When shipping cargo internationally, it’s important to choose the best method for transportation – land, sea or air. Deciding the best mode of transport depends on distance, geographical destination, schedules, nature of the items and cost. Each mode of cargo transport has its own unique advantages. Overall, your final decision should meet your business needs for export success. Keep in mind that many shipping routes often require the use of multiple modes of intermodal transport. Coordinate this logistic chain correctly, and you’ll save your business both time and money.

Transport Via Truck

Even if you choose to ship freight via sea or air, truck transportation is generally responsible for delivering the freight from port to final land destination. The size of the shipment determines the categorization of less than truckload (LTL) or truckload (TL) freight. LTL freight ranges from 100 to 15,000 pounds. Anything over will be classified as TL freight. It’s important to note that it’s less costly for large shipments to use a single motor carrier rather than being mixed with other shipments rather than having to be reloaded onto different motor carriers along the route. Typically, TL providers charge by the mile. You can save money by working with brokers for discounts or by having the freight delivered to the carrier terminal to avoid surcharges.

Shipping By Rail

Shipping by rail works well when transporting over large distances or when transporting bulk goods. It’s often used to ship products from ports to final destination and transporting products to a port for international export. Often, there is a transshipment cost due to rail shipments that have to be transferred to planes, trucks or cargo ships. Using containers that are easily moved helps reduce the costs and expedites shipping time. Specialized freight cars make it easy to load and drop the containers. There are also refrigerated cards for liquid cargo and perishable cargo. Shipping by rail is a cost-effective transport option when your company is within close proximity to a railhead.

Transport Through the Blue Skies

Shipping by air is a good option for time-sensitive freight. Other plusses include tighter inventory control, low-budget warehousing and lower insurance costs. The downside is that air freight is costlier than land or sea. The cost is mostly determined by the weight of the freight and how soon it needs to be delivered. Some shipping companies even offer pick-up services to the terminal and web-based tracking. This allows you to follow the freight from departure to arrival.

Shipping Via Sea

If you need to move a large shipment of freight and don’t have any time constraints, shipping by sea is an economical choice. There are specialized ships that can carry dry goods, perishables and other bulk commodities. Transportation times vary depending on port locations, but cargo from a European port to a U.S. port averages around 10 days. Freight is packaged and then loaded into isotainers. Isotainers allow for fast transit between the vehicles in the intermodal transport chain.

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