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What Are The Modes Of Transportation In Logistics?

Logistics is a very diverse and complex industry. It involves many modes of transportation and ways of shipping goods. Sometimes, it may be challenging for a company to choose the right mode of transportation to reach the best result. It can be especially difficult if you are new to domestic or global shipping. However, knowing the differences and benefits of each shipping method will help you define the option that will work best for you. 

Different modes of transportation

There are several main transportation modes in the freight shipping industry: 

  • Ocean
  • Air
  • Rail
  • Road 
  • Intermodal and Multimodal 

All of these modes are extremely important and play a significant role in the industry. However, there are many differences in terms of price, shipped commodities, transit distance, etc. While some modes may be the perfect solution to one business, at the same time may be absolutely useless to another one. 

Ocean shipping

Ocean shipping is the most popular way of moving large volumes of goods overseas. Compared to air, the ocean is a much more cost-efficient option yet a rather slow one. This mode of transportation works best for shippers who need to move goods on a distance longer than 400 km. Also, it works for oversized, hazardous, liquids, and weird-shaped freight. Ocean shipping is common among large and mid-sized businesses because they need global shipping on a regular basis. The freight is stacked in containers that are later loaded onto the ships or barges. 

Air shipping

Probably the fanciest shipping mode, the air is a reliable and extremely quick way to ship freight. Obviously, extraordinary speed comes at a higher price. Because of its larger cost, the air is mostly used by bigger companies but small businesses often use it too. This option is the perfect solution for retail companies and light industries. Essentially, there are specialized aircraft for hefty cargo but in general, planes are not developed for handling oversized freight of unusual shape. 

Over-the-Road Shipping 

Over-the-road transportation is the most popular, the most frequently used, and the 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 when LTL suggests partial use of the trailer by several shippers. There are also various types of trailers that serve different shipping needs: dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, etc. It is easy to get a freight quote from the carrier and choose the needed equipment. 

Intermodal and Multimodal

Choosing the right mode of transportation may be difficult, especially if you have a long and complicated route. Intermodal and multimodal can 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 goes with separate bills 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 have a variety of options to choose from. 

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