Road freight advantages and disadvantages

Posted by Barloworld Logistics on 25 Oct 2021 4:30:00 PM

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Road freight plays a massive role in the global economy, but is it the right option for your business?

Road freight is arguably the most accessible and user-friendly method of transporting goods. That said, depending on your core business needs, you may want to look at the various advantages and disadvantages of this method of transport before making your final decision.

Advantages of road freight

  1. Flexibility

    Road freight is the most flexible solution for the transport of goods. Unlike rail, air freight or sea freight, road freight can accommodate last-minute route or schedule changes.

    This is a notable benefit if your business regularly needs to make changes.

    During the Covid-19 pandemic the ability to put transport on hold, reroute or re-schedule has been immensely helpful to many companies who needed to adapt on short notice.

  2. Access

    With road freight you have almost unlimited access - as long as the vehicle can get to your destination, goods can be delivered. Road freight is not constrained by harbours, rail routes or airline schedules, which means that many companies can deliver directly to the end user.

  3. Brand building

    The above two points - flexibility and access - mean road freight can be used as part of a company’s customer service and brand reputation management.

    If managed correctly, road freight can help your business build a reputation for quick and fantastic service - even in the most remote areas. If you own/lease your own vehicles these can also be branded making your business more visible to the general public.

    There are many innovative ways to ensure your road freight contributes to your brand persona, but it needs to be carefully managed in order to avoid your brand being shown in a poor light (such as poor driving in branded vehicles).

  4. Fleet control

    With the right systems in place, fleet managers can be in complete control of all road freight movements. From driver analytics to real-time route and delivery updates, road freight can be fully managed by a fleet manager.

Disadvantages of road freight

  1. Time is money

    If your goods are travelling long distance or even cross-border, road freight can (depending on the route) take more time than rail or air freight alternatives.

    Delays such as traffic, poor roads and necessary driver breaks can cause delays that add up to more hours. Not only are delays costly, but the overall cost of road freight can be higher than alternatives - but it all depends on distance, goods being transported, scheduling etc. It is, however, worth looking at alternatives if you’re looking to reduce costs over long-distance hauls.

  2. Safety

    If you are transporting valuable goods, road freight might not be the safest option. If you have the type of goods that are high on the ‘hijack’ list, then your drivers and vehicles will be at risk.

    If it’s possible to rather transport these goods via air, it is worth conducting a costing exercise, as this could dramatically lower your company risk.

  3. The edge

    It goes without saying that road freight can only go so far - and then you run out of road! If you are transporting goods to other continents, you will naturally be making use of sea or air freight.

    In that case, it might make sense to transport your local goods in the same way as it might be more cost-effective to use airport/harbour locations en-route rather than splitting your goods for local and international distribution.

Our world-class freight forwarding solutions connect you to a reliable freight network along global trading routes. We are passionate about delivering your goods in the most cost-effective and efficient way.

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