Cargo Transportation: 4 Different Transport Modes for Moving Your Goods

Cargo transportation entails using different transport modes when moving goods. It also means using shipping container transport and logistics companies use to safely and securely move cargo in transit. Deciding on which transport mode to use depends on the business you’re operating and the type of goods being moved. 

Shipping goods can be done by air, sea, road or rail. Transport and logistics companies will typically use one or more of these transport modes to move freight. Which one is right for your business? Read on to find out more about each mode of transport and their benefits plus potential drawbacks.

Cargo Transportation: 4 Different Transport Modes for Moving Your Goods

1. Marine Transportation

Up to 80% of Australia’s international trade is carried out by sea. Marine transportation is the obvious choice for freighters in this country and makes sense in the following cases:

  • When your business imports and exports large, bulky cargo
  • Moving goods from country to country

Marine transportation is economical compared to air freight. It’s also the best transport mode for handling heavier cargo. Ocean shipping also means less handling of cargo. Your goods are safer when stored and moved with a slow-moving vessel. 

The potential drawbacks to this type of transport mode are:

  • Inaccessibility to ports or warehouses
  • Slower delivery times

Sea transportation is cost-effective for companies handling heavier, larger and bulkier cargo that don’t need goods to be delivered speedily. 

2. Air Transportation

Moving goods by plane is one of the speediest methods of getting your cargo from one place to another, especially over long distances. Air shipment is efficient and is a service that can be provided almost anywhere on the globe. Flights operate on a fixed schedule, making this one of the most reliable transport modes available. 

Air transportation is ideal for:

  • Moving perishable goods over long distances
  • Safer handling and minimal interference of goods

The potential drawback of using air transportation to move your shipment are the costs, which is higher than most other transport modes. Using this type of shipping has other limitations such as the size, weight and type of product. Dangerous goods aren’t always allowed to be transported as air freight. 

3. Rail Transportation

Trains have been used to transport goods such as vehicles, bulk fuel and plastics. Rail transportation can handle large, bulky goods that are too heavy for trucks. Trains also operate on a fixed schedule, making them a reliable shipping method when prompt delivery time is important. Transporting your goods by train is also more environmentally friendly compared to air freight or trucks.

The two main disadvantages of this mode of transport are:

  • Slower delivery time and multiple handling of goods during shipment due to changeovers during transportation.
  • Inaccessibility to railroad tracks.
  • Truck transportation is necessary to get goods to the railroad and for moving cargo from the tracks to its final destination. This requires more logistics for a streamlined process. 

4. Road Transportation

Road freight plays a huge role in transporting goods from door to door. Road transportation accounts for over 214,000 million tonne-kilometre of freight being moved every year in countries such as Australia. Industries that need goods delivered directly to their customers, other warehouses or to a company’s front door will favour truck transportation. 

Goods such as computers, motor vehicle parts, live animals and food items are often transported by road. It’s a popular mode of transport for retail and construction industries. The benefits of using this type of transport include:

  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Cost-effectiveness compared to air, sea and rail transportation
  • Fewer restrictions on the type of products such as hazardous goods
  • Better accessibility
  • More options in the type of truck you need to deliver your goods

There are some limitations to using this transport mode. They include:

  • Slower delivery time.
  • Unexpected delays such as traffic jams, accidents on the road and detours or roadway closures
  • Mishandling of goods during loading or delivery

Working with a reputable transport and logistics company can mitigate the potential drawbacks. 

Questions to Ask When Picking the Best Transport Mode for Your Freight

Asking the following questions will ensure you pick the best transport mode for your freight:

  • Is fast delivery time important? If it is, pick air transportation.
  • What kind of goods am I shipping? Sea or rail transportation is best for heavy, bulky goods while fragile goods can be transported by sea or road.
  • What is my budget? Sea transportation is one of the most cost-effective shipping methods for bulky cargo. 
  • What’s the destination? If you’re shipping to another country, sea or air is your best transport mode. 
  • Do I need door-to-door shipping? Road transportation is your best option here. 

In Conclusion

Picking the right transport mode for moving your goods is essential for running a successful freight forwarding business. Hiring the best transport and logistics company is also vital. This way, you have professional support when managing your freight transportation.