Eight Thing You Need to Know About Land Freight Forwarding!

1. What is Land Freight transportation?

Land freight forwarding is basically the physical movement or processing cargo over the land from a point “A” to another point “B” through trucks, trailers or rail.

2. When is it good to use Land transportation?

It doesn’t make sense to ask for a land transport quotation for a shipment from Australia to the USA. So in order for the land freight movement to be a good option, the delivery point has to be accessible by land and both points have land borders connecting them for international land freight shipping. Also for Full Truck Loads FTL, it is good to compare rates with Sea Freight FCL options ( Full Container Load ) as it may be more cost-efficient to move by sea. For small shipments moved as LTL (Less than Truck Load), we can always compare with airfreight keeping in mind that airfreight most probably will be faster to reach the destination. However, airfreight is only valid domestically in larger countries with multiple airports.

3. Types of land freight shipments

Land freight shipments can be moved in more than one type. We have LTL shipments ( Less than Truck Load) which are moved as a consolidation (also called Groupage). This is mainly efficient for domestic and international land freight shipments that are smaller in size one or few pallets only. We have also FTL (Full Truck Load) which is used for more bulkier shipments and also it shows normally a better transit time than LTL shipments as the driver goes directly from pick up to delivery points. We can not forget also the container trucking (or drayage) movement which is moving containers between the loading site and the container port (or yard), this is a very commonly used type of trucking. Last but not least we have the heavy-lift or project cargo which is usually an over-size and over-weight piece that is moved on special types of trailers that can handle such odd weight or dimensions.

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4. How consolidation (groupage or LTL shipments) work?

Consolidation as a concept was created to make the land, sea and air freight shipping less costly and sometimes with the same transit time. In the land freight mode of transportation, shipments are collected from the shipper’s loading site, delivered to the service provider (co-loader) warehouse for processing. They will be sorted and put with other shipments or items going in the same direction then resent again to its next transit point or to the recipient location. This way helps service providers to distribute costs in a way that allows them to offer better prices to customers. It may be the same time or slightly more than the dedicated van or FTL movement. Some call this the “Hub and Spoke” system.

5. Land freight Bill of Lading?

The bill of lading in land freight is a contract of transportation from shipper to consignee. This contract states details of the shipment (weight, dimensions, description or commodity, value, packing … etc.), it also mentions the pick up location and delivery location, incoterms and other details that are related to the cargo being shipped. On the back of this bill of lading we can see terms and conditions that explains and determines liability of each party on this document including the carrier who is liable in some scenarios. Especially, if cargo was received in perfect condition and delivered damaged or short in pieces. In land freight it is either called the “ Bill of Lading” or “Truck Consignment Note”, where in some parts of the world it is called CMR (in French : Convention Relative au Contrat de Transport International de Marchandises par la Route), in English this means : an international agreement that contains the rights and obligations of parties involved in road transport: the shipper, carrier and addressee

6. Land freight shipping calculations

In land freight forwarding, transportation cost is calculated in some regions different from the other. In many countries each CBM is equal to 333 Kgs based on the formula: Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm) / 3000. Or in a ratio it will be 1:3. In this case the chargeable weight is calculated and cost is based on the rate per KG. In other countries, transporters will charge customers based on slots (how many pallets, crates, skids .. etc.). While in North America calculations are based on different factors such as commodity, weight, dimensions and class of the cargo. But mainly, the cost will be higher if the items are non-stackable. As in this case they will occupy more.

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7. Domestic and International land freight liabilities

Land freight liabilities can be a little tricky. However, it is always recommended to have insurance coverage to put everyone at ease in the unfortunate circumstances of loss or damage. Each party; shipper, consignee, and carrier have their part of the liability of the cargo. When the shipment is and moved internationally through land freight, it can be even more complicated as it will involve different countries rules and regulations. While moving cargo from New York to Los Angeles by land will be much easier to handle in case of damage or loss.

8. Digitalization, next page in the land freight industry

For all what was mentioned earlier (definitions, costs, calculations, types of service, liabilities … etc.), it may look a little hard for some people to handle land freight shipments, which pushed for the digital service to come out and be presented to the world. Globitex, have developed a freight forwarding platform that simplified the land transportation very much for everyone no matter now new to the freight industry or to land freight forwarding. Simply and with few clicks you can request rates and get number of options to chose from with different costs and transit times, you can easily fill in the bill of  lading like never before and track your shipment from pick up to delivery as if you’re the co-driver. What was taking many phone calls, emails and negotiations before, now is done within few minutes. Thanks to Globitex digital platform.


Karim Nasser

VP at Globitex with more than 15 years of experience in shipping and transportation in Air, Sea, Land freight, and courier. Now for a couple of years, more into digital freight. I believe in a saying “ in shipping, we deliver hope not only shipments”.