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Cargo Types: Which Freight Method is Best for Different Types of Goods?

Planning shipments is a vital process that directly impacts how goods get moved. There are factors that affect how items should be transported including the expenses, the speed with which items must be transported, the value of the items, and their sizes. Taking a close look at these factors is crucial to finding the right way to move goods efficiently. To understand how freight can be transported efficiently, it is essential to explore the different types of cargo.


Types of Cargo

Every type of cargo demands a specific mode of transportation to ensure safe and timely delivery. Clothing, electronics, liquid goods, and heavy machinery all require different modes of transportation.

1. Containers

Container cargo refers to goods transported within containers. Transporting large quantities of goods is effortless with these containers' immense capacity. This type of cargo typically consists of electronics, clothing, toys, and similar items. Loading and unloading container cargo from ships often involve machinery. The containers utilised for transporting this cargo generally maintain a standardised size, offering inherent advantages.

2. Dry Bulk Cargo

Construction essentials such as sand, and cement, along with significant materials like grains, coals, iron ores, and even edible items like salt and sugar form the composition of dry bulk cargo. These cargoes are typically not packaged and are moved in large quantities. Loading and unloading occur within the ship's hold, while wagons and lorries also contribute significantly to their transportation. Both the food and infrastructure sectors heavily rely on this cargo category for seamless operations.

3. Liquid Bulk Cargo

Liquid bulk cargoes refer to significant quantities of liquids transported in specially constructed vessels like tankers. Examples of such cargoes include liquid chemicals, petroleum products, and crude oil.

4. Break Bulk

Breakbulk cargo refers to goods that do not conform to standard-sized shipping containers or cargo bins. Instead, these loads are transported in bags, boxes, crates, barrels, or other handling equipment. This type of cargo includes wood, paper, unprocessed metals, and steel rolls. To facilitate loading and unloading, these items are typically packaged in crates or racks. Breakbulk cargo can generally be handled easily, and the convenience comes from the smooth transportation of goods with minimal delays.

5. Roll-On Roll-Off (RO-RO)

Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) holds significant importance as one of the essential cargo types. Ro-Ro cargo involves goods that can be loaded and unloaded utilising the rolling principle.

Primarily, Ro-Ro is employed for transporting vehicles of various sizes and types, spanning cars, buses, motorbikes, vans, tractors, trucks, and even larger equipment like diggers and excavators. These ships efficiently transport vehicles worldwide, regardless of their size, ensuring seamless global transportation.

What Is the Most Efficient Way to Transport Cargo?

Making the right choice regarding freight methods can have a profound impact on your business. Mistakes in this decision-making process can put your financial standing at risk. As a result, cargo services must take several factors into account, including cost, urgency, value, size, weight and cargo customs clearance requirements.

Let's explore some popular freight methods.

  1. Ocean Freight: The majority of global trade is carried out by ocean freight. This cost-effective option is for bulk commodities like agri-products, coal, or large-volume cargo such as minerals. With extensive global coverage and eco-friendly methods, it is a perfect option for goods that aren't sensitive to delivery time.

  2. Air Freight: For speed and reliability, air freight stands out, especially for high-value goods and perishables. Air freight courier services are the preferred choice in industries like electronics and retail for 'just-in-time' inventory replenishment.

  3. Rail Freight: For long-distance delivery, rail freight is known for its reliability, efficiency, and low environmental impact. It's the equivalent of over 400 trucks on one train. Recent developments in cross-continental trade routes show promise, reducing transit times significantly.

  4. Road Freight: Widely used for its flexibility and seamless movement across regions, road transport provides quick and scheduled deliveries even in rural areas. However, it's constrained by vehicle size and weather conditions.

  5. Refrigerated cargo 
    As a result of their perishable nature, refrigerated cargo, including packaged and frozen foods, presents a significant challenge. To tackle the short shelf life and heightened risk of decay, specialised vessels known as reefer ships or refrigerated ships are deployed for transporting these perishable food items.


The Verdict

The distinction between the types of freight methods makes it clear that there isn't a universal solution suitable for all situations. The choice between these methods is based on the shipping company's unique needs. When speed is crucial, air freight emerges as the clear preference. On the other hand, if cost is the deciding factor, ocean freight is the preferred option. Each transport modes have distinct advantages and disadvantages, leading customers to select one based on their cargo priorities.


If you require assistance or guidance in making a decision, feel free to reach out to our experts at OCS Dubai. Leveraging six decades of industrial expertise, OCS has perfected its operational processes to ensure efficient courier service delivery. With 250 stations worldwide and a dedicated team working around the clock, OCS ensures swift delivery of your urgent shipments worldwide.

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