Types of freight transport

Today, several types of freight transport coexist, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Their different characteristics make them more or less suitable for each type of product and shipment. In this article, we explain the functionality of every one of them.


Road transport

Road transport is the most common alternative for transporting goods, especially over short distances, in developed countries. In these countries, an extensive road and infrastructure network allows for services such as door-to-door pick-up and delivery. Even in the case of transport by plane, train or ship, the final delivery is usually by road, by either truck or van.

The main advantages of road transport are that it is cost-effective, fast, and adapts to almost any type of goods. Road transport offers great time flexibility, although its main disadvantage is that its speed depends on traffic conditions.


Rail transport

Rail freight transport is usually cheaper than road transport. It is suitable for long distances and especially for wholesale freight. It is also one of the safest and least polluting modes of transport.

Its main disadvantage is that it is less flexible in terms of timetables than road transport and that it usually needs to be combined with other modes of transport.


Maritime transport

Maritime transport is the most common way of moving goods in international trade. It is an ideal economical option when cargo delivery does not require great speed.

There is a wide variety of specialised ships that can carry anything from liquids to perishable goods to bulk cargo. Prices are adapted to the weight carried, making it more convenient the more cargo you want to transport.


Air transport

Airfreight is a good, albeit costly, alternative for the shipment of express courier, high-value items or medical and pharmaceutical products.

Its main advantage is speed. However, the cost is the highest of all types of freight transport and is heavily influenced by airport infrastructure.


Multimodal transport


It combines several types of transport in the same shipment. It is a common practice as ships or planes cannot reach the final destination of the goods, which is usually the consignee’s warehouse.


What is the best way to transport goods?

Choosing the most suitable means of freight transport in each case depends on several factors: distance, type of product, quantity and volume, access to different types of transport, urgency, budget…


  • Road transport: Allows you to send any type of goods, including perishable products. It is ideal for short-distance
  • Rail freight: It is more attractive as the delivery distance increases. It is also one of the safest and most sustainable means of transport.
  • Ocean freight: It is the most affordable way for international transport of large volumes of goods. It is the ideal method for bulk cargoes such as cereals, coal, metals, oil, etc. Dry, non-perishable goods that do not require urgent consumption.
  • Airfeight: It is the most expensive option but also the fastest and safest. It is ideal for express courier services, luxury goods or health and pharmaceutical products.