The benefits of cartage over short distances
Cartage (or drayage) has always been an important service in logistics. Deliveries from seaports, border points, intermodal terminals and inland ports that are headed within the same urban area simply can’t be completed with any transportation system other than road. And while road cartage hasn’t been without criticism, it’s remained a reliable way,throughout the changes in logistics over the last decades,for business owners to transport their goods over short distances.
There have always been challenges associated with cartage, mostly in regarding the operating costs in labour and fuel prices. But with changes in Australia’s economic patterns and social focus on environmental sustainability, short-distance cartage has stepped up to the plate, adapting and evolving into a service that has turned what was previously considered its shortcomings into its long-term benefits.
There’s no other way to look at it: cartage is the safest way to move important and fragile goods within the same metropolitan area. Because road transport vehicles are loading and unloading only at pick up and drop off points—there is no intermediate loading and handling, because there’s no switch to a different transport mode or route—the goods are subject to the minimum amount of handling, which is where they’re most likely to be damaged. There’s also no need to rely on notoriously careless postal services or poorly trained company drivers.
Cartage experts make their living by being the best at what they do, and their experience base is broader and more diverse in terms of the types and volumes of freight that they handle.
But besides the skill and expertise that road transport professionals have in handling and distributing goods, there’s another safety benefit of cartage: road transport companies are properly insured, which means business owners can rest well knowing that they’d be covered in the event that something did actually go wrong.
One of the most impressive changes in the logistics industry over recent years is the reduction in delivery lead times. Road transport professionals have notably increased their speed, not just in the actual transport process, but in managing orders and handling the goods at each end. And because of improvements in communication and tracking technology, logistics professionals are now more adept than ever in smoothing the distribution process: they’re able to foresee and manage challenges and obstacles before they’re encountered by the drivers, pre-emptively clearing pathways to ensure that their deliveries are always on time.
Because road cartage is a direct service, there are also no delays in switching between transport modes like rail or sea. There are no lost hours or days in unloading and reloading freight, and the vast majority of short-distance cartage deliveries will be completed within a single shift.
It’s more flexible
Road transport is the backbone of the logistic industry in Australia. Simply put, every movement of every consignment ultimately begins and ends with the road. And it’s because of this long history and deep experience in feeding other modes of transport across rail, sea, and air that road transport is so flexible in managing deliveries even over short distances.
Road cartage professionals have a great advantage in skill when it comes to flexible service. Routes and timings aren’t set in stone; there’s always another way to go to overcome an issue, and it’s not usually a major inconvenience to change a schedule to suit the requirements of individual business owners or receivers. This flexibility is also a hallmark of the best customer service—which is why, even in hard economic times and skyrocketing fuel prices, business owners continue to rely on road cartage.
In virtually every case, what the service costs the business initially is outweighed by what it saves them in time and efficiency.
It’s more sustainable
For the business owner using the road cartage services of a good third party logistics provider, it might seem like they’ve got their own private courier service at their disposal. Their pickups and deliveries are seamlessly managed and completed on schedule, in a system that appears less complicated and bureaucratic than relying on in-house transport services. But what’s actually going on in the 3PL’s cartage process is a lot more sophisticated, and a lot more sustainable.
In recent times, changes to the way 3PLs execute short-distance cartage is much more environmentally sound than it used to be. Collating consignments from multiple senders in a carefully planned way has meant that logistics professionals are able to reduce their carbon footprint by making each trip more efficient, and reducing the number of trips they’re making at any given time. This is possible through the advanced technology 3PLs now have access to, which allows them to manage mixed deliveries safely and efficiently through barcoded systems, and better plan how they manage each consignment. In essence, short-distance cartage is using less manpower, fewer resources, and less fuel, while delivering faster and more accurate service than ever before.
Cartage costs less than many other modes of transport, which are sometimes slow and unreliable in many metropolitan areas. Most of the savings are in the packing costs, and are simply because there are fewer loading and handling charges in door-to-door services.
Good 3PLs also manage their cartage the same way they manage deliveries over longer distances—by maximising the number of consignments they’re transporting in one go. And they’re getting a lot better at it: experienced transport companies can now achieve more for every dollar than business owners could with their own transport services. In most cases, the staff that manage company delivery systems simply don’t have the skill and industry expertise to make it a worthwhile expense for the business: they’re not experienced in handling freight, and there’s no way they can match the speed and cost efficiency that a good 3PL can deliver.
Some business owners will even find it easier to communicate with a third party road cartage company than to deal with their in-house transport services, saving valuable operating hours.
G&D Partners are specialists in road cartage, even over short distances within the same urban area. We’re proud to provide the highest standards in customer service while we deliver Queensland’s fastest, most affordable, and most efficient road transport, so contact us anytime for more information on how we can streamline your business’s operations with sustainable cartage services.