The carrier is the party who transports the cargo.
A freight carrier is the company or individual that transports the cargo from one location to another.
A carrier may be a VOCC (Vessel Operating Common Carrier) or an NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier). “Ocean carrier” generally refers to VOCCs, who own and operate ocean vessels. An NVOCC, like Flexport, arranges the transportation of cargo with an ocean carrier.
A Guide to Largest Ocean Carriers in the World - Flexport Blog
A Game Theory Analysis of Ocean Carrier Competition - Flexport Blog