Companies that provide the physical means of transporting goods are known as carriers, and their role is of extreme importance in any supply chain. These companies purchase (or hire) and manage the trucks, locomotives, ships, and aircraft, including wagons and container transport units that move goods around the world.
Carriers provide a variety of transport services to meet the needs of shippers, with each customer having a specific need. They plan the routes and classify the range of shippers requirements in terms of differentiated products, destinations and type of equipment to satisfy the needs of the shippers. The type of transport vehicles which carriers provide reflects the varied needs of importers and exporters.
Freight forwarders as architects of transport constantly liaise with carriers to get the best form of transport for their principals. It is, therefore, essentials that freight forwarders understand how the carriers operate and among other things arrive at their charges for transportation. The freight forwarder must seek ways of getting the best transport rates for their clients. It is also more important for carriers and forwarders to have collaborative and partnership relationship, rather than an adversarial one, to make transportation of goods more efficient. Collaboration enables more effective coordination and control in the flow of goods between origin and destination.
Carriers decide, for example, which ship will call at which ports and on which dates. The key function of transportation is to bridge the geographical gap between production and consumption, thereby providing socioeconomic benefits and to enable international trade to thrive. Although some governments provide means of transportation for their citizens, this is usually not common for freight transportation. Even some carriers, on their own, do not own the physical equipment for carrying goods, but as was mentioned earlier, hire from owners who have invested in such equipment.
Carriers involved in international transportation of goods can be found in three major sectors, and they sometimes operate in all sectors. These are:
. Air and sea transportation between regions and continents which cover deep-sea shipping and airfreight.
. Sea transportation between short distances within countries in some regions.
. Inland transportation within countries and between countries having surface transport links.
There are two types of carriers, namely: Common carriers and Private carriers
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