What Freight Logistics Options are Available for Your Business?

Freight can be moved on land, by air, or over water. There are pros and cons to every freight logistics option, so knowing what you need can help you make the right choices to move your inventory.

By:
Rob Tillman
Freight
Outsourcing
eCommerce Strategy
freight logistics services - Rakuten Super Logistics

When your eCommerce business needs to move stuff from one place to another, you need to figure out how to do that. Sometimes the timeline is the most important factor; other times cost is what you care about the most. No matter your concerns about freight logistics, there is an option that will work for your business.

Freight can be moved on land, by air, or over water. There are pros and cons to every freight logistics option, so knowing what you need can help you or your logistics provider make the right choices to get your inventory from point A to point B. Take a look at what freight logistics is and what the different types of transportation are, so you know your options when moving your eCommerce goods through the supply chain to your customers.

What are Freight Logistics?

Freight logistics involves the oversight and management of the movement and delivery of goods. It ensures a smooth journey of goods between carriers and shippers, combining logistics, human resources, and technical knowledge.

Some of the tasks included in freight logistics might include:

  • Select a transport company, establish contact and utilize transportation
  • Consult and negotiate terms and conditions and rates
  • Prepare proper paperwork, including customs documentation, to go along with cargo
  • Arrange carriers to collect and deliver cargo on agreed-upon timelines
  • Optimize mode choice, trucking company routing, and load balancing
  • Track cargo throughout the supply chain lifecycle
  • Engage, select and work with customs brokers to ensure compliance
  • Confirm cargo insurance is in place prior to transportation
  • Manage freight quote claims/freight shipping
  • Handle and oversee receipt, payments, and invoices for cargo transportation
  • Assist with opportunities to decrease travel time, lower costs, reduce environmental impact, or other transportation performance improvements

What is the Difference Between Freight and Logistics?

Freight and logistics might sound very similar, but in the world of logistics management, there is a slight difference that business owners should understand when looking into the right option for their goods. Logistics refers to the broad, wide-ranging world that covers many different areas. Generally speaking, logistics involves the transportation, movement, storage, or other commercial activity of goods. Freight is a more narrow term that falls under logistics management. Freight involves the movement of goods from one place to another.

Many companies need both freight and logistics support. Oftentimes, this comes from a third-party partner who has the expertise and tools needed to effectively and efficiently manage freight and logistics. This ensures a smooth process through the supply chain and all the way to the customer.

What Types of Freight Transportation are There?

There are many different ways that freight can be moved. Depending on where it originates and where it needs to go, different methods can be used to get it there. In some cases, multiple methods of transportation will be used to move freight.

Air Transportation

This is often the fastest method of freight transportation. It is used when there is an approaching deadline or a tight timeline. However, it can be more expensive than other transportation. This is because there is limited space or there may even be weight limitations for air freight. Some of the challenges that air freight can face include weather – just like when your flight gets canceled for a bad storm, air transportation for goods may also be canceled or delayed for harsh conditions.

Rail Transportation

Rail is easily accessible and can cost less than air transport. It is often used with large, heavy loads. It can be fast and easy for loading and unloading, but it can take a lot longer than air transit. This method of transport for goods is often used for inventory with no time constraint for delivery. The main challenge rail transportation faces is port blockage or derailments.

Road Transportation

Road transportation, or truck shipping, is inexpensive and easily accessed by many companies. It can take a long time for items to get where they’re going, though, depending on origin and destination. If time is of any concern with the freight, road transportation is probably not the way to go. There are many challenges that road transportation faces, including weather, routes, road construction, etc. Some routes may be impassable during certain times of the year, including mountain passes during the winter.

Ocean Transportation

When your shipment is going from one continent to another, ocean freight is the easiest and cheapest solution for transportation. If your international shipment does not have a time constraint, then this is the perfect solution for you. However, it can be heavily affected by weather or port delays.

Partner with a 3PL Provider for Freight Logistics Needs

No matter what types of freight transportation you need, it can be made easier by having a third-party logistics provider. 3PLs have the knowledge and experience to help you efficiently move your goods from one place to another, even all the way to the customer’s front door. They will ensure no step is missed and any negotiations on cost-cutting measures are handled. Rakuten Super Logistics offers international and domestic freight logistics. Our SmartFreight services are designed with eCommerce in mind so your inventory can be moved and managed for you. Get a quote today to learn how we can help.

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Rakuten Super Logistics is a leading eCommerce order fulfillment company that provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand.

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