Transporting goods from any point of origin to a sale point can be a simple, yet crucial part of exportation. The delivery options available for a buyer is a vital part of the decision making process. Providing convenient transportation can later transform into increased profits and customer satisfaction.
There are four primary modes of transport involved in international trade. They include:
  1. Land: Road
  2. Land: Rail Freight
  3. Sea Freight
  4. Air Cargo

Let’s look at a summary the benefits and drawbacks of each mode listed above.

Land: Road

Benefits

The primary benefit of road transportation for delivering goods is the low cost. The price of fuel and it’s availability can affect overhead, but they are low, compared to other means. Another benefit of road transportation is flexibility across state and national borders. If a delivery point is accessible via a road network, there’s a chance of having more than one route as an option. Having multiple route options can help when optimising a path that covers many deliveries in a single journey.
Finally, road travel allows for easier tracking of goods. Secure and private delivery of a consignment is more accessible via road transport.

Drawbacks

The major issue with road travel is the time it takes to deliver goods over longer distances. Traffic and delays make what is already a long journey, take longer than necessary.
Road travel issues that all vehicles are prone to apply in this case as well. Trucks, Lorries and vans used for haulage might suffer a breakdown on their way to a delivery.
High toll charges and complex traffic regulations can also lengthen goods delivery.

Land: Rail

Benefits

Rail freight is possibly the most cost-effective means of transporting goods across national borders. The substantial weight capacity of locomotive engines makes them an excellent option for moving heavy goods fast. However, inadequate infrastructure in and around the country might make this option less favourable for many Nigerian exporters.

Drawbacks

Besides the apparent infrastructure inadequacy within the country, which might hinder rail freight opportunities, there are some issues one might consider before choosing rail freight as an option anywhere in the world. Firstly, further transport may be needed to get goods to their final destination. Also, rail freight can be subject to delays due to some reasons, for example, industrial action, faulty trains or general maintenance issues. After adding up costs to transport goods to their final destination, it might be considerably more expensive than transporting by road.

Sea Freight

Benefits

With a much larger carrying capacity than all other means of transporting goods, sea freight would be the best option for businesses that need to carry large quantities of their products. This method of transporting goods is also cost-effective for large orders. Freight forwarders provide value added services such as consignment consolidation to reduce costs. There is a large community of freight forwarding service professionals that are ready to support businesses with both large and small transporting needs.

Drawbacks

Sea freight can be slow compared to other means of transporting goods and poor weather conditions can add further delays to delivery dates. Route options and shipping timetables might not always be favourable, especially for businesses in need of more tailored shipping service. Port duties are required when clearing goods via sea transport. Just like rail transport, further transportation might be necessary from the destination port before products reach their final destination.

Air Cargo

Benefits

Air cargo is the most favourable option for transporting goods that need to move over long distances. Air cargo can also be a means for carrying a wide range of products. With companies offering door to door forwarding services, choosing air cargo can be a secure option for transporting sensitive goods.

Drawbacks

Air cargo is likely to be the most expensive option for delivering goods. Scheduled flights can be subject to delays and cancellations for many reasons including poor weather conditions. Airport taxes are required when clearing products from an airport. In some cases, aviation fuel surcharges add to the cost of shipping. Further transport may be necessary from the destination airport before goods reach their final destination.

Conclusion

All modes of transporting goods to customers provide some level of added benefit depending on you and your customer’s requirements at the time of forwarding goods. If you would like some advice tailored to your business needs, contact us at your earliest convenience.