Last mile in the transport chain
In logistics, on-carriage refers to the last leg in the supply chain. This is where the freight from the main run is delivered to the consignees. It can be easily illustrated with groupage: In pre-carriage, freight forwarders transport goods from various shippers to a logistics hub, where the shipments are transferred to other means of transport. They are then transported to the receiving carrier in the main run. This carrier then transports the shipments to the consignees in the on-carriage leg. Cartage charges are the transport costs incurred during pre-carriage and on-carriage.
In ideal circumstances, the carrier will provide notification of the shipment before delivering it to the consignee. In combined transport, shipments change modes at least once in the supply chain. Trucks are generally the preferred means of transport for on-carriage since they offer greater delivery flexibility. In rare cases, on-carriage is done by rail or ship since the consignee has to have access to the rail or waterway network.
Planning the on-carriage
Careful planning is particularly important in on-carriage, especially for groupage and general cargo shipments. Once the consignees have been notified and a time slot has been booked for delivery, the route will have to be mapped out in such a way that the recipients are serviced in the best possible order. The vehicle has to be specially loaded to ensure fast delivery. Delays in the main run also have to be taken into account. It is much easier to plan FTL shipments because there is only one recipient.
On-carriage in e-commerce
The last mile has changed dramatically with the e-commerce boom. There are now even more recipients in on-carriage with smaller deliveries that need to be dropped off right at the doorstep. This highlights the need for efficient planning and notification to minimise delays. Various attempts are underway to make the last mile more efficient with drones or robots, especially in cities.