Lessons in transport and logistics


Transport along the supply chain may be carried out point to point directly. It may also involve reloading of cargo between means or modes of transport. To describe the latter, we usually talk multimodality or intermodality. Let us sort out the issue.

Logistics services explained. Transport vs forwarding vs logistics

Let’s start from the basics in physical flows of goods in the logistics chains and look at the services provided by carriers, forwarders and logistics companies all around the goods on their way from the place of origin to the place of destination.

The transport service is the transport of cargo from A to BForwarding is organizing the entire transport process, i.e., contracting carriers, determining the trip route, providing for all documents, as well as helping the shipper to complete all customs formalities and other formalities mandatory when crossing customs borders. Logistics is barely only providing transport and forwarding services. It is primarily a whole range of the so-called value-added services all around the goods that reach beyond transportation and basic handling.

Basics on shipping

A short introduction to basic terms of maritime shipping: bulk vs break bulk; liner vs tramp shipping; transoceanic vs feeder vs short-sea shipping; port foreland vs hinterland.

Logistics services explained. Transport

We usually transport small cargo volumes by road. By rail, large loading volumes. But these low cargo volumes may be containerized. We may deal with many containers that are to be shipped from different shippers located in a specific region of Europe to some other distant area in Europe. Let us say we talk here around the thousand-kilometer route. If we could find so many loads that would fill one full train on this route, it would be more profitable to transport these loads by intermodal transport, on the primary way of transportation by rail. Similarly, it will be with other loads. If it was possible to find a sufficiently large number of loads to fill the entire train, it would be worthwhile to send the load by rail. Of course, provided that the transport time by rail is acceptable to shippers. The advantage of road transport over rail transport is travel time. Conventional railways are less competitive in this respect than road transport. Here yet again we tackle the economic susceptibility.

Logistics services explained. Freight management

Freight management in logistics means comprehensive cargo flow management using multiple vehicles between multiple dispatch and receipt points to optimize transport processes. The bigger the shipping company, the more trucks, and vans it has at its disposal, the more opportunities it has to leverage economies of scale and reach.