How Safe is Your Freight?

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, April 30, 2015

Safety is a big issue for logistics companies. The goods you transport from A to B have to remain safe to keep both insurance premiums low and clients satisfied. But what mode of transport is safest?

Piracy and theft are often the most common aspect of danger for goods in transit. Certain shipping routes, particularly those that pass close to countries such as Somalia, are notorious for pirate attacks. Thieves are becoming both smarter and more aggressive in their tactics and this can be seen especially on road transport. Freight at rest is at its highest risk point – this is far more frequent on the road than by sea, rail or air. Similarly freight that makes transfer from one form of transport to another more frequently is also at more risk. Thieves have greater opportunity to intercept goods.

Often airfreight is considered one of the safest methods with regards to both speed and efficiency and the amount of security checks that goods have to go through. The risk of a plane crash is incredibly minimal and it’s unlikely the cargo will be damaged midflight. Airfreight, although less likely to be at rest over such large distances, often requires several vehicle transfers. Sometimes compromises have to be made.

Danger to goods can often come from either the transport itself or the environment. Some routes for freight are unavoidably dangerous and the choice of transport may be limited; ice roads and arctic routes in particular face incredible danger from the elements. Ocean freight in particular is unreliable due to so much dependence on the environment. Weather and ocean currents could mean that cargos can be delayed in their delivery. While missing a flight could mean just a delay of an hour, missing the cutoff at a port could mean delays of up to a week. 

The safety of the freight itself isn’t the only thing that needs to be considered. The safety of the environment is also increasingly important. The CO2 emissions from ocean freight is significantly smaller than by air, but oil spills and other factors of ocean freight frequently damage water ecosystems. Via land, transport through rail links is much better for the environment than by road. Thanks to less traffic congestion, a gallon of fuel will move a tonne of goods 246 miles by rail, but only 88 by road. This is a massive difference.

Safety isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered however. In order to ensure that goods reach their destination in reasonable time and that budgets aren’t exceeded, often calculated compromises have to be made. It’s up to you to make the decision what mode of freight is best for you.

Posted in categories: Health and Safety, Shipping, Trucks
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