The Role of Transloading in Logistics

Multi-coloured freight shipping containers

There are many ways to ship products and commodities around the world, each with its own advantages. Shipping by air is fast, shipping by sea is cost-effective, and shipping by rail is necessary to bring goods inland.

Almost all products spend time on multiple modes of transport as they make their way from suppliers to consumers. This makes transloading freight a crucial part of bringing goods to market.

Transloading is important for the final leg of shipping. While shipping by rail is efficient, trains cannot deliver everywhere. The last leg of delivery is usually over the road, on a truck.

Why Is Transloading so Crucial?

Shipping costs are the driver of logistics expenses for many businesses. The best way to maximize efficiency is to combine multiple shipping modes, leveraging the strengths of each one. To support those efforts, transload facilities should be tight operations where teams can transfer products efficiently from one mode of transit to another to put them as close to the factory, processor, or retailer as possible.

Transloading freight solutions make manufacturing, processing, and selling more efficient, improving the bottom line in three ways:

Simplified Operations
Transloading means all your freight arrives by a single mode of transport in the final leg. The receiving party can expect a full shipment in a truck, for example, instead of separate deliveries by truck and plane.

Reduced Shipping Costs
Transloading lets you choose the least expensive mode at different stages of the journey from the supplier to your site.

Lower Inventory
When your shipments arrive in smaller loads, you can carry lower inventory at a time instead of having to put surplus goods in storage.

Unless you’re located near a rail line or shipping port, transloading makes good business sense. While every shipping mode has its own advantages and drawbacks, trucking is the only one that makes sense for most destinations that aren’t on a country’s coastline. By using the least expensive mode for each different leg of the journey, transloading lets you simplify your shipping processes and expand your operations.

The Intelligent Transportation System Market

Global transportation concept between hands of a woman in background

Technology is impacting every area of our lives. However, certain facts of life remain frustratingly difficult to solve. Traffic jams are a good example. Even with all of the technology embedded in our vehicles, real-time speed sensors on our roadways, and the location-aware smartphones we have with us at all times, many of us still struggle with traffic every day.

Unfortunately, the situation only seems to get worse. Wouldn’t it be great if technology could rescue us from traffic? Traffic engineers over all the world are working on intelligent transportation systems that promise to reduce traffic.

Today, intelligent transportation systems are big business. If current transportation market trends continue, the global market for these systems is projected to grow beyond $80 billion by 2027, changing the future of domestic freight forwarding in the process.

The Case for Intelligent Transportation Systems

The term Intelligent Transportation System may refer to any hardware or software that helps drivers and driverless vehicles use the roadways more efficiently. The goal is to make our roads safer, smarter, and more systematic.

Why is there so much focus on intelligent transportation systems? The Economist estimates that traffic jams cost every driver in the U.S. nearly $1000 in lost productivity every year. Furthermore, over 3000 people worldwide die in traffic accidents every day. Engineers hope that intelligent transportation systems and other future freight forwarding technologies can reduce this number.

Intelligent Transportation System Examples

There are many examples of intelligent transportation systems. Here are three promising technologies in use now and on the horizon:

  1. Adaptive Traffic Management
    In this technique, engineers alter traffic signals, metering lights, and speed limits in real time based on current conditions. The idea is to route cars away from the most congested areas. Many smartphone apps are intended to accomplish the task on the single vehicle scale. Engineers hope to implement these technologies for the entire transportation network.
  2. Predictive Traffic Modeling
    Reacting to traffic is useful, but predicting traffic jams and ideally stopping them before they start is much more useful. This may sound like a drain, but it is the ultimate goal of predictive traffic modeling. These software programs combine real-time data from road sensors and smartphones with weather forecast and historic information on traffic patterns. These different sources combined with adaptive traffic management aim to dramatically improve traffic.
  3. Connected Vehicles
    Adaptive traffic management systems can really pay off in congested urban areas—however, deploying these systems nationwide isn’t yet economically viable. In the meantime, connected vehicles can use short-range radio to share information to coordinate cars, trucks, and other vehicles and improve traffic.

For as long as there have been automobiles, traffic has been an issue. Could intelligent transportation systems be the solution? According to the investors and those who study freight forwarding trends, the answer may be yes.