Choosing The Right Mode of Transport

July 25, 2018

There are a range of different modes of freight transport and choosing the right one will be determined by a variety of factors including urgency, destination, cost, size, weight and tracking requirements. For those working in the logistics industry, this decision will often come naturally based on previous experience. When logistics companies understand the needs of their customers, the task of choosing the right mode of transport will be a simpler one:

On the Road

Road transport is one of the most common local methods for delivery as it can be a cost effective solution which has the flexibility to be redirected as required. Trucks can take cargo on long or short trips, including interstate and rural locations. Trucks have the ability to be tracked and can quickly pick up and deliver goods to their exact destination. Depending on the amount of goods being shipped, there are two options available for transporting by road, with either a full load or shared load.

There are a few disadvantages which come from transporting goods by truck. Traffic restrictions and poor weather can cause delays, and the cost can escalate when travelling long distances. There are weight and size limits to consider and this is obviously not the right choice for overseas shipments.

Up in the Air

Demand for faster shipping has continued the trend towards logistics companies utilising the services of planes. This is often the fastest mode of transport and can see cargo being delivered the same day, or shortly after. Air is known for its reliability and high levels of security. These is less handling time, and due to the shorter waiting periods, bulk orders of stock can be made according to customer demand.

Just like trucks, planes have restrictions on size and weight and are not suitable for oversized shipments. This is one of the most expensive modes of transport, and not as eco friendly as some of the other alternatives.

Across the Ocean

Transporting goods by sea is a popular option as it is an economical and convenient way to import and export cargo internationally. There are no weight or size restrictions and bulky items are no problem for this method of transport. Sea is often used for items such as coal, wheat, iron ore and minerals with the ability to safely travel long distances. Packages can be loaded into secure containers, ready to be loaded onto other modes of transport once they reach their destination. Due to their large capacity and lower fuel usage, cargo ships are more environmentally friendly than planes.

Despite being cost effective, there is one major downfall with using sea transport and this is a longer timeframe. For those who are prepared to wait for shipments which could take weeks to arrive, this is a viable solution.

By Rail

Rail transport is an important part of the freight mix, and works well for goods which require long distance travel. While trains don’t have the same flexibility as trucks, they are able to carry bulky items and are a greener alternative due to burning less fuel. Reliable and efficient, trains have a capacity up to 400 times that of a truck and they have a reputation for safety and security. The use of rail can reduce road congestion, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

Rail is most suited to long distance travel, as shorter distances may be cheaper by road. Trains can take time to get to their destination, and it isn’t always the fastest mode of transport.

Mix and Match

It is common to use multi modal transport methods, which are a combination of any of the above. Combining different modes of freight will allow for fast, flexible delivery to and from anywhere in the world. This is where the expertise of a logistics forwarder is invaluable to ensure goods arrive without any issues.

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