What is a Cargo Transport?

Mary McMahon

Cargo transport is a form of transport which is designed to move goods from one location to another. Also known as freight transport, cargo transport is typically used to move products which are intended for commercial sale, although things like mail may also be treated as cargo for transport purposes. There are a number of different kinds of cargo transport available to both individuals and companies, ranging from a package delivery service used to move products from companies to end consumers to a shipping service which carries entire containers of products from one port to another.

Train transport is a common mode of shipping goods within the confines of a continent or nation.
Train transport is a common mode of shipping goods within the confines of a continent or nation.

Humans have been moving cargo from location to location for thousands of years, via an assortment of means. The ability to move commercial products between locations facilitates trade between communities and nations, as products which can be used by one community are shipped out of the location where they are produced and to a site where they are needed. Cargo can include everything from spices to cars intended for end consumers, along with basic components which will be shipped to manufacturers for the purpose of assembling products.

Container ships dock at intermodal terminals to offload their cargo.
Container ships dock at intermodal terminals to offload their cargo.

Cargo transport can take place by land, air, or sea. Air transport tends to be the most rapid, and may be used for products which need to be moved in a hurry. It is also the most expensive, as maintaining and flying cargo planes can be quite costly. Land transport is used to move products around within the confines of a continent or nation, with cargo traveling by train or truck, while sea transport is used to move cargo across the ocean. Cargo may also be moved between different ports on the same continent by sea, as this may be cheaper or more convenient than transporting those goods by land.

Cargo is frequently transported by semi trucks across the country.
Cargo is frequently transported by semi trucks across the country.

Freight companies which offer cargo transportation services may work exclusively with companies, or they may extend services to individuals. The volume, weight, and nature of the product being shipped are all factors which can impact the cost of cargo transport. For example, perishable goods are more expensive to ship because they require climate control and they must be moved quickly. Companies may get a discount for filling an entire shipping container with items, or for working with another company to generate a containerload of products. Products which need to be handled by hand or with special care, such as works of fine art, will also involve additional fees.

Cargo transport can include shipping perishable goods, but can be costly.
Cargo transport can include shipping perishable goods, but can be costly.
Intermodal containers may be loaded on to cargo ships, trains, trucks, or aircraft.
Intermodal containers may be loaded on to cargo ships, trains, trucks, or aircraft.
Transporting good by ship may be less expensive than transporting them over land.
Transporting good by ship may be less expensive than transporting them over land.

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Discussion Comments

Esther11

It's amazing how much stuff is moved around the country by truck, train, airplane, and ship. We consumers want to buy items and we want them now. This happens, not just within our country, but internationally also.

The price of shipping is going up rapidly. When I buy something on the internet, the shipping charge is often $10 - $12. I can just imagine what shipments of freight train cars or truckloads must cost. But we, the consumers, are the ones who pay for this.

It's no wonder the products we buy are so expensive!

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