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What Is the Transportation Industry?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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The transportation industry is a global industry that meets the need for moving cargo, passengers, and information as efficiently as possible. Ground, sea, air, and space are all used by the transportation industry to get things where they need to go. Numerous multinational companies play some role in this industry, whether they maintain infrastructure, build equipment, or supply personnel. This industry is usually in a steady state of growth except in very poor economic conditions.

In terms of cargo, the transportation industry handles a variety of goods and supplies numerous services to consumers and customers. Cargo can be carried by ship, plane, pipeline, or truck, and in the case of small orders may be split for carrying by car and other smaller conveyances. Concerns with cargo transportation include the ability to secure supplies, deliver loads accurately, and cut down on transport time. Fees for cargo transport, storage, and delivery can vary. Some products need more protection and careful handling and are thus more expensive.

Passengers move on buses, aircraft, boats, and smaller vehicles like cars. The passenger transportation industry includes a number of commercial airlines, train companies, and bus services as well as the companies that service them. Manufacturers of products for the transport industry work to supply the necessary equipment, while people like information technology professionals develop the infrastructure to support it. Airlines, for example, rely heavily on automated real-time systems to update bookings and manage flights.

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Information technology is a key part of the transportation industry. Many companies use computer systems to handle information and must be able to transmit information reliably and securely between destinations. This is one part of the larger logistics industry that supports transportation professionals. Without the ability to transmit, control, and secure information, many companies would be unable to offer the services their customers expect, from package tracking to secure ordering. Logistics also includes the development of packaging, inventory control systems, and related products and services.

In many nations, professional organizations represent the industry. They work with legislators and other policymakers to establish a favorable business climate and address concerns like the threat of terrorism at ports. These organizations also engage in publicity campaigns and public outreach to make members of the general public aware of the services offered by the transportation industry. They can also set and enforce standards and assist their member companies with issues like litigation and regulatory compliance.

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