Before we discuss “why” let’s focus on the “what”. Transloading is the process of transferring goods from one mode of transport to another. A ship delivering palletized goods in 40ft containers might transfer those goods at port of entry into 53 ft containers for onward shipment via road or rail. Or frac sand might be transloaded from rail to truck for the “last mile” delivery to the drilling sites.
Transloading can significantly reduce supply chain costs and increase flexibility for shippers.
Supply Chain Cost Reduction
Transportation is a major component of any supply chain and transloading can reduce transportation costs significantly. One method of cost reduction in North America is using rail for long haul transport and road for “the last mile”.
According to CSX a train can move a ton of freight 469 miles on a gallon of fuel but a truck can only move a ton of freight 134 miles on a gallon of fuel. A train is thus nearly 4 times more fuel efficient than a truck and more environmentally friendly in the process. I know a few truck drivers who would give up their first born son for that kind of fuel efficiency!
The eventual destination of the rail shipment is a transload facility where the goods are transloaded from rail to truck. Even factoring in transloading costs the shipment from origin to customer is considerably more cost efficient than using trucks for the whole distance.
Transloading facilities can add supply chain functionality enabling shippers to manage inventory closer to demand. Shippers can warehouse their goods at a transloading facility and reload to trucks for Just in Time (JIT) deliveries to customers.
Bulk deliveries can be blended, packaged or palletized at transloading centers for distribution to multiple customers.
Deconsolidation of multiple inbound shipments can be combined into multiple outbound shipments to end customers.
This type of flexibility provides enormous value to shippers. Transloaders with their finger on the pulse are starting to offer services traditionally only offered by distribution centers.
Transloading – the Opportunity
In a literal sense transloading is as described in the opening paragraph, the process of transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another.
However, with today’s lengthening and global supply chains, transloading is an opportunity for shippers to gain not only economies of scale, but valuable new supply chain functionality and flexibility.
NMT is available to serve forward thinking shippers with traditional transloading capabilities plus value added warehousing and deconsolidation services.