How Does Freight Shipping Work

08/01/22

How Does Freight Transportation Work

How Does Freight Transportation Work

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Freight transportation is an important and complex process that requires a professional approach. It is a process of transporting goods, commodities, large items, and any other bulk freight from one place to another.

Freight transportation is performed by freight shipping companies or individuals (owner-operators) that can utilize various transportation methods and vehicles. For a better understanding of the shipping process, you should know the primary characteristics that define it.

Basic Things That Define Transportation

Freight transportation, whether it is domestic or international, can be complicated even for professional carriers. Each carrier should be able to handle these four services:

  • Logistics
  • Freight transportation
  • Distribution and warehousing
  • International handling and drayage

Logistics

When you don’t want to burden your business with the logistics department, the carrier company that you decide to work with should be able to handle all the logistics processes you require. A third-party logistics company can fully satisfy your needs and provide any service from raw materials delivery to product distribution.

Freight Transportation

When working with a freight carrier, be sure they can manage a stable flow of goods. Whether it is a factory to warehouse or warehouse to the buyer delivery. Price negotiations depend on you and the types of services you require.

Distribution and Warehousing

When your business grows, you might require a warehousing service to store your products before shipping. Lots of companies can provide distribution services along with storage options. Also, end-to-end product tracking would be a nice addition.

Intermodal Handling and Drayage

Intermodal shipping implies that at least two different transportation modes were used for delivery. That means if your freight was delivered by ship, train, or plane and need a truck to go to the warehouse or the receiver. A carrier should be able to provide container drayage and cross-docking service.

The Most Common Types and Methods of Transportation

There are four main transportation methods that are designed for freight shipping on the continent and around the world. Each method offers its own advantages and disadvantages and you should know them before planning the logistics part of your business.

Road Transportation

Truck freight or road transportation is the best for businesses, especially e-commerce ones. It provides great options for small shipments that have to be rapidly delivered right to the customer. 

Advantages road freight provides:

  • Very little restrictions, compared to other transportation methods
  • Cost-efficient due to fuel and truck maintenance costs less
  • More accessible
  • Offers variety of shipping services
  • Allows door-to-door delivery

Disadvantages:

  • Truck freight takes more time to deliver freight on long distances
  • You can’t control how your freight will be handled

Rail Transportation

Train shipping is a fast ground transportation method that can handle high capacity loads.

Advantages rail freight provides:

  • Has more capacity and can carry bulk freight
  • Little chance of delay because of fixed schedule
  • Has less impact on the environment

Disadvantages:

  • Accessibility limited by railroads and stations
  • Rail shipping has longer transit time than truck or air freight
  • Sometimes require multiple transfers throughout the process

Air Transportation

Transportation by plane is the newest shipping method, however, it provides fast worldwide delivery of most freight types. Air fleet industry grows fast and offers more and more shipping possibilities for businesses.

Advantages air freight provides:

  • The fastest transit times
  • Fixed schedule
  • High level of freight security and less handling

Disadvantages:

  • Costs more than other transportation methods
  • Limitations in terms of allowed freight types and weight

Sea Transportation

Marine transportation takes up to 90% of the worldwide trade economy. Sea freight is great for enormous amounts of freight and extra heavy loads.

Advantages sea freight provides:

  • Provides more space for freight
  • Can handle extra heavy loads
  • Costs less than air transportation
  • High safety due to set routes and planned schedule

Disadvantages:

  • Long delivery time.

What Affects Freight Shipping Rates

Pricing in freight shipping relies on many factors. Most of them are not depending on you as a consignor. The factors are:

  • Freight weight
  • Freight class
  • Freight density
  • Distance between pickup and delivery
  • Chosen transportation method or service
  • Fuel cost
  • Seasonality
  • Rates negotiations.