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The role of shipping companies in road freight transport

The role of a shipping company as an intermediate link in freight transport is important – but what does it do and how does a shipping company actually operate?

A shipping company connects the transport companies owning car parks and the companies that want to transport the cargo. At a first glance, it may be thought that for this service, the shipping company charges a commission borne by the beneficiary of the transport, so that it is only natural for the following question to arise: If I have the goods to be transported, am I not to gain by directly addressing a shipping company owning a car park?

In reality, this is not the case at all, the importance of this additional link, positioned between the carrier and the owner of the goods actually generates important savings for both parties.

But where does the gain of a shipping company come from, if it is not generated directly from the budget assigned by the customer for the cargo they want to transport?

First of all, a shipping company has in its database hundreds of carriers with car parks, which are cheaper or more expensive, and knowing the price evolution on the market, it knows and can choose the best and most secure offers for its customers. Thus, if in August, for example, the transport rates are lower because the volume of transported goods is greatly reduced because most of the manufacturers are on holidays, in July these rates are much higher. The price fluctuation during the year records quite large differences in the transport rates and the shipping companies can present the correct variants to customers.

Carriers are verified by the shipping companies so that all their insurances are concluded and paid to date, there is no history of theft, accidents, unauthorised transhipments of goods, depaletisations of goods or delays in the delivery of the goods to their recipient.

A shipping company collaborating with a car park has negotiated preferential rates that are lower due to the volumes it makes, so it can offer direct carrier prices to the customer.

Another example: if a company wants to send 10 tons of cargo to Constanta or Timisoara, this would mean it needs to pay the carrier the cost of a truck of 20 tons to the destination and its empty return. But the shipment company has in its database hundreds of companies that transport their products. Intervening in this transport, it will find another company that wants to transport to the same destination let’s say 5 tons of cargo and will achieve what is called a grouping, to fill the truck to its maximum capacity. Additionally, the shipping company will ensure the cargo also for the return of the truck so that it does not return empty, which would have been reflected in the carrier’s initial rate to the customer. Both owners of the goods will pay less, making important savings in their budgets.

The shipping company however also provides other transport related services, logistical services which a carrier does not normally provide: warehousing, redelivery internally or intra-community, customs formalities and additional cargo-type insurances for the very expensive or on demand goods.

The existence of shipping companies is also beneficial for the owners of car parks: the database of a shipping company including hundreds of customers and the shipping company with offices abroad, with which it maintains the exchange of goods, they are certain they will always have the truck filled to its capacity and the returns ensured in an optimal time.

Actually, the mission of a shipping company is therefore to optimally and correctly manage the demand and supply on the freight transport market and to have the capacity to meet the transport requirements for all types of cargo, for all destinations so that it would meet the highest demands of its customers.

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