Groupage transport is, as the name suggests, transport focused on the transport of small goods. The load is usually not enough to fill the entire container or dedicated vehicle. For this reason, it is common practice to combine it into one package. Groupage transport can be compared to bus travel. The passenger will reach the stopping place, but on the way the bus will stop several times so that other people can get on or off.
Small size – big problem? General cargo characteristics
As we wrote earlier, general cargo is a small commodity. This means that groupage shipments are small and not too heavy. They are also characterized by the fact that they usually do not have a uniform shape. The price of transport is determined based on the actual weight of the load. Therefore, groupage transport takes place collectively with other groupage. The consolidation works are carried out in reloading warehouses. LCL (less than container load) is another name under which groupage transport can be found.
The small size of general cargo affects one of the more characteristic features of this type of shipment: reloading. However, this is not about over-packing. In the case of general cargo, the first association is sea transport. In this case, general cargo from various consignors is often placed in one container. This, in turn, forces the carrier to tranship on the route so that the requested package reaches the appropriate port. Usually, the process is designed before the ship leaves, but it happens that there are mistakes. The same is true in all other cases. We often deal with courier companies that lose shipments not even at the warehouse level, but in transport. This is largely due to top-ups, which are carried out to reduce costs and maintain transport economy.
Groupage transport – how to transport goods properly and safely?
It can be said that the specificity of general cargo is that it is usually susceptible to damage. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure appropriate packaging that protects the goods against damage. It can be both a solid box, as well as a cage, basket or chest. An additional advantage of securing cargo in groupage transport is the ease of unitisation. This term means the creation of several loading units from several packages. In this way, transport is counted in pallets or, for larger orders, containers (especially in maritime transport). We write about the details of unitization later in the article.
Legal restrictions on groupage transport
Like any kind of transport, groupage is limited by regulations (often for other types of transport). For example, due to frequent consolidation of shipments from various suppliers, groupage transport excludes shipments that must be transported under special conditions.
On the one hand, groupage transports are characterized by a large freedom of what can be transported. On the other hand, in many cases the goods must be transported in a manner prescribed by law.
In general cargo, animals, weapons or pharmaceutical products should not be transported. These are goods requiring special treatment, regulated by many regulations, such as the GDP Certificate in the case of pharmaceutical shipments.
Kamil Korab, expert in transporting pharmaceuticals
Additional groupage insurance
There are those customers who reach for groupage transport to reduce costs. There are also those for whom time is of the essence. For the first type of customer, for example, general cargo sea transport, and for the second – road transport. Regardless of whether the customer cares about time or costs, there is still a guarantee of delivery. By entering into a contract with a transport company, we agree to the basic insurance („Forwarder’s liability”), which is mandatory in every transport. This insurance is usually low and in the event of loss of cargo it can only compensate for the loss in a small part. Additional transport insurance is prepared just for such eventuality.
BBA Transport System specializes in groupage transport both in Europe and by rail from China. We also carry out groupage transport by air and sea from anywhere in the world. In order to be able to efficiently carry out operations in all branches of transport, we must constantly monitor the offer of transport insurance. We are in constant contact with the best suppliers of solutions guaranteeing shipment security, with whom we negotiate the best rates for our customers. Our company also recommends our clients additional parcel insurance. A small expenditure before transport can protect the client from serious losses in the future.
Groupage transport – the main tasks of the forwarder
Groupage road transport involves reloading goods along the route. The car is topped up and unloaded at various points located on the map. Groupage transport forwarder strictly defines the route. It supervises it and ensures that the entire cargo space is as full as possible. Thanks to this solution, the cost of groupage transport, e.g. one pallet, can be lower. The transport price is then reduced at the expense of transport time, but in most cases the difference is not significant enough to be felt severely.
When it comes to what the forwarder should focus on, you need to think about the organizational aspects of groupage transport. Fortunately, in the case of general cargo, the waybill is usually issued for the bulk load of the vehicle. Therefore, it is important above all to properly mark and secure the goods. Correct marking of a shipment avoids mistakes in the logistics center and transport negligence.
In the Encyclopedia of Management E. Skóra and M. Pituch list the following groups of markings (after T. Truś):
- Essential – allow you to identify the goods
- Informative – they present the features of the product
- Dangerous – they indicate features that threaten people and the environment
- Manipulative – they inform about the recommended way of handling the load
Containerisation and packetization of groupage transport
Forwarder should also care about the aforementioned uniting. A properly selected method can protect the load against the negative influence of external factors, such as rain or pests. Moreover, groupage transport can be associated with higher costs due to more complicated operations than in the case of full loads. Appropriate unitization allows you to minimize costs and facilitate processes. The authors cited earlier cite the following ways of unitization:
- Ceiling – tying several pieces of cargo together
- Palletizing – placing the load on the pallet
- Containerization – placing the load in the container
- Packing – combining several packages into a package
Longer deadlines – the main disadvantage of groupage transport
During groupage car transport – the car stops many times in different places. A transport company that makes groupage transport ensures that the load is reloaded or stored in a warehouse if needed. It should be remembered that, with its overall attractiveness and efficiency, groupage transport unfortunately takes longer.
The general cargo does not use the entire container loading space. It is connected with the necessity of delivery to the reloading terminal and consolidation of small batches of goods in it. An additional difficulty is the time-consuming nature and necessity of more transhipments. However, it is still the most popular and also the cheapest type of international transport.
At BBA Transport System, you only pay for used cargo space
Groupage transport with the BBA Transport System
We support native exporters and importers, providing them with a proven and safe groupage transport network. Our service, which has been developed for many years, has also been recognized by foreign contractors.
We carry out groupage transport in transit of products to and from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
We guarantee the collection and delivery of general cargo in the „door-to-door” system at the lowest possible price and in the shortest possible time.
Thanks to the excellent optimization of transport processes and excellent work organization, the load entrusted to us will safely and timely reach the indicated place.