Logistics and the transportation of goods are very diverse and complex industries. Shippers rely on overseas shipping, air transportation, and ground delivery to move freight. Therefore, it involves many shipping modes or different types of transportation and ways of shipping goods.
Sometimes, it may be challenging for a company to choose the suitable mode of transportation to reach the best result. In addition, it can be challenging if you are new to domestic or global shipping. However, knowing the differences and benefits of each transportation method will help you define the option that will work best for you.
What Are The Modes Of Transportation In Logistics?
There are various forms of transportation, but when it comes to freight shipping, there are several main transportation methods in the freight industry: Ocean, Air, Rail, Road, Intermodel, and multimodal.
Types of Transportation: Why Are They Important?
These modes of transport are fundamental and play a significant role in the logistics industry. However, there are many differences in price, shipped commodities, transit distance, etc. Therefore, while some modes may be the perfect solution for one business, they may also be useless to another.
Ocean shipping is the most popular way of moving large volumes of goods overseas. The ocean is much more cost-efficient than air but is also relatively slow. This mode of transportation is best for shippers who need to move products at a distance longer than 400 km. Also, it works for oversized, hazardous, liquids, and weird-shaped freight.
Ocean shipping is shared among large and mid-sized businesses because they need to make global logistics operations more regular. The freight is stacked in containers and later loaded onto the ships or barges.
Probably the fanciest shipping mode, air transport is a reliable and rapid way to ship freight. However, extraordinary speed comes at a higher price in terms of shipping. Because of its higher cost, more prominent companies mostly use air transport, but small businesses often use it too.
This option is the perfect solution for many retail companies and light industries. Of course, there are specialized aircraft for hefty cargo, but in general, planes are not developed for handling oversized freight of unusual shape.
Trucking (Over-the-Road Shipping)
Over-the-road transportation is the most popular, most frequently used, and most in-demand mode of transportation. It works for everyone, from individual shippers to large enterprises. Also, road transport comes with a wide variety of equipment and shipping modes. There are two main types of over-the-road transportation: full truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL).
FTL shipping means that one shipper takes the entire truck capacity to move the freight. LTL shipping means several shippers share partial use of the trailer. Trailers serve different shipping needs: dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, etc. Therefore, getting a freight quote from the carrier and choosing the needed equipment is easy.
Rail transportation is crucial in intermodal shipments and is cheaper and more eco-friendly than over-the-road shipping. However, it is best used for pre-planned long-hauls, and moving from OTR to rail could benefit your logistics and supply chain management in several ways.
Significant investments in intermodal transportation in recent decades have made it more reliable, cost-effective, and service-oriented. As a result, rail freight rates are flexible and much lower than truck rates. Due to the large volume of goods being moved, the price per load is low. Also, rail transport doesn’t make frequent stops and uses a minimum of fuel.
Intermodal and Multimodal Transport
Choosing a suitable mode of transportation may be difficult, especially if you have a long and complicated route. Intermodal and multimodal transportation solve this problem, as they are two types of combination transportation modes. Generally, intermodal and multimodal shipping suggest the combination of road, rail, ocean, or air for a single shipment.
The only difference between both methods is that intermodal is handled under a single bill, while multimodal use separate accounts from all the carriers involved. Generally, intermodal and multimodal can be very beneficial to the shipper in terms of price and flexibility. Ultimately, each mode of transportation has its advantages and drawbacks. Depending on the size and needs of your business, you’ll have various options to choose from.
Applying different modes of transportation can also help you build a warehouse management system. For example, if you want to ship your material and product more effectively or consider international shipments, you can consider delivering goods to a distribution center. Then, with a robust inventory management strategy, you can move your items to a storage space closer to the final destination. Hence, the ordered goods remain in stock and reach customers faster.