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Land Shipments: characteristics, and different types

Overland transport
Overland transport

In freight forwarding, choosing the right mode of transportation is a critical component of a successful supply chain. This article by Savino Del Bene examines transportation by land, compares it to other methods, and highlights the advantages. From heightened speed and efficiency to improved security and reliability, we will review the strategic benefits that make transportation by land a preferred choice. In addition, we will explore the flexible and customized options that are available, the various types of trucks and rail systems, and the step-by-step process of overland shipping.


Transportation by land: a general overview


When we talk about transportation by land or more precisely, ground shipments, we are referring to all transportation operations involving roads, highways, railways, and, more generally, land infrastructure. Unlike air freight, which is historically a relatively new method of transportation, shipments by land date back to ancient times.

Air freight is known for speed and sea freight for volume, land transportation strikes a balance between the two, by offering a cost-effective solution for various cargo sizes and distances. Although today it is not as fast as other international shipping services (such as air shipments mentioned earlier), it still remains a valid solution for many businesses.


Land shipments: procedures, advantages and types of transport


The overland shipping procedures involve meticulous planning and execution. From choosing the best route to customs clearance, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and timely journey. Real-time tracking systems and advanced communication technologies also contribute to the overall efficiency and add visibility to the process.


Advantages for businesses that choose to ship by land


Businesses will reap numerous benefits by opting for land transportation. It provides a cost-effective alternative, especially for regional and national shipments. Ground transportation also offers a higher level of control over the shipping process, and allows businesses to quickly adapt to changing market demands.


Types of trucks and trains for land shipments:


Understanding types of trucks and rail systems is essential to optimizing land transportation. From standard freight trucks to specialized refrigerated trucks, companies can choose vehicles tailored to the specific needs of their cargo shipments. Rail systems also offer a range of options, from container trains to intermodal solutions.


Let’s take a closer look at the two different types of ground shipments.


Road transport: what it is, advantages and disadvantages


Road transport represents the most versatile of all the ground shipment solutions.  It provides access to locations that might not be easily reachable through other means of transportation. Consequently, road transportation is often used in a multi-modal approach in conjunction with other options. 


 Advantages of road transport


Shipments made by road offer flexibility and economical results. In addition, this method of transport is available for any type of goods (even dangerous ones), as long as everything is done in full compliance of designated limits. Another advantage is it is by far the most direct form of transport and it uses a more developed infrastructure network than the railway network.  In general, in many regions of the world, the density and extension of roads and highways is greater than those of railway lines.


Different types of road transport


On the topic of trucks: depending on the quantity and type of cargo, the handling of goods on the road can involve various types of vehicles. Let’s review the different types of road transportation:

  • Flatbed transportation: used when the cargo is bulky (equipment, construction machinery, etc.) and requires special handling;
  • Curtain-side trucks: are flatbeds with curtains or side covers that provide easy access to the internal cargo. The curtains are taut and ensure a dry environment to protect the cargo;
  • Temperature-controlled transportation: this includes integrated refrigeration, allowing temperature control throughout the journey (for more information on this topic, please read the specific article in Savino Del Bene’s magazine on the cold chain).


Rail shipments: what they are and what are the advantages


Rail transportation represents one of the important options when it comes to land shipments. Although the first commercial steam railroad dates back to 1825, the land shipping industry has evolved over the years.  Rail networks have expanded across the world, making rail shipping a widely used solution for different businesses and markets. Shipping by rail offers several advantages.



Rail transport


Advantages of rail transport


First and foremost, rail shipments allow for the transportation of very large volumes of goods over long distances. This often results in a reduction of shipping costs, as the same cargo can be moved through fewer shipments. Another significant factor is safety: rail transportation is less prone to accidents and traffic congestion compared to other solutions. It also has a lower environmental impact compared to road transport.




Land shipments, with their advantages and disadvantages, remain a cornerstone of international logistics today. If you are looking for a flexible and tailored integrated land shipping service for your business, the right combination of road and rail transport might be the best solution for you. Contact Savino Del Bene’s experts for a consultation. Our team will be ready to support you and design a shipping program that suits your needs.

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