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Common Carrier


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Common Carriers vs. Private Carriers: Key Differences

What is a Common Carrier?

Definition: A common carrier is a corporation that offers services to the general public.

Responsibility: Common carriers are accountable for any loss of goods while in transit.

Pricing: Common carriers charge a set rate for their services.

Service Uniformity: They must provide the same level of service to all clients.

What is a Private Carrier?

Definition: A private carrier is different from a common carrier in that it can decline to offer services at its discretion.

Scope of Transportation: Private carriers may solely transport their goods, unlike common carriers.

Differentiating Common Carriers from Private Carriers

Service Scope: Common carriers provide services to the general public, while private carriers have the discretion to refuse service.

Cargo Handling: Common carriers are responsible for any loss of goods in transit, which private carriers may not be.

Pricing Strategy: Common carriers charge a fixed rate, while private carriers may have more flexible pricing.


Key Takeaway: Common carriers are accountable for cargo losses, provide services to the public, and charge a set rate, whereas private carriers have discretion over service provision and may transport only their goods.

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