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Shipment vs. Cargo: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Shipment refers to the act of sending goods, while cargo is the actual goods being transported.
Shipment vs. Cargo

Key Differences

Shipment generally denotes the process or system of sending goods from one place to another, often involving multiple transportation modes. In contrast, cargo specifically refers to the goods themselves that are being transported, regardless of the method.
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Nov 16, 2023
When discussing shipment, the emphasis is on the operational aspects, such as logistics, documentation, and delivery schedules. Cargo, on the other hand, focuses on the contents being shipped, their nature, quantity, and value.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 16, 2023
The term shipment often implies a smaller scale or a more specific part of the transportation process, such as a parcel or consignment. Cargo, conversely, suggests a larger quantity of goods, typically associated with bulk transportation in ships, planes, or large trucks.
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Nov 16, 2023
Shipment is a term that can also include services and the process of handling, packing, and transportation. Cargo is strictly limited to the goods themselves, with no implication of the services involved in their movement.
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In commercial terms, shipment usually refers to a single consignment from one sender to one recipient, whereas cargo can encompass a wide range of goods from different senders, often consolidated for efficiency.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Process of sending goods
Actual goods transported
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Scale

Can imply smaller or specific consignments
Suggests larger quantities, often bulk transport
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Focus

Emphasizes logistics, handling, and delivery
Centers on the goods themselves
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Usage in Commerce

Refers to a single consignment from one sender to one recipient
Encompasses a wide range of goods, often consolidated
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Association with Services

Includes handling, packing, transportation services
Strictly the goods, no service implication
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Shipment and Cargo Definitions

Shipment

A batch of goods sent by a common carrier.
The shipment of books arrived at the library today.
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Nov 16, 2023

Cargo

The freight or load carried by a transportation vehicle.
The train's cargo mainly consisted of steel and coal.
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Nov 16, 2023

Shipment

The process involved in sending goods to a destination.
Shipment of the order was delayed due to bad weather.
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Nov 16, 2023

Cargo

Merchandise or goods transported for profit.
The cargo of spices and textiles arrived at the port yesterday.
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Nov 16, 2023

Shipment

Goods sent to a customer or consignee.
The customer received the shipment within two days.
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Cargo

Goods carried on a ship, aircraft, or motor vehicle.
The cargo of electronics was shipped from Japan.
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Shipment

The act of transporting goods.
The shipment of fragile items requires extra care.
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Nov 16, 2023

Cargo

Commercial goods or freight.
The cargo was inspected thoroughly at customs.
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Nov 16, 2023

Shipment

The act or an instance of shipping goods.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

Load of goods for transportation by any method.
The plane was loaded with cargo bound for Europe.
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Nov 16, 2023

Shipment

A quantity of goods or cargo that are shipped together.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

Freight carried by a ship, an aircraft, or another vehicle.
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Oct 19, 2023

Shipment

A load of goods that is transported by any method (not just by ship)
We're expecting another shipment of oranges tomorrow.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

Freight carried by a ship, aircraft, or motor vehicle.
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Oct 19, 2023

Shipment

The act of transporting goods
Shipment of hazardous waste on this route is strictly prohibited.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

(Papua New Guinea) Western material goods.
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Shipment

The act or process of shipping; as, he was engaged in the shipment of coal for London; an active shipment of wheat from the West.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

The lading or freight of a ship or other vessel; the goods, merchandise, or whatever is conveyed in a vessel or boat; load; freight.
Cargoes of food or clothing.
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Shipment

That which is shipped.
The question is, whether the share of M. in the shipment is exempted from condemnation by reason of his neutral domicle.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cargo

Goods carried by a large vehicle
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Shipment

Goods carried by a large vehicle
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Oct 19, 2023

Shipment

The act of sending off something
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Shipment

A load of goods sent by sea, air, or land.
Our latest shipment includes products from four different countries.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Does shipment include the transportation process?

Yes, shipment includes the transportation process and handling of goods.
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Nov 16, 2023

Is cargo always large in quantity?

Cargo often implies larger quantities, but it can be of any size.
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Can shipment mean a single package?

Yes, a shipment can be a single package or a larger consignment.
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Nov 16, 2023

Do shipment terms vary with different carriers?

Yes, shipment terms can vary depending on the carrier and service.
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Is cargo specific to any transport mode?

Cargo can be transported by any mode, such as ship, plane, or truck.
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Nov 16, 2023

Are all goods considered cargo?

Yes, all transported goods are considered cargo.
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Nov 16, 2023

What is a shipment?

A shipment is the process of sending goods from one place to another.
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Nov 16, 2023

What is cargo?

Cargo refers to the actual goods being transported.
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How is shipment tracked?

Shipments are tracked through tracking numbers or logistics systems.
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Do shipments have weight limits?

Yes, shipments have weight limits based on carrier and transport mode.
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Nov 16, 2023

Are there restrictions on what can be cargo?

Yes, certain items are restricted or prohibited as cargo.
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Does cargo include packaging?

Cargo refers to the goods themselves, not their packaging.
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Is insurance required for cargo?

Insurance is often recommended for valuable cargo.
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Does weather affect shipment schedules?

Weather can impact shipment schedules, especially in air and sea transport.
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Nov 16, 2023

Can a shipment contain multiple types of cargo?

Yes, a shipment can contain various types of cargo.
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Nov 16, 2023

What factors affect cargo shipping costs?

Cargo shipping costs depend on weight, volume, and distance.
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Can shipment times be guaranteed?

Some carriers offer guaranteed shipment times for an extra fee.
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Can cargo be tracked during transit?

Most cargo can be tracked using shipment tracking systems or technology.
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Can an individual send a shipment?

Yes, individuals can send shipments through postal or courier services.
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Is cargo handling specialized?

Cargo handling can be specialized depending on the nature of the goods.
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Nov 16, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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