Haulage and Freight: What’s The Difference?

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Whether you’re running a small business, are a sole trader, or run a larger company altogether, there may come a time when you need to start looking for ways to distribute goods across the country. However, if you are just getting started in this line of business, it can be hard to tell the difference between haulage and freight.

The fact is, there are many different freight and haulage carriers working up and down the UK at any given moment. Drivers are some of the hardest-working people in the country – and they help to move heavy and bulky cargo the likes of which you’d normally struggle to get from A to B on your own!

At Reliant Couriers, we’re pleased to offer haulage and freight however you need it. However, before you get further into what you may or may not need from transportation and logistics, let’s consider the main differences between haulage and freight – and what you’ll need to know about either option.

What Is Haulage?

Haulage as a concept is pretty simple. It’s the movement of items from one place to another, in a commercial sense. However, in the industry, haulage is generally used to refer to movement of goods and items within the country itself.

Generally, you can expect haulage to take place over flat land, such as via the roads, motorways, or even via rail. You’ll also notice that it’s not just trucks and vans that take part in haulage. There is such a thing as motorbike haulage, for example – when you’re couriering smaller items, of course.

Haulage is generally relied upon to offer different types of home and commercial delivery service. For example, you may set up a haulage option if you are retailing in kitchen appliances, vehicle parts or heavy machinery that would otherwise be difficult to get moving through any other means.

Haulage is also used to help carry items and produce that might be considered dangerous or even hazardous to health. Therefore, if you are handling items that would otherwise put your own team or services at risk, it makes sense to arrange matters with a haulage team with lots of experience.

Beyond this, keep in mind that haulage, too, has a few different forms and shapes. You can’t rely on one type of haulage to carry absolutely everything. However, there may be firms that are able to offer different points of haulage for various purposes. The more experienced the company to sign up with, the likelier it is you will have access to more varied types of haulage.

Different Types Of Haulage

So, it’s worth considering the different forms of haulage available before you approach an expert. If you’re unsure which category your own needs fall under, there’s no need to worry. An expert will be able to point you in the right direction. Here are just a few haulage options likely to be open to you at any given time:

Heavy Duty Haulage

Heavy duty haulage is, of course, reserved for those cases where you have extremely bulky units, goods or parts that need the strongest of vehicle support. In these cases, you would need something akin to an articulated lorry or a flatbed – or, rigid lorries may also support you.

Container Haulage

Haulage firms also offer shipping container logistics, by and large. This means that, should you need to move larger containers or bins from A to B cross country, a logistics firm can set up a tipper or flatbed to carry such bulk for you.

container haulage

Cold Haulage

In some cases, you may need help moving cold or frozen goods from one place to another. Cold haulage is particularly useful for both the food industry as well as for medicine. For example, there are many vaccines that need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures to remain effective.

Livestock Haulage

In the farming and meat industry, there will also likely be a need to transport certain animals from points A to B. Livestock haulage options can arise in the form of specialist boxes or wagons, which ensure that your animals are able to breathe safely, and that there is plenty of room on route.

Waste Haulage

We’ve all seen a bin lorry or two – and waste haulage companies go that little bit further. These experts handle large-scale waste such as those generated for skips or other bins. Skips come in some truly huge sizes, so it makes sense to hire a haulage option that can handle a lot of bulk!

Hazardous Haulage

Haulage firms can also help with handling hazardous or toxic goods. These might include waste that needs to be disposed of at a safe point, for example.

Other Haulage Options

There are many specialist types of haulage out there, too. For example, you may need a haulage team to move while vehicles. You may need someone to deliver shipments or parcels in bulk to one particular point of contact. You might also need to hire a haulier who can handle extremely sensitive goods and breakable items.

Above all, it is worth consulting a haulier about what they can offer and do for your specific needs. Not all haulage firms and vehicles will offer the same standards, so be sure to reach out for a conversation if you’re really not sure where to head to next.

Express Haulage

What Is Freight?

Freight, meanwhile, generally revolves around deliveries and shipments that take place across borders, or even overseas. These shipments tend to be even heavier than haulage choices in many cases, and more often than not, freight deliveries will take care of the serious bulks and loads.

Therefore, it can get a bit confusing as to the differences between haulage and freight. On the whole, in the industry and between consumers, the two terms often interchange. As you can imagine, when it comes to narrowing down your options, that can make things a little bit confusing.

However, do also consider that freight normally revolves around a different set of vehicles. Freight can take place on the road, however, you can normally expect freight transfers overseas to take place via sea and air. This is especially the case when you are expecting to transfer extremely heavy or bulky loads, as planes and boats can – by design – carry more, and carry heavier.

Freight on the road, however, generally takes place in trucks, and the main differences lie between FTL and LTL. The differences here are that one offers you a full truckload freight, and the other offers less than truckload freight. The differences here are lie in the fact that you might not need a full truck to ship the bulk items you have in stock.

Ultimately, freight options exist to offer a cost-effective solution to moving often very heavy or bulky cargo overseas. When it’s within the UK, you will likely need to consider a haulage option.

What's Right For You?

Now that we know a little bit more about freight and haulage, and how both options operate in practice, it’s a good idea to consider your own situation. What’s likely to work best for you and your needs?

Haulage is a good choice if you are a smaller outfit, are working solo, or if you have small to medium transportation needs within the country. Haulage can be very flexible, however, it’s important to remember that freight is always an option if you need to go beyond borders, or if your bulk items go over a haulage firm’s limitations or expectations.

What’s more, freight options are largely reserved for larger companies who need to export bulk produce or items on a regular basis – generally, overseas. You likely won’t need to worry about hiring freight deliveries unless you are stacking up boats with shipping containers, or if you are interested in branching out into Europe (or even beyond).

Haulage tends to be the more common choice for UK companies, meaning if you are ever worried that you’ve made the right choice, you’ll generally notice hauliers are the most common connections. Crucially, if you have bulky or heavy items – even hazardous ones – you can rely on a haulier to get everything up and running from point to point.

Finding The Right Team

If you have a complex or urgent haulage need, it’s important to find a team of experts who can handle all your cargo with care. At Reliant, we offer years of dedicated expertise on the road to supply flexible deliveries for all manner of commercial clients. Therefore, whether you need a regular supply chain or one-off logistics, we will always be on hand to help.

We want to ensure that haulage is easy and affordable for all our customers to come by. We offer a raft of different haulage vehicles and options, meaning you can count on us to set you up with the best solution to fit your specific needs – for your clients, too.

Call us now to learn more – or drop us a line via web form, and we’ll get back in touch with you.

Customer Reviews

Reliant Couriers LTD

Customer Reviews

Didi Didi 18th January 2022


Tom Livingstone 03/09/2021

Excellent services from a reliable and trusted company. I always recommend them.

Natalie Spokes 24/11/2020

5 star service! Highly recommend.

Adamo Lucien 28/10/2020

Wow, if you need a courier Reliant Couriers Ltd is the best. No drama, no hassle, just excellent couriering. This was the easiest transaction of my life.

Ryan Hall 10/12/2019

5 Star Service, Sent a Pallet and Received it back a Week later as planned, Email confirmations of everything as it was happening. There was a Change of plan and I Added a second pallet for collection of 600kg £25,000 Machine and there was no Drama's what so ever. Will definitely use them again.