What Is The Difference Between Haulage And Freight?

What Is The Difference Between Haulage And Freight?

‘Haulage’ and ‘freight’ are often used interchangeably in the transport industry.

Whilst they both have something to do with transporting goods from one area to another – and are essential to the economy and society – they are not the same.

Here the heavy haulage experts at JB Rawcliffe & Sons take a closer look at the meaning of the two terms and outline the key differences between them.


What is haulage?

Haulage in the UK is the process of transporting items via road and rail, using trucks, vans, lorries, buses and trains.

Haulage services are typically employed by businesses to transfer goods from the production centre to a consumer or distributor. It could be anything from industrial machines and equipment to furniture, food, oil, and other supplies.

There are nine common types of haulage in the industry that are vital for keeping things moving. These include:

  • Abnormal load haulage – used to transport unusually long, wide or high loads, such as wind turbines, bridge sections and cranes.


  • Fragile load haulage – used to transport delicate and perishable items, such as glass and screens.


  • General haulage – used to transport various goods for retail, healthcare, agriculture, construction and more.


  • Hazardous haulage – used to move hazardous substances such as gas, chemicals and explosives.


  • Heavy haulage – used to transport large or heavy loads safely without the expense of using multiple smaller vehicles.


  • Plant haulage – used to transport plant machinery and vehicles, such as cranes, trucks and diggers.


  • Parcel delivery haulage – used to move parcels and packages in bulk for major retailers, including (but not limited to) Amazon.


  • Vehicle haulage – used to carry vehicles from one place to another (i.e. from a manufacturer to the showroom).


  • Waste disposal haulage – used to dispose of waste and recyclable materials, including solid and liquid waste items.


What is freight?

Freight is where cargo and commodities are transported by land, sea and air, using trucks, trains, aircraft and boats. It’s usually associated with the bulk transportation of goods overseas.

Large companies use freight transport to forward goods over long distances – either to be processed, sorted or consumed.

There are three main types of freight transport, including:

  • Air freight
  • Sea freight
  • Inland freight

Air freight delivery is the transfer and shipment of goods via an air carrier, travelling out of aviation gateways to virtually anywhere planes can fly or land.

The process of transporting large quantities of products via cargo ships is known as sea freight. Goods are loaded onto the vessel and sailed to their destination country.

Inland freight (or road freight) refers to the transportation of goods over land using motor vehicles. In some cases, road freight is the only way of transport in/to rural areas where other modes of transport are unavailable.


How do haulage and freight differ?

As we’ve already discovered, freight and haulage are very similar – but there are a few subtle differences between them.

Haulage uses roads and railways to deliver consignments, whilst freight uses road, rail, ships and aircraft.

Unlike freight where goods are transported over greater distances, across country borders and overseas, haulage generally refers to the national movement of cargo (in other words, it doesn’t leave the UK).


Want to know more?

If you have any questions about haulage and freight, or you’d like to take advantage of our professional haulage services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with JB Rawcliffe today.

As a leading transport company in the UK, we have vast experience when it comes to heavy haulage, airport cargo handling and boat port cargo handling. We ensure that all consignments reach their end destination safely and efficiently, whether it be here in the UK or overseas.

To find out more, give us a call on 01695 737 880 or drop us an email at enquiries@jbrawcliffe.com.

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