International trade is big, and with buyers increasingly enjoying cheaper products with fast and reliable delivery times, winning custom requires careful consideration of costs and time. Whether you choose to ship by sea freight, air companies or road haulage, is often down to careful considerations about what would suit your business.
Distributing your goods by Air Freight
Speed is important for any company, but if it’s the basis of your business there’s only one way to ship internationally: Air. Transporting items on planes is the fastest way to get a product to it’s destination country, and is a highly-reliable and popular way of freight forwarding. There’s a range of options to consider, from using passenger services to colossal logistics-specialised aircraft. At the smallest end of the scale, companies can purchase space on board regular passenger flights. In most larger jets there’s a special compartment under the passenger’s hold. A key benefit is that these compartments are designed to fit pallets, so companies considering this option may not need to change their packing procedures too much. Plus there’s room for loose items. Then there’s the dedicated cargo planes, generally adapted Boeing 747s. These can carry huge amounts of stock, and the floor of the plane is equipped with electric rollers, meaning items can be effortlessly moved to fill up all available space. Quite often the nose of the plane lifts up to fit in irregular loads. At the top end of the scale are huge cargo giants called super transporters, fitted with special doors and wide open areas, these planes are the air giants of logistics.
Bulk Items for Sea Freight
Sea freight may feel like it goes at a tortoise-pace compared to air, but it does offer a far more cost effective way of moving around bulk items. Whereas air freight companies charge by weight, sea freight costs are generally set by the number of containers, so it’s ideal for large amounts of stock. The disadvantage is speed, and where a plane can take a day, a freighter may take a month. Plus weather can have more of an impact, and force a ship to stray days or even weeks from a schedule. There’s also more lengthy customs procedures at both ends. Despite it’s downsides, freight forwarding via sea is a staple in the logistics industry, and a hugely popular choice. The money saved enables fulfilment companies to keep prices low, a deciding factor for many customers. It’s also an environmentally friendly way of freight forwarding, an element customers are considering.
Road Haulage Services to ship products in the UK and Europe
Road haulage is a well-established method, with a variety of vehicles to suit the items. There’s simple flatbed trailers or vans for small payloads, or gigantic swap body systems designed to carry shipping containers, plus everything in between. The main advantage over sea and air is that customs procedures can be much quicker and easier, and there’s less work involved in the unloading and loading stages. There’s also always a guardian of the stock, the driver, and contact with him is easy, meaning tracking the stock is straightforward. This ease of communication means that companies can remain flexible, and adjust their expectations. For European destinations road haulage is usually the number one choice, although bad weather and vehicle breakdowns remain an unpredictable hurdle to the supply chain. So long as drivers’working hours are adhered to, road haulage continues to be reliable enough and a popular choice within European logistics.
Fulfilment companies aren’t short on options, but in this competitive field business relies on the most cost-effective method of transportation. Careful consideration needs to be given to the stock being carried and what’s more important: time or money. Either way, freight forwarding is a well-catered for enterprise.