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Minggu, 07 Maret 2010

Choose the right mode of transport for your goods

Businesses rely on transportation to receive goods from their suppliers as well as deliver orders to their customers. The type of transport your business uses will depend on a number of factors:

  • The products you sell (eg perishables or non-perishables)
  • Supplier production lead times
  • Product availability
  • Customer lead times
  • Source of supply (eg UK or abroad)
  • Customs and Excise rules (eg duty or quarantine)
  • Volume

You can use one method for all your transportation needs or a combination. Here are the main types, and their advantages and disadvantages:


Airfreighting is commonly used by businesses for the delivery of goods from distant suppliers. This mode of transport is useful to deliver products with short lead times, fragile goods and products that are not bulky. Products in high demand and in short supply may also be airfreighted in order to meet customer demands. The bulk/value ratio will be a determining factor.


  • Fast delivery, usually between 24 and 48 hours
  • Customer is not kept waiting for order fulfilment
  • Reduced lead time on supplier
  • Improved service levels


  • Flight delays and/or cancellations
  • Customs and Excise restrictions
  • Cost


Sea transportation is used by businesses for the delivery of goods from distant suppliers. Most sea transportation is conducted in containers which vary in size. Goods can be grouped into a container (LCL) or fill a container (FCL). Sea tankers are used for bulk shipments of loose goods such as oil, grain and coal.


  • Ideal for transporting heavy and bulky goods
  • Suitable for products with long lead times


  • Longer lead/delivery times
  • Bad weather
  • Difficult to monitor exact location of goods in transit
  • Customs and Excise restrictions
  • Could be costly


Businesses use rail transportation for the delivery of a wide range of goods including post, coal, steel and other heavy goods.


  • Fast delivery
  • Capacity
  • Cost effective
  • Safe mode of transport
  • Reliable


  • Subject to unforeseen delays
  • Reliance on rail freight operator's timetable
  • Suppliers/customers are not always located near a rail freight depot and delivery to/from the depot can be costly and time consuming


A very popular mode of transport used by suppliers and businesses to deliver orders. Many transport companies provide scheduled delivery days and next day delivery services, depending upon your needs. Goods can be packed/grouped in box vans or in containers which are also used for sea transportation.


  • Cost effective
  • Fast delivery
  • Ideal for short distances, national or mainland Europe
  • Ideal for transporting perishables (eg fruit and vegetables)
  • Easy to monitor location of goods
  • Easy to communicate with driver
  • Ideal for sending by courier shortages to customers


  • Transport subject to traffic delays
  • Transport subject to breakdown
  • Goods susceptible to damage through careless driving
  • Bad weather
  • Driving regulations can cause delays


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