Understanding the Transport Industry – Different Types of Loads

Haulage is a deceptively simply term for what can be a complex industry that transports a diverse variety of loads. Studies have shown that trucks are reliable, fast and still carry the most weight and volume over the greatest distances, with more than 60 percent of cargo still moved by road. Freight still encompasses a large aspect of the transportation industry.

Cargo can vary greatly and determine the type of truck used, level of security and even the distances travelled. Owner or hire and reward companies often specialise in one, two or even three types of transport, as this can affect the type of truck used. Specialities are also common, with some firms focusing on a certain type of transport, such as dangerous waste removal.

First off, there are two types of shipping in general:

Containers/Bulk Cargo - usually large containers hauled by trucks that can easily be transferred on to large freighters for over sea transport. These normally contain bulk cargo loads – cargo that does not need to be shipped or loaded individually. Containers are often easier to ship simply because they can be transported in large amounts. Bulk cargo is often cheaper to ship, with more firms giving discounts or bulk prices for certain goods.

Break Bulk Cargo – Break bulk cargo refers to cargo that cannot be shipped in bulk and has to be packed or handled individually – such as baled goods, casks or barrels. Break bulk cargo can sometimes need more manpower. Some types of goods require specialised handling, strapping or a specialised truck. Raw food or meat produce, for example, needs to be transported in specialty refrigerated trucks called “reefers”.

Beyond the generic categories, haulage can be broken up into other categories defined by the items shipped.

Agricultural and Produce - This can vary between the shipping of produce, animal products and livestock.

Delivery – Firms who specialise in delivery to residential areas or businesses.

Distribution – Large scale distribution of different product loads to retailers around the UK, such as produce, books, commercial goods and more.

Dry Bulk Shipping - Often shipped in containers, these consist of bulk items like dry grain, minerals, oil and plastics. This can involve raw or finished materials used in other industries.

Specialty Shipping - Delivery and specialty shipping that is usually owner-based or in-house services and products to residential or business areas.

Hazardous – Firms who specialise in transporting hazardous or dangerous chemicals over land, which often means strict adherence to protocols.

Waste - Haulage that involves hazardous or dangerous by-products or waste loads that often involves sealing, special equipment and more.

These are but a few examples of what can be moved over land. Firms also specialise in road haulage, return loads, freight tenders and more. Firms can also serve only certain types of retailers or industries, such as manufacturers or wholesalers. Others distinguish themselves through speed of delivery or extraordinary safety measures.