Cargo handling – an important core process in logistics

In logistics, cargo handling is the process by which goods and objects change their means of transport. Logistics employees unload the shipments from one means of transport and load them onto another at the cargo handling centre. This may mean switching from one truck to another or from rail or ship to a truck belonging to a road haulage company. Cargo handling is one of the main logistics processes along with transport and storage. It may be manual, automated or machine-supported. Each cargo handling operation generates costs since it ties up human and machine resources. On the other hand, changing transport modes can make the transport chain more effective overall.

How cargo handling works at main cargo handling centers and halls

Logistics service providers can handle cargo at several points in the transport chain. This is traditionally done at the cargo handling hub, also known as a transshipment node. Logistics service providers, especially those in the groupage market, will establish their own network or join existing ones in order to pool cargo efficiently. They do this by means of regular scheduled services that call at cargo handling centres in the network. Goods are re-sorted and loaded at these sites. This ensures that freed-up cargo space is utilised since other goods can be transported on return trips. Logistics service providers may incorporate very short-term storage at a cargo handling warehouse into the primary cargo handling process. Cargo handling facilities are usually located off-site at dedicated hubs, freight villages, airports, seaports, inland waterway ports, rail yards and container terminals.

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