Logistics companies plan, implement, and control the movement of goods and services through a supply chain from point of origin to final delivery. The logistics supply chain includes shipping, transportation, receiving, storage, and management.
In 2018, the global logistics company market was worth 5.5 trillion Euros, with an optimistic outlook. From 2016 to 2022, the industry is expected to generate approximately $12,256 billion USD.
Choosing the right logistics company or logistics service is now easier than ever with various North American companies offering domestic and cross border services.
Types of Logistics Services
- Domestic Logistics Services – Domestic logistics services include less than truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) door-to-door services.
Less than Truckload (LTL) – LTL is perfect for smaller loads or quantities of freight and is offered by many shipping companies. Although the initial shipping cost may be slightly higher and the shipping time slightly longer, it allows one to maintain a consistent supply of merchandise, mitigating the loss of revenue from lack of inventory. It is also cheaper than hiring an entire container or truck for a small load.
Full Truckload (FTL)– FTL means that the truck or container simply carries one dedicated shipment. FTL is often cheaper, quicker, and less constrained by size and weight restrictions than LTL. Best of all, no additional stops are made along the way. There is also less handling and transferring of product, ensuring safety against loss or damage.
- North American Logistics Services – North American logistics services include cross border less than truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) services. They also include domestic Canadian or domestic US point-to-point services as well.
- International Air and Ocean Logistics Services – International logistics services include both ocean and air freight options.
Most services include standardized pallet pricing, complete door-to-door service, electronic billing, and cargo insurance. They also minimize border and customs clearance issues. In addition, many companies also offer a complimentary analysis of logistical needs and costs, as well as providing an action plan.
Logistics Services by Mode of Transport
Logistics services can also be broken down by mode of transport, including air, sea/waterway, rail, and road.
- Air Transport– Advantages of air transport include efficient, regular, and quick service. However, it also includes a risk of damage to goods.
- Sea/Waterway Transport– Advantages of sea transport include cost effectiveness, ability to carry a great deal of goods, with low risk capacity. Disadvantages include performance affected by weather and seasons and limited area of use.
- Rail Transport –Advantages of rail transport are faster speed than road transport, economic benefits, and being the most dependable and safest means of travel. Disadvantages include less suitability for hilly terrain and inflexible timetable.
- Road Transport– Advantages of road transport include flexibility of travel in even remote areas, an ideal environment for perishable products, and low capital investment. Disadvantages include a slower pace compared to rail transport and occasional accidents and breakdowns.
- Intermodal Transport–The advantages of intermodal transport include reducing long-haul driver capacity requirements. Disadvantages include congestion and long queue times.
Shipping Container Types
Logistics services companies often use a variety of shipping container types. Standard containers are often available in 20ft and 40ft varieties.
Additionally, logistics companies may offer a choice of dry containers, which are most commonly used and for a variety of goods. They are available in 10, 20, and 40ft varieties. Flat rack shipping containers are best used for construction equipment and oversized items. Open top containers are great for over height cargo, while tunnel-shipping containers have openings on both sides. Side open shipping containers open on the sides to meet specific loading and unloading needs. Finally, refrigerated ISO containers (reefer) and insulated containers are perfect for temperature sensitive cargo.
Choosing a Logistics Company
Choosing a logistics company is now easier than ever. Firstly, one should consider the company’s area of expertise, especially those who outsource to 3PL firms. These third parties should be focused on one particular area, such as a geographical area or transport mode.
Secondly, consider the company’s reliability. Do not hesitate to consult review websites, such as Yelp, as well as relying on word of mouth recommendations from coworkers and industry professionals.
Thirdly, consider the scalability of the logistics company. Will they be able to grow with one’s business as it grows and changes?
Fourthly, consider the company’s business stability and longevity. Companies who have been in the industry for a very long time have a proven track record and the expertise to deal with any problems that may arise.
Fifthly, consider a company’s customer service skills and ability to meet one’s needs.
Finally, consider price and budget. Keep in mind that a lower than average price may mean less experience, lower quality of service, and lower reliability.
Various logistics companies and logistics services are available all over North America, focusing on both domestic and international destinations.