storage facilities, which increases the chances that an item is damaged or lost. Air freight minimizes the number of steps standing between the goods and their destination, which in turn means a reduced level of risk overall.

Ground: Rail and Truck

When shipping goods via ground transport, manufacturers typically choose between either rail or truck. While both methods are often used in combination with air or ocean freight, rail and truck transport can also be used for cross-border shipping throughout North America or Europe, for example. According to the World Industrial Reporter, trucks can transport a variety of load sizes, while rail freight can take larger shipments greater distances. As rail services are often connected to ports, rail can be used to get goods to an export destination or to a local market upon arrival.

Finding the Right Shipping Partner

While it may be tempting for companies in search of a shipping and logistics vendor to opt for the big name or the biggest cost-savings, it’s important to remember the role of customer service in transactions as complex as international shipping. When complications and challenges emerge, you want a partner you can trust to navigate them safely and cost-effectively.

As a professionally run, family-owned business that’s been in operation for nearly two decades, Primary Freight has experience working with customers in all facets of international shipping. But more importantly, we also concentrate on building strong relationships and support structures that add value when our customers need it the most.