Inbound Logistics | January 2024


The Language of Logistics


Shipping vs.

Logistics Refresher Technically speaking, freight is defined as the commercial transportation of goods, merchandise, or cargo by air, land, or sea. The term is generally used to refer to the transportation of goods in bulk. Originally, the term “shipping” referred to the transportation of goods by…you guessed it, ship. Since the 15th century, shipping has evolved to encompass the transportation of any quantity of goods by air, land, or sea. So, the main dierence between freight and shipping is the former specifically refers to transportation in bulk—often enough to fill up an entire truck. And since shipping doesn’t necessarily involve a particular quantity of goods, anyone can ship something from one place to another. Freight is mostly used by wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, suppliers of raw materials, or any business that regularly ships large quantities of goods. Additionally, freight services are often set up to handle fragile or sensitive cargo during long- distance shipments. The need for accommodations, such as temperature or humidity-controlled transportation, is more prevalent in freight customers who often ship their goods across great distances. These businesses often turn to freight forwarders who can help them navigate tedious processes like customs, documentation, or coordinating shipments across multiple modes of transportation. Shipping is usually the preferred choice for any business that is transporting small quantities of goods to consumers or another business. Basically, if your items don’t require some sort of specialized handling, shipping is almost always the easier and more cost-eective option, especially in today’s convenience-driven economy. A company that experiences extreme fluctuations in demand throughout the year might find it more cost-eective to use freight for bulk shipments during peak seasons and shipping for smaller deliveries during slower periods. –Carl Wasinger, CEO & Founder, Smart Warehousing

POLYCRISES Organizations no longer have the luxury of planning for individual incidents. They must now prepare for multiple concurrent or cascading business disruptions. Some refer to this as “layered” crises, or “polycrises,” where the shocks are disparate, but they interact so that the whole is even more overwhelming than the sum of the parts. –Frank Shultz, Founder and CEO, Infinite Blue

Flow center

Think warehouse but smaller and faster. Retailer Target coined this term to describe facilities that support nimble store replenishment. Using automation, flow centers break down shipments to replenish stores frequently with in-demand items in smaller quantities. This allows Target stores to hold lower levels of backroom inventory. Meanwhile goods ordered online are packaged at stores and sent to small sortation centers, which batch them by neighborhood for final delivery to customers. In short, flow centers can help retailers feed the flow—the flow of consumer demand, that is.

LAND BRIDGE A land-based solution for trade flow restrictions or disruptions in ocean routes. For instance, Maersk started a land bridge or rail route across Panama to minimize service interruptions for customers amidst Panama Canal transit restrictions.

22 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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