The Different Types Of Logistics Companies

Freight Companies

A freight company is a broad term used to generally describe a business focused on moving freight from one place to another.  Some freight companies may specialize in international shipments while others will only ship goods domestically.

Depending on the type and location of freight being shipped, the mode of transport may further narrow the focus of the freight company. Goods can be moved by air, sea, rail-lines, or trucks on the road. Some freight companies can offer more than one transportation option, while others will have a singular focus.

Freight Forwarders

The goal of freight forwarders is to find the most efficient and affordable ways to move products. These types of logistics companies do not actually move freight. Instead, they work with a variety of freight companies to arrange and negotiate the transportation of freight. Freight forwarders are often used when moving products internationally. Freight forwarders will typically handle:

  • Customs paperwork
  • Any import/export paperwork required for your shipment
  • Rate negotiation with the different carriers
  • Coordination of freight handling and delivery

Freight forwarders can be a valuable partner to businesses shipping internationally. Their expertise and relationships will likely save time and money for those choosing to utilize their services.


Unlike freight forwarders, the carrier will handle the freight shipment directly. Carriers make money by moving products around the country and world. Trucking companies, rail services, ocean freight, and air freight are all examples of carriers. In most cases, shipments require multiple carriers to reach their final destinations.


Third party logistic providers or 3PLs provide outsourced logistics for all of or a part of the supply chain logistics function of a business. The services and depth to which a 3PL is able to integrate into your supply chain will vary. Some will offer transportation and storage services for freight, while others will integrate technology products or be the logistics department of a business.  3PL’s will typically customize their services to meet the ever-evolving needs of a business. Depending on the size, type, and services offered through a 3PL, they may be able to handle international shipping, but the majority are focused on domestic freight shipping and management.

Many 3PLs offer other services that assist with the product or procurement of goods.  You can count on a 3PL to schedule in and outbound deliveries, take care of all of your documentation, and ensure deliveries are on time and free of hassles. A 3PL may give your business the opportunity to focus on your core competencies and provide you with the peace of mind of knowing your supply chain functions are in good hands.