Land transport may lack the glamour and awesomeness of air and maritime freight, but road freight is the one we turn to when we need the job finished. It’s steady and flexible, safe and pragmatic; it’s the Hufflepuff of intermodal transportation.
Where nature rules over air and ocean-bound freight—the winds and tides are indifferent to even the best-laid plans—the same cannot be said for land transportation. Mankind can pat itself on the back for that one. The planning, construction, and maintenance of complex networks of roads and railways, some hundreds of years old, built to reach even the most remote destinations, is an incredible, ever-evolving achievement spanning generations of trailblazers.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO LAND TRANSPORT
In many supply chains, especially across the EU, land freight is the be-all, end-all mode of transport connecting all of the dots between products and consumers. At the very least, land transport acts as the anchor leg in a supply chain relay race.
- Transportation-related employment was 16% higher in 2017 than in 1990. When employment in some sectors suffered from the advent of automation, the transportation industry was there to pick up the slack.
- In 2015, on-road shipping by truck represented about two-thirds of domestic shipping in the United States. In the same year, more than 18 billion tons of freight valued at more than $19 trillion were moved across all modes of transportation. (About 1/10 of the tonnage by rail, but the value of that freight only represented 4% of total freight value.)
- According to the most recent economic census (2012), the motor carrier transportation mode accounted for about 53% of total transportation costs, more than double that of any other mode of transportation.
Advantages of Land Freight
- Cost-Effectiveness: Comparatively low packing and fuel costs
- Versatility: Able to handle short or long hauls, local or across borders of neighboring countries, even in rural areas
- Preparedness: A single customs document process makes for relatively seamless cross-border transport of goods