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AnonymFeb 7, 2013

Why is it when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

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    Feb 7, 2013

    Cargo is not related to the phrase "car - go!" but means instead something that is transported or carried (something in transit), whereas to "ship" something somewhere means to move it, and a ship (as in boat) is so named because it is good at this, therefore a shipment can travel by road, and a lorry can carry a cargo, in addition to the other way around. In short, the terms were developed before they were applied to the methods of transport we now use them for.

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    AnonymFeb 7, 2013

    The term "Shipment" or "shipping" on the other hand is an extremely general term with many meanings, however according to a few sources like Wikipedia it's most common usage is with actual ships via merchant navies. They make up nearly 90% of international trade. In any case, "Shipment" and "shipping" are used when transporting goods in any vehicle, though it originally derives from transporting in boats or actual ships. The term "shipment" is almost an inverse to cargo, in that rather it being the goods that are transported, it is the transportation of those goods. So you can technically say something like "A shipment is the transportation of cargo". So originally, Cargo meant goods being transported by wheeled vehicles like wagons and such, and shipping did mean to transport goods by ship. Since those origins, the words' meanings have altered and changed into forms that in a literal sense make... well, little sense. This is quite common and there are many words that lose their true meaning over time.. some words have even change their meaning in multitudes to the point that it's become detached from it's original definition.

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