Bulk Haulage – Moving Toward A Greener Day
In a free market, bulk haulage and sales people are perhaps the most critical elements for an economy. Consumers get their good through sales channels, but without transport, there would be no product to sell. In recent years, rising petroleum prices and strong interest in reducing carbon footprints have put additional strain on bulk haulage companies.
Transportation of large qualities of goods can take place using ships, trains, and trucks. Recent developments indicate that cable transport may be feasible for some instances as well, particularly for offloading ships’ cargoes to facilities on land. Intermodal transportation methods are often used for international shipments and to manage costs.
Bulk haulage refers most often to agricultural, industrial, and construction products. In the United Kingdom, these industries typically use over the road (OTR) trucks to transport their goods. Beets, coal, and gravel, are examples of good that may travel a short distance before reaching its end user, and fleet trucks are employed for such purposes.
Timely product delivery is vital to bulk haulage. Delays can result in inefficiencies for the companies that rely on the product’s arrival, and haulage companies may be charged for delays. Therefore, fleet trucks must be well maintained in order to prevent unanticipated breakdowns and accidents. Global positioning systems (GPS) allow better inventory tracking. By using GPS, companies can identify potential problems before they occur and re-route shipments accordingly. Further, GPS tracking provides data that enables logistic analyses to identify more reliable, cost effective methods of transport. Traffic congestion along a popular roadway may delay a shipment that would have arrived on time had it been delivered via a slightly longer route.
Various factors can create bottlenecks that prevent maximum efficiency. Terminals through which the bulk must pass can create unexpected delays. Storage facilities must have enough room to store the goods, and the right type of facility to store the types of goods being moved. The location of storage facilities is critical to both cost management and timeliness of deliveries.
Besides these traditional pressures, rising petrol costs and environmental concerns present more challenges than ever. The issue has been slow to gain widespread attention, but it is starting to emerge. Logistics specialists forecast three likely outcomes. The least desirable outcome for bulk haulers is to have the matter regulated by government agencies. This reduces the control of individual companies to tailor specific solutions and can produce unintended consequences when regulations are passed that impact multiple modes of transportation. Some experts promote the industry to adopt best practices approaches to retain the maximum amount of freedom to address the needs of their customers and themselves. Finally, there may be compromise between government and industry.
While the European Union is looking toward pricing measures – charging for external costs, to reduce costs and better manage congestion. In North America, road use tolls are emerging to produce a similar outcome, particularly for congested areas.
Decreasing empty movements after bulk good have been delivered, providing denser bulk through better product packaging and planning, zoning practices, controlling petroleum emissions, installing intermediate facilities, and combining multiple facilities to joint use all have potential to make bulk haulage practices more friendly for the environment, more cost effective for logistics operators, and more successful in terms of timeliness and reliability of providers.
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