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Understanding transport in logistics management

How do I know which mode of transport is most efficient for my business?

Transport is a vital part of logistics and supply chain management, choosing the right form of transport for your business is vital. The type of goods and the distance they need to be shipped will dictate the transport method you choose, if you are shipping perishable products such as fruit or flowers then airfreight is the best choice but also the most expensive. If your goods are non-perishable such as clothing and electrical items then, depending on the distance shipping by sea or road becomes an option. Below we will look a little more closely into three of the main methods of transportation, but others are available such as rail freight. It is important to plan your freight logistics carefully and take into account the cost of insurance, safety procedures and speed of delivery, making the correct decision based on the needs of your business will ensure a smooth logistics supply chain into the future.

What are the logistics behind shipment by air?

Shipping by air is the fastest way to transport your goods across long distances, but it’s not very eco-friendly and is the most expensive option. Goods shipments are carried by cargo-only airlines and also passenger aircrafts. Airfreight is usually charged by the kilogram, but there are other charges to include in the freight logistics such as handling fees, fuel surcharges, customs and security fees and also VAT and duty if you are importing. There are companies available who will organise shipments by air for you and the price they quote will include the cost of the shipment as well as any added fees. If you decide airfreight is right for your business ensure the company you choose has experience shipping to the country you are sending your goods to.

What are the logistics behind shipment by sea?

Shipping products by sea is relatively cheap compared to airfreight, especially if you need to send goods in large volumes. However it is slow and inflexible as there few ports and you will need to arrange your own transport & logistics to move your goods inland. There are different kinds of container ships available depending on the needs of your business:

  • Container ships can carry up to 40,000 containers which you can hire out
  • Bulk carriers carry large quantities of unpackaged goods such as coal
  • Tankers carry liquids
  • Cargo ships carry loose cargo – not containerized or unitized
  • Roll-on-roll-off vessels carry passenger vehicles and haulage

There are two types of shipment by sea to consider, liner vessels have fixed schedules and fixed routes and Tramp vessels are chartered so operate to the demands of the person who chartered them.

How do I go about organising road transport?

One of the cheapest, most flexible and most convenient modes of freight transport is by road. However there are still some drawbacks, it is not as economical and if you are unlucky it can be subject to severe delays. If you plan to transport goods by road there are height, weight and length restrictions that you need to be aware of. Currently a freight lorry must be no more than 16.5m long, 2.55m wide and no more than 44 tonnes including the fuel and truck. If flexibility is important for your business then road transport is the best choice. When selecting a road transportation company it is important to research their reputation, if transport and logistics is a big part of your business then your shipping company will be a big part of your business.