The word ‘logistics’ can be defined as “The management of both inbound and outbound materials, parts, supplies, and finished goods. (Source: Crowley ). Although logistics is much more than just transporting goods from one point to another, the transportation component is an important part of the logistics process. In this section we examine some of the transportation alternatives at your disposal.

In the world of international trade, there are various forms of transportation that you can turn to get your products from South Africa to wherever the product needs to go. These transportation types are the following:

  • Sea freight
  • Air freight
  • Rail freight
  • Road freight
  • River freight

Sea freight and air freight are perhaps the two most common forms of transportation for getting products from South Africa to distant markets in North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Road haulage and rail freight are more common within the local market in order to get products from inland cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bloemfontein to the coast. Of course, road haulage and rail links are important transportation alternatives for exports into Africa. Similarly, road and rail are also likely to be important forms of transportation within the target market (say Australia) in order to get the goods from the incoming port to the final destination (be it a warehouse or factory).

In some countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, as well as in the US, river transportation fulfills a similar role to road and rail transportation in getting the product to the final customer.

To learn more about these different forms of transportation, please follow the links below. You may also want to read up more about containerisation – click here.