Main run: in the middle of the transport chain
The main run is the middle section of the transport chain and takes place between pre-carriage and on-carriage. This breakdown of the logistics chain is used in combined transport and groupage. This is mainly done for economic reasons, which can be illustrated using parcel shipping: A shipper from Hamburg would like to send a parcel to Munich (pre-carriage). It would make no economic sense to send a vehicle carrying this parcel and nothing else. That is why all the parcels sent out of Hamburg are first collected at a hub. All the parcels headed to the same postcode area as the Munich distribution centre are consolidated and then transported to the distribution centre by a long-haul truck (main run). Once they arrive in Munich, the shipments are assigned to smaller territories and delivered by local transport vehicles (post-carriage). This process is not used in point-to-point transports because that kind of cargo does not change the means of transport.
Transport chain in groupage shipments
In groupage shipments, the shippers' individual consignments are transported by freight forwarders to a freight village in the pre-carriage leg. This is where the main run begins: The goods are transferred to another means of transport, temporarily stored and prepared for the next leg. The consolidated load is then transported – usually by truck – to the receiving forwarder's logistics hub. The cargo is transferred to another means of transport, temporarily stored and prepared for the next leg. The individual shipments are then delivered to their consignees in the on-carriage leg.
Main run in combined transport
Cargo is not transferred between vehicles in the main run in combined transport. Cargo is carried to a source terminal, usually on trucks, by shipping forwarders in the pre-carriage stage. The main run is then handled by ships or trains since these modes of transport can carry a large quantity over a long distance. This is the longest part of the transport chain. At the destination terminal, the cargo is unloaded from the train or ship and transported to the consignee. Since most consignees do not have a rail or port connection, this on-carriage stage is usually done by truck. A long main leg by ship or train protects the environment, reduces road congestion and transports more unit loads on a single mode of transport.