In economics, cargo or freight are goods or produce being conveyed – generally for Commerce gain – by water, air or land. Cargo was originally a shipload. Cargo now covers all types of freight, including that carried by train, van, truck, or intermodal container. The term cargo is also used in case of goods in the cold chain, because the perishable inventory is always in transit towards a final end-use, even when it is held in refrigeration or other similar climate-controlled facility.
Multi-modal container units, designed as reusable carriers to facilitate unit load handling of the goods contained, are also referred to as cargo, specially by shipping lines and logistics operators. Similarly, aircraft ULD boxes are also documented as cargo, with associated packing list of the items contained within. When empty containers are shipped each unit is documented as a cargo and when goods are stored within, the contents are termed as containerised cargo.
Air cargo, commonly known as air freight, is collected by firms from shippers and delivered to customers. Aircraft were first used for carrying Airmail in 1911. Eventually manufacturers started designing aircraft for other types of freight as well.
There are many commercial aircraft suitable for carrying cargo such as the Boeing 747 and the bigger An‑124, which was purposely built for easy conversion into a cargo aircraft. Such large aircraft employ quick-loading containers known as unit load devices (ULDs), much like containerized cargo ships. The ULDs are located in the front section of the aircraft.
Most nations own and utilize large numbers of military cargo aircraft such as the C‑17 Globemaster III for logistical needs.
Popular commercial aircraft transformed to a cargo aircraft such as Saab 340A is designed for high revenue and profitability in short / medium haul operations.
The main disadvantage of rail freight is its lack of flexibility. For this reason, rail has lost much of the freight business to road transport. Rail freight is often subject to transshipment costs, since it must be transferred from one mode of transportation to another. Practices such as containerization aim at minimizing these costs. When transporting point-to-point bulk loads such as cement or grain, with specialised bulk handling facilities at the rail sidings, rail mode of transport remains the most convenient and preferred option.
Many governments are currently trying to encourage shippers to use trains more often because of the environmental benefits.
A good example of road cargo is food, as require deliveries daily to replenish their shelves with goods. Retailers and manufacturers of all kinds rely upon , be they full size semi trucks or smaller . These smaller road haulage companies constantly strive for the best routes and prices to ship out their products. Indeed, the level of commercial freight transported by smaller businesses is often a good barometer of healthy economic development as it is these types of vehicles that move and transport literally anything, including couriers transporting parcel and mail. You can see the different types and weights of vehicles that are used to move cargo around.
LTL shipments range from , being less than the majority of times. The average single piece of LTL freight is and the size of a standard pallet. Long freight and/or large freight are subject to extreme length and cubic capacity surcharges.
Trailers used in LTL can range from . The standard for city deliveries is usually . In tight and residential environments the trailer is used the most.
The shipments are usually palletized, stretch shrink-wrapped and packaged for a mixed-freight environment. Unlike express or parcel, LTL shippers must provide their own packaging, as carriers do not provide any packaging supplies or assistance. However, circumstances may require crating or other substantial packaging.
By the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula the total weight of a loaded truck (tractor and trailer, 5-axle rig) cannot exceed 80000 lbs in the United States. In ordinary circumstances, long-haul equipment will weigh about , leaving about of freight capacity. Similarly a load is limited to the space available in the trailer, normally or long, wide, high and high over all.
While express, parcel and LTL shipments are always intermingled with other shipments on a single piece of equipment and are typically reloaded across multiple pieces of equipment during their transport, TL shipments usually travel as the only shipment on a trailer. In fact, TL shipments usually deliver on exactly the same trailer as they are picked up on.
Truckload (TL) carriers usually charge a rate per kilometre or mile. The rate varies depending on the distance, geographic location of the delivery, items being shipped, equipment type required, and service times required. TL shipments usually receive a variety of surcharges very similar to those described for LTL shipments above. In the TL market, there are thousands more small carriers than in the LTL market. Therefore, the use of transportation intermediaries or brokers is extremely common.
Another cost-saving method is facilitating pickups or deliveries at the carrier’s terminals. By doing this, shippers avoid any accessorial fees that might normally be charged for liftgate, residential pickup/delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or notifications/appointments. Carriers or intermediaries can provide shippers with the address and phone number for the closest shipping terminal to the origin and/or destination.
Shipping experts optimize their service and costs by sampling rates from several carriers, brokers and online marketplaces. When obtaining rates from different providers, shippers may find a wide range in the pricing offered. If a shipper in the United States uses a broker, freight forwarder or other transportation intermediary, it is common for the shipper to receive a copy of the carrier's Federal Operating Authority. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Freight brokers and intermediaries are also required by Federal Law to be licensed by the Federal Highway Administration. Experienced shippers avoid unlicensed brokers and forwarders because if brokers are working outside the law by not having a Federal Operating License, the shipper has no protection in the event of a problem. Also, shippers normally ask for a copy of the broker's insurance certificate and any specific insurance that applies to the shipment.
The United States has been one of the leaders in securing cargo. They see cargo as a concern to national security. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the security of this magnitude of cargo has become highlighted on the over 6 million cargo containers enter the United States ports each year. Murray Unveils First-in-the-Nation Port Security Demonstration The latest US Government response to this threat is the . CSI is a program intended to help increase security for containerised cargo shipped to the United States from around the world. CSI: Container Security Initiative Europe is also focusing on this issue, with a number of EU-funded projects underway.
Practical advise on stabilization is given in the International Guidelines on Safe Load Securing for Road Transport. International Guidelines on Safe Load Securing for Road Transport