We explain the types of freight transportation services, its history, types and characteristics. In addition, its advantages, disadvantages and examples.
What Is Freight (Cargo) Transportation?
Freight transport is the type of transport responsible for moving goods and merchandise from one place of origin to another of destination, so that they reach their destination in good condition and within a specific period of time established.
Generally, these are large shipments of heavy, valuable or bulky materials, the transfer of which requires special conditions. In this it is distinguished from passenger transport.
Freight transportation is one of the most common activities in the contemporary globalized economy, using land, air and water vehicles, in single or combined ( multimodal ) modalities . All this in both the supplier-client and client-supplier sense.
Cargo transportation history
The exchange of merchandise between nations, even those that were at great distances from each other, is as old as humanity itself. Initially, this transport was carried out using beasts of burden , that is, donkeys, camels or other animals that supported the weight of the merchandise on its back.
The disadvantage of “blood” transport was that it allowed to transport few quantities at a time, and thus it was necessary to have long lines of animals. In the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution brought new forms of transportation that made this type of exchange easier, thanks to the steam engine.
The steam engine was used in the two most revolutionary inventions in the field: the railroad and the steamship , which narrowed the distances within and outside the nations in a very significant way. Thus began a wide range of commercial international transport services.
Characteristics of cargo transportation
Freight transport is distinguished from other forms of transport, such as passenger transport, in the fact that it transports goods, generally bulky or numerous .
Therefore, it requires large spaces (such as vaults or containers), and not comfortable or aesthetic facilities (as is the case with passenger transport). Thus, raw materials , vehicles and tools, machinery parts, chemical compounds or even consumer products are usually transported .
Types Of Freight Transportation Services
Cargo transportation can take place in four different ways:
- Sea transportation . As its name indicates, it is carried out by means of maritime vehicles, that is, sailing through the sea: cargo ships and other similar ships.
- Road transport . It refers to the use of land vehicles such as trucks and wheeled transporters, capable of going from one point to another in a country or region whenever there are passable roads. These trucks can be single, trailer or tractor trucks.
- Rail transportation . In this case, it refers to transportation by the various types of existing train, that is, ground transportation that does not involve roads but tracks. Trains can reach high speeds and travel long distances, as long as there are railways drawn at their destination.
- Air transport . As its name indicates, in this case aerial vehicles are used, that is, the different types of cargo aircraft that exist in operation. In this case, the amount of transportable material, however, is notably less than in the rest of the previous types.
Advantages of cargo transportation
The advantages of freight transport have to do with its ability to move large amounts of goods over long distances : a much more efficient , economic and direct service than through small vehicles on numerous trips.
Cargo vehicles not only have a large storage capacity, but also a greater fuel capacity. Thus, they can undertake long and sustained trips with less need to refuel.
Disadvantages of cargo transportation
Although cargo transportation is ideal for moving merchandise, it is not convenient when transporting people , minimum goods or other types of cargo.
More than anything because their facilities are not comfortable and, being large, they are not profitable for shipping a few goods . In addition, the large transporters of merchandise are bulky, difficult to maneuver and pollutants, which is why they require constant replacement and revision.
Freight transportation examples
Some examples of cargo transportation are:
- Oil or fuel tanker ships , usually from oil or petrochemical corporations.
- The army of merchandise or raw material trucks that traverse the expressways of the United States connecting the east coast and the west coast.
- The aircraft Hercules cargo employing some armies to transport soldiers and combat vehicles from one region to another.