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Transloading it is an operation of moving shipped goods from one type of transport to different one.

It is most often used when we cannot transport our shipment all way using only one conveyance (for instance when we want to transport goods from country to middle island we need to use for example ship and train. Transloading process takes place at the moment when we move the shipment from ship to train (in our example)). Transloading is also needed while transporting railroad break-of-gauge points- this is because lines are not compatible.

Transloading requires reloading of the shipment. As a result, the risk of damage increase. To minimalise damages transloading facilities are constructed in such a way to minimize handling.

Differences between transloading and transshipment

People sometimes confuse transloading and transshipment. We should use transloading while we want to talk about changing mechanics of transport, while transhipment is basically a legal term referring to the origin and destination of a shipment, but without change a mean of transport.

Let's imagine container transport. We can load it on the truck, but in port, we need to change the means of transport and by the huge cranes transfer them to the ship (container ship)- this is an example of transloading. Conversely, while we can transport our shipment by truck to an intermediate point, and next to its destination without leaving the truck we are dealing with transshipment.

In the past these worlds were not well explained so they were used interchangeably.

Typical transloading places and facilities

Transhipment can take place anywhere. Choose of place depends on transport type and sort of transported goods. While handling goods from truck to track we can do almost everywhere, in some cases (for example when we transport specific materials as grain) we need to use special elevators and facilities to transfer this between used means of transport.

During transportation are using different storage items like containers, coal piers, barrels, crates and bags. The choice of packaging depends on the physicochemical properties of transported goods. We must pay attention to choose the property package to make transportation easy and safe.

While we carrier huge bulk ships and the port is too small to serve us, we can use special transhipment platforms located on the sea, barges, different ships, or if we need to lift heavy loads we can use floating cranes.

Benefits of using transloading

Using various means of transport during the shipment of goods we can achieve lots of benefits. Below are the main advantages:

  • reduction of transport costs,
  • shorter transport time,
  • minimalizing possibility of damage,
  • improving the quality of services,
  • the possibility of transporting larger batches,
  • increased frequency of loading occasions,
  • increasing transport range,
  • greater flexibility.

Nowadays in many situations it is impossible to use only one mean of transport. It causes big restrictions on our possibilities and generates higher cost. What's more delays are more commonly.

Intermodal transport

"The specificity of the intermodal transport allows different transport modes to be combined, which increases transport efficiency and reduces its external costs." (M. Kadłubek, p. 181) To use different types of transport we need to transload shipment between them. The most important thing during transportation is using fixed load unit for example container. It allows handle it without reloading goods themselves when changing the mode of transport.


Author: Paulina Byrska