Well you have to take a long trip which mode of transportation would be your preferred choice.
For many it’s air.
Still many more of us choose rail Richar.
Some might even choose ship Why.
For some it may be about the experience for others.
It may be cost and even if you did choose to take a plane how did you get to the plane.
And from the plane to the final destination.
Air has its limitations.
So when you consider very short trips trips to a regional attraction trips within your state or province
and trips to and from work well then rail car and ferry become much more likely at some point.
So you may even choose walking or biking.
We all seem to have a feel for which mode of transportation is best for us in different circumstances.
But do we know which mode of transportation is best for our cargo in the logistics world.
There are four major modes of transportation that are considered trucks trains airplanes and ships of
Yes there is pipeline for oil and slurries and some may even consider digital distribution for music
movies and books.
But those last two modes are quite limited.
How about the other four.
What kinds of variables point us to the right mode.
In North America you typically are choosing between truck and rail for domestic shipments.
Rail is cheap and quite handy for bulky and heavy items that don’t need to move too quickly but rail
can be unreliable and steel wheels on steel tracks for hundreds or thousands of miles can cause lots
of vibration and ultimately lots of damage.
Do you have enough packaging for that trucks on the other hand are fast.
Believe it or not they are the second fastest mode of transportation.
Plus there are so many trucking companies that is extremely competitive thus it drives them to be both
faster and more reliable.
The problem here is cost.
Trucks can be much more expensive than rail and shifts and fuel prices may greatly impact shipping rates.
How about getting stuff to another part of the world.
Well now you’re more likely deciding between ocean vessels and airplanes.
What’s the big difference.
It comes down to speed versus cost.
Ships are slow and cheap planes are fast but extremely expensive.
So is the decision that simple.
Yes sometimes emergency shipments will require air but some companies also weigh the costs of slow shipment
slow shipments are exposed to the elements longer particularly hot humid and salty air since they move
There’s a greater chance of theft and damage plus because shipments can be slow.
Companies are forced to carry a lot more inventory.
Usually the rule of thumb is items that have high value to weight ratios are the best candidates to
move by air.
So think of something that might be very expensive by the pound.
World class art racehorses.
All of these typically travel the world as first class air cargo.
Still another consideration is containerization these wonderful standardized containers the ones that
fit so neatly on trucks ships and trains.
They’re too big and bulky for air shipment.
For some companies that is a very important factor.
While many of these factors are universal sometimes things are different in different parts of the world.
When you go to a different country trips you typically would have taken by car or plane here might actually
be more convenient by bus ferry or train there.
Different countries are set up different ways.
So roads rails ocean ports and airports may be more or less available.
So when companies expand their supply chains globally they may want to hire freight forwarders these
freight forwarders are really travel agents for your cargo so they can help you better understand your
global transportation options.
So look around the room.
Where did your belongings come from.
Which mode of transportation did they likely use.
Did they use more than one mode.
What kind of packaging and containerisation solutions that they probably need.
Did those packaging and containerisation needs change based on the modes of transport.
Congratulations you are now thinking like a logistics specialist.