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  • Service Overview

    The five most common modes of transport are: roadways, railways, airway, waterways and pipelines.

    The process of transporting goods, commodities and cargo is known as freight shipping. The three primary modes of transportation involving most freight are land, sea and air. Within those categories are different kinds of transportation modes

    Rail Transport

    Most LTL or FTL transport can be handled more economically via rail freight. Vital to the American supply chain, it is often significantly less expensive to transport freight via rail, especially given the length of the distance the freight tends to be transported. Much of the freight that travels by rail is transported in intermodal shipping containers. Railroads are critical to the facilitation of global trade and the U.S. economy.

    The lower cost of rail transport in moving goods across the country helps keep the cost of goods down. By continually investing in newer technologies, railroads have been able to reduce human errors and enhance rail safety and operational efficiency. According to the Association of American Railroads, one freight train alone can replace several hundred trucks.

    Road Transport

    Trucks are the most common way of transporting freight across the supply chain. Other modes of transportation cannot necessarily be used to reach all needed destinations. Because of the cost and access, trucks are the usually the default choice for transporting large quantities of goods.

    • Full Truckload (FTL) sometimes known as Truckload (TL): The entire 53 feet of trailer space is needed to transport freight
    • Less Than Truckload (LTL): This indicates that there is an inadequate amount of freight to fill an entire truck; only part of a trailer is needed to transport freight. LTL shipments are transported on trucks with goods from other shippers, making multiple stops or transfers.
    • Intermodal (ITML): This involves the shipping of freight using more than one mode of transportation but without opening the container. An example of this is when freight arrives in one location by ship and is then transported to a warehouse by truck.
    • Chassis: This term is used to refer to a means of transporting ocean containers over the road. A chassis is a specialized trailer required to move container shipments by truck. This will require payment of a chassis fee. This is directly related to intermodal modes of transportation.
    • Multimodal (ML): This term refers to the use of more than one mode of transportation after the container is opened and the goods have been transferred to another mode of transportation.

    Because full truckload shipments are under the supervision of one driver throughout an entire specified route, full truckload shipments tend to be less prone to theft or damage. FTL is usually a bit faster than LTL shipping as the FTL route is direct from the point of origin to the destination. LTL shipping often takes a bit longer than FTL as the route involves working through a hub and spoke network.

    Intermodal transportation is frequently used for longer hauls. For example, this may occur in the transportation of goods from a port.

    Sea Transport

    In today’s global economy, sea freight makes up the bulk of global trade transportation. This is largely due to China’s continued dominance in manufacturing.

    Use of standardized shipping containers, metal box structures that can readily be moved between various modes of transportation has made it easier to load and unload, transport and manage across various types of transport. Standardized containerization enhances efficiency, helps to protect goods and is useful in helping to ensure faster movement across the supply chain.

    The freight forwarder arranges container or space with the shipping agent and the shipment moves to the port where it passes through customs at the point of origin. The freight is loaded into either shared containers or full containers, depending upon the volume. Once loaded, the container is put onto the cargo ship and readied for transport.

    Upon reaching the destination, the goods again pass through customs. Once duties and taxes have been paid, the freight is released for delivery and will be delivered to the receiver either on pallets or in the same container.

    Air Transport

    When it comes to global trade, sea freight is dominant. For freight traversing borders, land transportation is typically used as well as for last mile logistics. Air freight is most beneficial for high value and time-sensitive cargo such as for goods in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, pharmaceutical/healthcare industries.