Introduction to Freight transportations systems
Freight/cargo transportation is designed to move goods from one location to another. Primary objective is to carry goods and materials between different entities in a supply chain at a minimal cost, time and environmental degradation.
Modes of freight transportation are carried by rail, by road, by air, by water and by pipeline.
Types of Freight
Freights can be classified into Bulk cargo, Break-bulk cargo and pallet.
Types of carriers
Types of carriers are private carrier and public carrier. Private carrier is owned and operated by a shipper. Usually it refers to private trucking fleets and it provides more advantageous solution for high density / short distance or special-need shipments. Whereas public carrier or common carrier provide services to general public for-hire basis. Some of the examples are Express carriers, Rail carrier, Air carriers, Liner Shipping and Pipeline.
Transportation System models
All around the world different types of transportation systems are used and they are Direct Shipping, Dead head, Hub-and-spoke, Pickup and delivery (cartage), Milk runs, Interline/Intermodal shipment, Long haul and FTL vs. LTL.
Direct shipping –Direct Shipping involves shipping or transportation directly from consignor to consignee.
Dead-head- Dead-head is a portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move.
Hub-and-spoke- In this type large hub terminals are employed for freight consolidation. Where medium-volume services are used for spoke-to-hub collection and hub-to-spoke distribution. Air freight, parcel shipping, LTL and, more recently, ocean shipping is organized in this manner.
Pickup and delivery (cartage)- This type of freight provides local pickup and delivery from point to point in other words local hauling of freight occurs.
Milk runs- This type of transportations system runs in a way that vehicle route in which a truck delivers (picks up) freight from (for) a single terminal to (from) a number of consignees.
Interline/Intermodal shipment – In this system Shipment is employed to more than one carrier / transportation mode.
Longhaul (or Linehaul)- In these transportation systems Terminal-to-terminal freight movements are occurred.
Full Truck Load (FTL) vs. Less than Truck Load (LTL) – These two types of transportation systems form the difference by how much load it occupied. Full truck load carries high volume, fast in delivery because it doesn’t need to wait for another load and it is also cost effective. Whereas in Less than truck load carries less volume, it takes more time if load for consolidation is not available and it is expensive too.
Road Freight Transportation
Surface is a very popular mode of transportation used by suppliers and businesses to deliver orders. Roadways play a major role in handling cargo. Roadways transportation is done through lorries/trucks. Roadways transportation needs well maintained trailer systems to carry heavy loads over long distance. Failing to meet need leads to breakdowns & congestions, requires heavy expenditure & may cause health hazards.
Types of Trucks
Trucks that one can find in the Indian truck industry are Tipper Truck, Haulage truck, Trailer Truck, Rigid Truck, Delivery Vans, Cabs.
Rail Freight Transportation
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. Railways have special wagons to carry the cargo. Rail transport allows handling large volumes of cargo in short time. Railways handle cargo from sea port to various parts of the country. Freight trains are very efficient, with economy of scale and high energy efficiency.
Goods Wagon – Railway wagons used for the goods transportation: are Open Wagons, Covered Wagons, Refrigerated vans, Flat wagons, Wagons with sliding roof, Special wagons, Tank wagons, Spine cars.
Ocean Freight Transportation
Ocean (water) Transportation is used by business for the delivery of goods from distant suppliers. Waterways is the cheapest means of transportation. Large volume of world trade is done through ships. Ships handle cargo from one country to other through ocean/sea.
Shipping Containers – Container helps to move stock from one mode of transport to another without unloading and reloading. Most sea transportation is conducted in containers in varying sizes. Sea tankers are used for bulk shipments of loose goods such as oil, grain or coal.
Types of Carriers – The three types of carriers are Bulk carrier, tanker carrier and container carrier.
Air Freight Transportation
Airways is the fastest costliest means of transportation. It reaches anywhere with suitable landing strip. Suitable for high-value, low-weight cargo and for emergency items and it is also used for light products with short lead times or fragile. And it is ideal for products in high demand and short supply to meet customer demands.
Air Cargo Containers – Air cargo containers reduces the number of individual pieces of cargo that must be handled in terminals. It provides for most efficient use of cubic capacity of the aircraft and it speed up the loading and unloading of aircraft .
Factors Driving Freight Transportation Cost
The factors driving freight transportations costs are based on product related and market related. Product related involves density of the product, Ease or difficulty of handling product, and liability. Whereas Market related involves Intra mode/inter mode competition, Location of markets, Balance/imbalance of freight traffic, Seasonality of product movements.
Freight Transportation Charges
Factors contributing to freight transportations charges are related to distance, Related to product shipped, Related to special situations/extra services, Related to shipment size.
Reducing Freight Transportation Costs
Increase weight shipped (TL) can be used to reduce line-haul costs and by consolidating shipments, we can reduce Terminal handling costs, Pickup and delivery costs and Billing and collecting costs.
Routing and Scheduling
Routing and scheduling is an important factor as it helps us to Find the best path for a vehicle through surface/ocean /air networks. And also it helps to determine the best pattern for stops, multi-vehicle use, driver layovers and time of day restrictions.
By practicing the above method, it not only gives you greater vehicle utilization but also it helps us to get reduced transportation expenses and moreover it improves the response from customer service.