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Cargo in Motion: Navigating the Intricacies of Transloading Services

Published on
April 9, 2024
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Technology and need have morphed transloading services into an essential and ever-growing part of the supply chain.

The benefits are easy to see: It opens new markets for producers, vendors, and retailers while reducing reliance on over-the-road trucking, allowing freight to be split for easier door-to-door delivery, and also reducing fuel costs, emissions, traffic congestion, and idle time.

Done right, transloading services are simply a boon process that becomes more revolutionary with each technological advancement.

However, with so many moving parts, maneuvering the muddled waters of transloading logistics is no easy task.

Transloading is moving freight short distances from one mode of transfer to another, and it can happen several times before the end delivery point. Unlike intermodal shipping, transloading services are designed to move cargo from containers to different conveyances. It allows for more freight from multiple customers to be shipped in the same container, increasing international trade.

With great reward comes greater risk: The more freight is touched, the more complex shipping becomes and the more errors can be introduced. It takes essential planning, real-time tracking, and communication to avoid loss caused by theft, damage, and delays. It also takes an extreme understanding of transloading contracts to avoid excess fees and penalties.

The Transloading Ecosystem: Players and Processes

Because of the complexity of connecting so many moving parts, companies shipping various amounts of cargo will use logistics companies that have an expertise in transloading services.

By keeping all shipment transitions under one umbrella, bottlenecks can be avoided, freight is easier to track, and contract hassles can be avoided. The latter is imperative, as transloading facilities will vary fees based on transportation mode and how a shipment needs to be handled.

Some of the problems transloading service companies deal with:

  • Avoiding demurrage and accessorial fees. Demurrage charges are incurred when cargo is detained beyond a specified free time for loading and unloading. Accessorial charges can occur for a multitude of reasons, including when a shipment is diverted in transit, ordering a railcar and releasing it empty, improper handoffs when tendering one railroad’s car to another, or releasing a railcar with incomplete or incorrect shipping instructions.
  • Mother Nature disasters: Fires, earthquakes, blizzards, floods – acts of God are never scheduled, but transloading services include making sure customers are covered for the unexpected and that they know what they will and won’t be charged for in case of unforeseen delays and emergencies.
  • Railcar switches: If your freight needs to switch tracks, more fees can occur.

Fees and charges can add up quickly. Transloading logistics companies can reduce or eliminate many fees and charges with proper planning and real-time tracking.

Technological Innovations and Solutions

As the supply chain becomes more dependent on technology, companies continue to look for new advantages it can offer. In January, more than 40,000 people attended the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York City to learn about the latest innovations in the transportation industry. The NRF featured several new advances for transloading services, such as how to better utilize cloud technology, as well as how to use artificial intelligence information and analytics to measure route and delivery effectiveness.

Another popular trade show, ProMat 2023, took place in April of last year. It gave thousands of attendees a glimpse of how automated trailer loading and unloading systems can decrease the need for manual labor, reduce freight costs, increase storage efficiency, and improve safety.

Several ProMat 2023 exhibitors showcased game-changing technologies. For example, Infor Nexus, a cloud technology company, shared an application that can analyze the impact of disruptions in the supply chain, such as the ongoing attacks on freighters in the Red Sea. The data helps shippers make cost-effective changes. It also allows customers to capture all pertinent supplier information from containers for customs.

Strategic Considerations for Effective Transloading

The demand for transloading services is continuing to grow, as evidenced by more ports adding more tracks and transloading facilities. One railcar can hold up to four truckloads of cargo, and rail also significantly reduces fuel costs and cuts down on emissions, as well as the reliance on over-the-road trucking. With supply chain companies focusing more on going green and reducing their carbon footprint, the need for rail and transloading services continues to increase.

As far as transloading facilities, location is always key. To be effective, it has to be strategically located near a port or railroad or provide easy-access locations near an interstate. Hence, when freight is moved by crane, pump, forklift, or front loader, it is only moved short distances to the next conveyance. Automation and real-time tracking — technology – play a major role in reducing the risk of lost or stolen cargo and avoiding excess fees and demurrage penalties.

VCPB Transportation: Your Transloading Services Expert

The more technology shapes the transloading industry, the bigger the need for logistics companies that specialize in transloading services.

At VCPB Transportation, we understand the unique challenges of international trade when it comes to transloading goods. That’s why we offer comprehensive transloading solutions, ensuring your goods are transferred seamlessly from one mode of transportation to the next. We offer:

  • Streamlined and coordinated transloading services for international trade.
  • Expert support for hassle-free transloading logistics and compliance.
  • Real-time tracking for complete transparency.
  • Cost-effective solutions tailored to your shipping requirements.

Contact VCPB today to learn more.

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