Main Difference – Cargo vs Freight
Cargo and freight are two terms that are often associated with the transportation of goods. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably by people, there is a difference between cargo and freight based on the method of transport. Cargo refers to goods and products conveyed by ship, boat or aircraft whereas freight refers to goods and products conveyed through trucks and trains. This is the main difference between cargo and freight. However, the difference between these two terms is gradually becoming outdated since cargo and freight are used interchangeably extensively, even in professional context.
Cargo vs Freight – Meaning and Usage
Cargo and freight both refer to goods or products that are transported from one place to another. As mentioned above, traditionally, cargo referred to products transported via ships or planes whereas freight referred to products transported via trucks or trains. Hence, terms like cargo plane, cargo aircraft, freight train, freight car are commonly used in in the field of trade and transportation. For example,
The ship loaded its cargo in Canada.
The train carried both passengers and freight.
The cargo ship bound to India disappeared without a train.
A freight train carrying 2, 0000 tons of gold was robbed.
The freight was shipped by train.
In addition, freight also refers to a charge for transport. But cargo merely refers to the products, not to the price. You can observe this meaning of freight in the following sentences.
I paid the full freight for this machine.
Freight rates between India and Australia have been increased.
This bill indicates that the freight has been fully paid.
But in contemporary usage, the two terms are more or less used interchangeably. The term freight is used to refer to all types of goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft. Most dictionaries do not indicate the distinction between cargo and freight. For example, Oxford Dictionary defines cargo as “goods carried on a ship, aircraft, or motor vehicle” whereas freight is defined as “goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft”.
Freight and cargo are usually shipped into different categories before they are transported. The type of item, the size, and quantity of items and the time period taken for the delivery are some of the factors that affect this categorization.
Difference Between Cargo and Freight
- Traditionally, Cargo referred to goods and products conveyed by ship, boat, or aircraft whereas freight referred to goods and products conveyed through trucks and trains.
- But this distinction has become blurred in contemporary usage.
- Cargo only refers to products which are transported, but freight also refers to transportation charges.
“Cargo” by מנו ספנות – מנו ספנות, (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
“Freight” by Astrid Groeneveld – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia