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International Forwarding Association Blog » International freight services » Types of Freight, Transportation, and Regulations

Types of Freight, Transportation, and Regulations

Logistic services providers move different types of freight, from oversized cargo and dangerous goods to standard and special goods. Different modes of transportation are used depending on the class assigned, including air, sea, inland waterway, rail, and road.

Dangerous goods

Dangerous goods fall in different categories, including corrosive substances, radioactive material, and infectious and toxic substances. Other classes include organic peroxides and oxidizers, inflammable solids and liquids, explosives, and gases. The transportation of dangerous goods is regulated under domestic legislation and European regulations, directives, and agreements.

Different directives have been adopted to regulate the classification, certification, labelling, and packaging of goods, including the ICAO Technical Instructions and International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. Businesses that transport and handle hazardous goods may have to appoint a safety advisor tasked with advising on safety measures, investigating incidents, drawing up reports, and monitoring compliance with safety measures and procedures.


Special and Perishable Goods

Examples of special goods include humanitarian aid, exhibition items, diplomatic luggage, perishable goods, and valuable objects. Perishable goods, for example, are items that deteriorate if not properly stored and transported. This category includes pharmaceutical products, flowers, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and seafood and fish. Special types of vehicles and containers are used to control temperature during transportation, including freezer, refrigerator, and isothermal vehicles.

Freezer trucks maintain constant indoor temperatures in the range of -12ºC and -20ºC while refrigerator vehicles maintain temperatures of up to -20ºC. Isothermal containers with isolating walls and doors are also used for temperature control. Perishable goods can be transported by sea, air, and land transport. Items that are usually transported by air include frozen products such as fruit pulp and concentrates and fresh products such as dairy, meat, and fruit and vegetables.

Reefer ships are also used to transport perishable goods by sea, shipping items in reefers or refrigerated containers. Goods transported by sea include frozen and fresh products such as meat, concentrates, and fruit and vegetables. The Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs governs refrigeration transport and the shipping of perishable goods.

Non-Standard Sized Goods

This category includes oversized and non-standard items such as military equipment, satellites, boats, and locomotives. Other examples include presses, heaters, masts, and boilers. Shipping heavy freight and cargo with non-standard dimensions often requires special mechanisms such as metal constructions. IFA logistics services providers that specialize in non-standard sized goods also organize escorts, arrange the required permits and licenses, and choose the best route and mode of transportation.

Conventional Goods

This category includes a wide variety of goods transported by sea, air, and land. Examples of conventional goods include stationary and printed materials, vehicle parts, machine parts and spare parts, and electronics.

Partnering with freight ship companies, logistics services providers offer specialized services for different types of goods, including dangerous goods and goods under customs control, liquid and dry goods, and packaged and bulk goods. Other goods that are commonly transported by logistics companies include industrial and household appliances and telecommunications equipment.