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What’s the Difference Between Freight and Courier?

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

Ever call a carrier to pick up a shipment and the vehicle they send just doesn’t work? It’s not uncommon for companies to have different perceptions on what is classified as courier or freight. Couriers are more suited for smaller time sensitive shipments, whereas freight trucks are great for large or high volume shipments.


The Definition of Courier



“A messenger who transports goods or documents, in particular.”

Courier Definition
A courier is a messenger who transports small goods or documents.

Couriers use vehicles ranging from cars or SUVs to cargo vans. These vehicles are ideal for expedited deliveries and can take shipments ranging from envelopes and small boxes to some smaller skidded materials, doors or frames, and rolls or bundles. These courier vehicles can fit into underground parkades or tight delivery areas with ease, not to mention finding easier parking in the downtown core!

The Definition of Freight



“Goods transported by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.”

Freight Definition
Freight is defined as goods transported by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.

Drivers who transport goods classified as freight use vehicles classified as 1 Ton, 3 Ton, 5 Ton, Tandem, or Tractor Trailer. These vehicles can be either vans or flat decks and can range in deck size from 18’ to 53’ and weight capacity of over 48,000 lbs in a single or multiple loads. Vans in this category frequently come equipped with a power tailgate, railgate, or ramp to help with loading and unloading. These vehicles are ideal for shipments such as skidded material, piping, lumber, insulation, and large units such as generators or HVAC.

Information To Prepare Before Booking a Truck

To avoid getting sent the wrong type of vehicle, you should have the following information ready when you’re making your pickup request:

  1. Number of pieces in the shipment,

  2. Dimensions of each piece,

  3. Total weight of the shipment, and

  4. Any special requirements the pickup or delivery locations may have that would require equipment to load or unload the shipment.

With this information, your carrier can make sure the vehicle has the size and weight capacity for your shipment and there will be no delays in loading or unloading.

ACI provides reliable freight and courier services for your local needs. Call us to book your delivery now.

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