While shipment vs cargo come under similar logistics services, they both are pretty different from each other in a few terms that many new eCommerce sellers might need to learn. Not knowing these small and critical differences can easily confuse any eCommerce seller while processing their shipping and logistics, which could result in failure or reflect inefficiencies in the process. In this article, we will clear all the confusion associated with shipment vs cargo so that you, as an eCommerce seller, have more clarity about your business.
What is a Shipment?
A shipment is the seamless movement of goods from one location to another, orchestrated by a symphony of logistics, transportation, and handling. The behind-the-scenes work ensures that the products end up on the customer’s doorstep. A shipment typically begins at the point of origin, where the goods are packaged and prepared for transportation. From there, it goes through a series of stages, each with its logistics and handling requirements. The end goal, of course, is to safely and efficiently transport the goods to their final destination.
Now, there are several types of shipments, each with its own set of pros and cons. So let’s take a closer look:
This is the type of shipment you’re probably most familiar with. It’s what happens when you order something online and it arrives at your doorstep via a carrier like UPS, FedEx, or DHL. It’s convenient, efficient, and (usually) fairly quick. But it’s also not the best option for larger and bulkier items.
This type of shipment is the speed demon of logistics. It’s the best option for time-sensitive or high-value items that need to get to their destination ASAP. It’s fast and efficient but also more expensive than other options.
This type of shipment is the workhorse of logistics. It’s what happens when you see those massive trains chugging through the countryside. It’s typically used for heavy and bulk items such as coal, steel, and grain. It’s a cost-effective option for long-distance transport, but it may not be as efficient for shorter distances.
This type of shipment is the local hero of logistics. It’s what happens when you see those big rigs on the highway. It’s typically used for short-distance transport of goods within a country or region. It’s a flexible option that can handle a wide range of goods, but it’s not as efficient for long distances.
What is Cargo?
Cargo is the reason for all the fuss and commotion. It’s the goods that are being shipped.
Cargo refers to the goods that are being transported. It could be anything from raw materials to finished goods, from food to machinery, and from clothes to electronics. If it’s being shipped, it’s cargo. With the rise of online shopping, cargo has taken centre stage like never before. With a click of a button, customers can have anything they want to be delivered to their doorstep. And eCommerce businesses are responsible for getting the cargo from the warehouse to the customer.
Now, let’s take a look at some common types of cargo:
These are the building blocks of the industry. They’re the unprocessed materials that are used to create finished goods. Think of things like wood, metal, and oil.
These are the products that are ready for consumption. They’re the things that we buy and use every day. Think of things like clothes, electronics, and food.
These are materials that are dangerous to transport. They require special handling and regulations. Think of things like chemicals, flammable liquids, and radioactive materials.
These are goods that can spoil or degrade if not appropriately handled. Think of things like fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Shipment vs. Cargo- the Differences
Transportation and Handling
Now, when it comes to transportation and handling, shipments are typically smaller and less bulky than cargo. As a result, they’re often sent via parcel delivery services and have a faster turnaround time. On the other hand, cargo is typically larger and bulkier and is transported via container shipping, air freight, rail freight, or road freight. As a result, it’s generally more cost-effective for larger quantities and longer distances, but it can take longer to transport.
In terms of handling, shipments usually have less stringent requirements than cargo. They can be packed in a standard box and shipped with minimal handling. Cargo, on the other hand, requires more specialized handling.
Regulations and Compliance
Regulations and compliance are the rules and guidelines that keep everything running smoothly. They ensure that goods are transported safely, legally, and ethically.
The regulations and compliance requirements for shipments are generally less stringent than for cargo. Parcel delivery services, for example, have relatively straightforward regulations and compliance requirements. They usually only need to comply with basic packaging and labelling requirements.
Cargo, on the other hand, is subject to a wide range of regulations and compliance requirements. For example, hazardous materials need to comply with specific regulations and compliance standards. Perishable goods must comply with certain temperature regulations, and refrigerated cargo must comply with careful packaging and labelling requirements. Additionally, cargo shipped internationally must comply with customs regulations, tariffs, and taxes.
Insurance and Liability
Insurance and liability are the safety net that protects us from the unexpected. The insurance and liability requirements for shipments are generally less complex than for cargo. Parcel delivery services, for example, usually offer standard insurance coverage as part of their service. This coverage typically covers the cost of lost or damaged goods.
On the other hand, cargo is subject to a wide range of insurance and liability requirements. For example, shipping cargo internationally often requires marine insurance to cover potential risks such as piracy or natural disasters. Additionally, hazardous materials require specialized insurance coverage to protect against possible accidents or spills.
Packaging and Handling
When it comes to shipments, parcel delivery services usually have standard packaging requirements that are easy to meet. The packages are usually small, lightweight, and easy to handle. They can be packaged in a standard box and shipped with minimal handling.
Cargo, on the other hand, requires more specialized packaging and handling.
In terms of costs, cargo packaging and handling requirements can be more expensive than shipments. Specialized packaging materials, temperature-controlled containers, and additional handling steps can add to the overall cost of transporting cargo.
Volume and Scale
For shipments, the volume and scale are generally smaller and less bulky than cargo. As a result, they’re often sent via parcel delivery services and have a faster turnaround time. In addition, they can be packaged in a standard box and shipped with minimal handling.
Conversely, cargo is typically larger and bulkier and is transported via container shipping, air freight, rail freight, or road freight. As a result, it’s generally more cost-effective for larger quantities and longer distances, but it can take longer to transport.
Shipment or cargo is a way of transporting goods from one place to another, from point A to point B. For example, if you want to parcel heavy furniture abroad, you’ll use cargo ships for transportation. On the other hand, if you deliver small packages like documents, gifts, etc., you’ll use shipping delivery services like trains, trucks, or vans for transportation. That’s the only significant difference, but as an eCommerce seller, you must be extra conscious about the efficiency and timely execution of either of the services you choose. Shipment or cargo delivery can make or break customer satisfaction. Therefore, choose a carrier that has the experience and the right technology. For this, you may try NimbusPost, which will help you select the best, cost-effective option.