Best Transportation Types for Moving Your Goods


Transportation facilities are the backbone of a supply chain, which, in turn, is the backbone of a business. For a business to be efficient and highly profitable, managers need to sort out the most suitable transportation methods. The four primary methods of transportation are truck, ship, train, and planes. These modes are also called road, maritime, rail, and air shipments. All these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your business needs, you must carefully evaluate what works out best for you.

In the modern business environment, fast shipping is not just a luxury but also an expectation and a competitive necessity. This shapes the expectations and satisfaction levels of your end customers. So depending on what your business requires, these are the factors you would have to consider.

Product: The product that needs to be shipped is one of the most important moving pieces of the supply chain. Depending on whether your product is hazardous, fragile, perishable, or faces other challenges, your choice of transportation will be different. The budget also comes into play.

Location: This means the starting point and ending point of the shipment. The factors that are involved in this are-

  • Shipping Origins: Where you and your products are located is necessary. What kind of access you have and where you want to send the product will determine your chosen method.
  • Borders: If you are shipping across state borders or international borders, what are the legalities and norms you need to follow? How much does it cost, which method is suitable to cross the border efficiently, etc., are the questions you'll need to answer.
  • Shipping Destination: The distance between you and your customer and how you bridge that gap most efficiently is something you'll need to consider.
  • Consumer: B2B and B2C businesses will have different customers. Your customer base is a big determining factor. Considering the buying power of your customer, the number of customers, and brand loyalty also come in handy.

Let's take a closer look into the advantages and disadvantages of different means of transport.

Truck Freight – Road Transportation


  1. Fewer Restrictions: Compared to air transport, there are far fewer restrictions for truck transportation. Heavy or hazardous material can be carried with ease. They are also easier to track than other means of transport.
  2. Lesser Cost: This mode of transportation is very cost-friendly as compared to ships or planes. This is because of the associated expenses such as fuel and maintenance.
  3. More Accessible: Most companies can find easy access to major highways, and connectivity is easier because of it. For comparison, not every company might have access to railroads or airports.


  1. Time: Road travel is hectic and takes a lot of time. So if you are looking to provide express delivery quickly, this method might not be your go-to choice.
  2. Control: It is harder to control the factors that can delay shipments in this mode of transportation. Road travel can be impacted by traffic, weather, and other similar factors.

Ship – Marine Transportation


  1. More Space and Weight: This is the biggest reason that maritime transportation is preferred by companies. Ships can carry thousands of tons of weight in cargo. If you deal in gigantic products like cars, this is going to be your choice of transportation.
  2. Costs less than Air Travel: The alternative option is often airplanes, but ships are more cost-efficient since they have lesser fuel costs. They also give you more scheduled shipping, eliminating costly delays.
  3. Safety: Ship transportation is the safest of them all. There is minimal handling, set schedules, and all of it secured in a slow-moving vessel. This gives you lesser chances of mishaps and mishandling.


  1. Speed: Mentioned as an advantage above, the slow speed ensures that the products being shipped are safer and more secure. But this also is a disadvantage. As set and tight as the schedule will be, it will still take a lot of time to fulfill orders.

Train – Railway Transportation


  1. More Carrying Capacity: Trains can handle more weight than trucks can. They are ideal for the longer transportation of heavy loads.
  2. Lesser Chances of Delay: Trains, much like ships, operate on fixed schedules. They have no traffic or weather to worry about, making them highly reliable.
  3. Minimal Environmental Impact: Trains are highly environmentally friendly. Since they require less fuel to operate, trains are safer than planes, trucks, and even ships.


  1. Transit Time: When it comes to speed, trains are slower than planes and trucks. They also require several transfers in the process.
  2. Accessibility: Not everyone has unrestricted access to railways for shipping their cargo. It is also very area-specific. Both the starting and endpoints need to have equal access.

Plane – Air Transportation


  1. Speedy Deliveries: Air travel has to be the fastest means of transportation for both people and cargo. If you are in the business of providing express shipping, this is the way to go.
  2. Enhanced Security: Airplanes are protected by high-quality infrastructure and very trained staff. The speed also contributes to the product's safety since it reaches the customer sooner and has less chance of disturbances.


  1. Cost: Air transportation is costly. It is a premium service and requires more fuel costs than trucks and trains. There are also additional costs like tickets, maintenance, checkpoints, handling fees, etc.
  2. Limitations: Limitations like size, weight, and product restrictions can make it harder for most businesses to make this their primary medium.

These four methods of transportation are the primary means of getting your products to your customers. But in most, if not all businesses, there is an intermodal strategy involved where you must combine these modes based on various locations. After the primary transportation is sorted, you will need secondary transportation for the fulfillment of orders.

If you are looking for primary or secondary transport services, ARK India is the company you are looking for! With exceptional and proven services for Supply Chain Management practices, ARK India is your one-stop solution for all things in the supply chain!