What is freight transport? The definition of this term is the physical process of moving goods from their origin to their final destination by various means. What is freight shipping? This is the mode of transportation used to get these goods from A to B.
Freight transportation can be by sea, road, rail, or air. This article will guide you through both national and international means of freight haulage.
Freight transport solutions
See some examples of transport modes below:
- Short-haul or long-haul trucking firms can be used to transport goods by road. There are several types including:
- Less than truckload – designed for shipments larger than a parcel but not big enough to need full truckload trailer space
- Partial truckload – sharing the cost with other shippers is an option here
- Full truckload – can be more cost-effective with less handling if shipments are large enough
A lot of freight transport is done by ships as transport by water is cheaper than by air. Major waterways of the world, including many canals, are all integral to worldwide economies. Ships may be categorised as to how they operate – liners will have regular runs and operate to a schedule whilst tramp ships will go where a suitable cargo requires them to. These bulk carriers and cruise ships and crews can be chartered to operate this way.
Container ships are cargo ships that carry loads in containers that are designed to fit onto trucks. They form a common part of intermodal freight transport, and generally have crews of between 10 and 30. Multi-purpose or general cargo ships are used to transport bulk and heavy cargoes and are fitted for carriage of containers with lashings and sea fastening equipment.
Cargo is transported by air in specialised cargo aircraft as they’re designed specifically for the job – the freight is carried either on the main deck or in the belly of the aircraft and loaded via the nose or the side.
The luggage compartments of passenger aircraft may be used with the spare volume in the baggage hold, or as a carry-on by onboard couriers where the goods are stored in the passenger cabin.
Combi aircraft can carry cargo on the main deck with side loading and in the belly, with passengers on board too. The main advantages of air transport are fast speed, high internal and external security, the convenience of sending light and perishable goods quickly, and the real-time flight status and booking and tracking options available.
Rail freight transport is an option for transporting cargo, and trains are known as freight, cargo, a group of freight cars, or goods wagons. These trains can haul bulk materials some or all of the way between the shipper and the final destination. Shipment by rail may not be as flexible or as cost-effective as alternative transportation modes.
Many rail systems now offer computerised scheduling and optimisation for trains which reduces costs and adding more train traffic to the rails. Common products to be shipped by rail include lumber, metal, pipes, bricks, and paper.
International freight transport continues to grow as businesses expand their markets globally. Using freight forwarding companies is an ideal solution for businesses that need help with international expansion.
A freight forwarder will get your goods from the manufacturer to your customer or other destination. Working as an intermediate your freight forwarder will arrange multi-modal transportation services from established contacts – giving you the best value for money alongside the path that best optimises speed and reliability.
Transportation will be selected from trucking companies, ocean liners, air freighters, rail networks, or a combination of some or all. The benefits of choosing a freight forwarder include:
- Cost-effective – better terms can be negotiated due to high volumes of business provided
- Flexibility – resources are available to handle unforeseen circumstances such as delays or rerouted shipments
- Experience – administrative jobs and negotiating prices and services are all done for you
- Additional services – storing goods at a warehouse gives you the opportunity to offer even faster shipping
- One contract – handling of all individual companies will be done on your behalf
Factors that determine freight shipping rates
The demand for freight transportation continues to increase as business trade relations with suppliers and customers becomes more global. There will be a dependency on carefully and timed and reliable freight transportation to satisfy commitments. Bear in mind that freight shipping rates will vary dependant on:
- Size and weight of cargo
- Origin and destination
- Shipping methods
- Special services that require specialised handling
- Storage solutions
Trusted international transport companies will work to meet the specific demands of your business. This includes finding effective supply chains, arranging multi-modal shipping, and taking care of more complex issues such as Customs administration and insurances. An international transport company will handpick the most suitable services to meet your needs, and you’ll have an individual contact to explain the basics and guide you through.