The different ways of transporting goods

Air, sea, road, rail, river and multimodal transport: choose the best way to transport your goods.

Avion couché de soleil

Logistics is a complex business where there are many ways to ship and deliver goods. For a shipper, it is essential to consider which way of transporting goods is the most appropriate and efficient to meet its needs or those of its customers.

In logistics, we use 5 modes of transport: air, sea, road, rail and river, we can also choose intermodal or multimodal transport.

The choice of one mode of transport over another is a key strategic choice in supply chain management. However, not all modes of transport are suitable for every activity or company. Each ways of transporting goods has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is always necessary to determine the transport needs in advance in order to choose the most appropriate mode.

The different ways of transport


Air transport refers to the activity of transporting passengers or freight by air, as well as the economic sector comprising the main or ancillary activities relating to this mode of transport.

Air transport remains the fastest way to transport goods over long distances. It is very practical for transporting urgent, fragile or sensitive goods such as personal effects, perishable goods, pharmaceutical products or even live animals.

Air transport is simple, fast, convenient and safe. At Fret Cargo Agency, we are based at Geneva airport.


Sea freight is the most common mode of transport used by high-volume companies. It is used to transport large volumes of goods such as heavy construction materials (metals, cement, etc.), vehicles (cars, trucks), oil and raw materials. Container ships are used to transport containers, containing personal effects in international removals, or any other type of commercial or private product.


The shipper can also choose full container loading, where he fills the entire container for one shipment, or partial loading, where he fills only part of the container (consolidation). In this way, the container is loaded with pallets from different shippers for the same shipment, thus sharing the cost of transport between the shippers.

Compared to other means of transport, sea transport is very economical over long distances.

Each mode of transport has advantages and disadvantages.

Therefore, it is always necessary to determine the transport requirements in advance in order to choose the most appropriate mode of transport for the goods.

Road transport

Road transport defines a type of land transport that uses the road to move goods or people. As technology has evolved through the industrial revolutions, road transport has evolved to incorporate digital technology into its system. You can now track the progress of your goods in real time with a navigation system built into the truck.

The shipper can also choose full loading, where he fills the entire trailer for a shipment, or partial loading, where he fills only part of the trailer. In this way, the truck is loaded with pallets from different shippers for the same shipment, thus sharing the cost of transport between the shippers.

In addition, depending on the products to be transported, we offer the right trailer, as there are several types of trailers, such as refrigerated trailers, wood trailers, tanker trailers, etc.

One of the advantages of road transport is the cost. It is the cheapest mode of transport for short distances.

Camion en route

Rail transport


Rail transport is a mode of guided transport characterised by a specialised infrastructure consisting of two parallel rails for the movement of trains. Used for the movement of people and goods, it is, along with road, sea and air, one of the principal means of modern transport.

The railway appeared in the first half of the 19th century with the industrial revolution and developed spectacularly in Europe and America, playing an essential role in the economic and military fields and considerably improving travel. Its use then spread throughout the world for passenger traffic as well as for trade and goods transport.

In recent decades, rail transport has lost market share to road transport. Today, rail freight accounts for less than 10% of all goods transported. Yet this mode of transport has many advantages: it is less noisy, less polluting and less dangerous than road, air and sea transport. It has many advantages and is, as such, a sustainable transport solution to the challenge of global warming.

Inland waterway transport

Inland waterway transport is transport on navigable waterways, whether they are navigable rivers, possibly developed, or man-made canals.

Inland shipping refers to the industry of transporting goods (freight) by boat on inland waterways, but also to the set of boats used in this industry. In addition to freight transport, inland waterway transport includes some passenger transport services, as well as pleasure boating or river tourism.

The waterways consist of a “main” network dedicated to the transport of goods, and a smaller “regional” network, more dedicated to tourism. Inland waterway transport is carried out on vessels whose shape is adapted to river and canal navigation, such as barges.

Inland waterway transport emits up to five times less CO2 than road transport per tonne transported; Low noise pollution: inland waterway transport is the quietest mode of transport.

Inland waterway transport is economical, clean, reliable and safe and is a real alternative to road transport on particularly congested routes.

cargo ship péniche

Multimodal and intermodal transport


Each mode of transport has its strengths and weaknesses. Road transport is flexible but limited in travel distance. Rail transport is fast and reliable, but it is slower than air transport and cannot reach certain destinations. Air transport, although fast, is expensive and a major emitter of CO2.

No one mode of transport has all the advantages. This is why there is multimodal transport, which is a combination of these different solutions.

Multimodal transport is very advantageous because it is flexible and profitable. It allows goods to be transported more efficiently to their destination, without leaving them waiting too long in one place. This means that goods are always on their way to arrive as quickly and efficiently as possible and at the best price.

Intermodal transport refers to the combination of several means of transport using a single container. More concretely, it means using at least two different means of transport to carry goods, while keeping the same container.


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