Transport, logistics operator, freight forwarding service, supply chain… Sometimes it is not easy to know where one begins and the other ends, what tasks they share and which are specific to one or the other. In this week’s article we are not just going to try to clarify the differences, but to highlight some aspects that are essential for this service.
What is the freight forwarding service?
Freight forwarding service is sometimes defined as the muscle of the supply chain. This is because it is the one that physically moves the merchandise from one point to another. However, this simile seems to imply that there is no brain behind this movement of trucks. But this would be wrong. The management of a fleet and the realization of routes has a lot of science behind the scenes.
Both supply chain and logistics are more global concepts. But both need the less glamorous freight forwarding service in order to function.
Things to keep in mind in the cargo transportation service
Cargo transport admits a wide variety of vehicles. Land, sea, air, truck, ship, plane… In a strict sense, even bicycles and food delivery are still cargo transportation. The type of transport chosen is determined by the type of supply chain. For example, the large industry, which has extensive planning, can take advantage of the low costs of maritime transport, despite having to assume long delivery times from the other end of the world.
Even within the same type of transport, the differences are great. The services to which a delivery van or a trailer are usually dedicated, whether for national or international service, have little to do with each other. A company may need to use all of them at one time or another, but it must design its logistics taking into account the different possibilities that they offer. And thus see when and why you are interested in last-mile delivery, the option of consolidating larger loads to optimize costs, vehicles with hatches (something less common in trailers), etc.
Types of loads
If the vehicle matters, no less important is the type of loads. If you’ve been to a supermarket, you may have noticed that the merchandise from department stores (coincidentally) usually fit perfectly on the pallets. The providers do this to optimize the space available in the trucks and that the freight transport service can work with the most standardized merchandise possible. This has a direct impact on costs, since most logistics operator rates are made with standard-size pallets (such as the so-called European and American ones) at the head.
At the other extreme we find unconventional charging. We can find special dimensions, unconventional merchandise, tanks, ADR merchandise… All these loads require different vehicles and conform to different legislation. Although there are logistics operators that can respond to several of them, you have to make sure that this is the case and not treat it as conventional merchandise.