Dynamic Business Approaches: Shipping Methods to Match Your Needs

Posted : 11/5/12 3:30 AM

As the global economy becomes more integrated, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to consider the manner in which they ship their goods and services. All forms of transport are growing in volume world wide. Transit by ship and by air is growing quickly while moving goods by rail and by truck is experiencing a similarly rapid increase. The internet is just one more tool that aids the process of shipping products from suppliers to customers. The internet tends to speed up all forms of shipping by enhancing the links between production and consumption. Orders can be more specific and more quickly processed. Goods can be tracked more closely. Delays can be identified more readily, and corrected more rapidly. Production can be keyed to demand in rapid fashion. Billing can be done instantaneously. All forms of shipping have been aided by the internet. The overwhelming bulk of international trade is carried on ships, and while computers and the internet have certainly helped efficiency here, of even greater importance has been the development of container technology. Containers eliminate the need for a crew of dockworkers to laboriously unload cargo. Cranes now quickly transfer them from ship to truck or rail cars. The system is faster and cheaper. There is far less chance of pilferage of products or mix-ups of goods going to the wrong place. Virtually all businesses will opt to move goods by containers rather than utilizing the older methods of pallets lowered into ship holds. Containers can be loaded onto truck beds or rail cars, and firms must decide which method best suits their needs. Rail offers lower fuel and labor costs, but trucks can travel to any destination with suitable roads, an option that offers far more latitude than track-dependent railroads. Businesses will often select a combination of both, shipping a container long distance by rail, but then using trucks for the final leg of the journey. Air cargo transit is mushrooming despite the high cost it requires in fuel. The benefit of speed is the main factor in this. Cargo planes fly at thirty times the speed of ships, a critical consideration when time is of the essence. Perishable goods may have no other option available. Despite high fuel costs, an increasing amount of fruit is being transported intercontinentally by aircraft. Such means are also increasingly relied upon by postal systems. They have decided, as have so many businesses, that the shortened delivery times are worth the extra expense that air traffic entails.