Facts of Transportation in a Logistical perspective: Highlights on some Bangladesh issues:


Would like to discuss Transportation issues in the light of Logistics and Supply Chain Management through this article in short. These are terms as understanding transportation, different modes of transportation,  role of infrastructure and policies, various transportation networks, identify some points on trade-offs while designing transportation networks etc. Also discuss some Bangladesh perspective after discuss some general transport issues.

Role of Transportation:

Transportation refers to the movement of things from one point to another as products make their way to reach the customer at the beginning. Supply Chains use responsive tansportation to centralize inventory and operate with fewer facilities. Shipper requires the movement of products from one pint to another in a Supply Chain and Carrier is the party who moves the cargo. The other parties are owners and operators of roads, ports, canals and airports and bodies that set transportation policies. A carrier takes investment decisions regarding their equipment; Shipper in contrast uses transportation to minimize total cost, while providing an appropriate level of responsiveness to the customers.

Air vs. Package carriers:

Supply Chains using modes of transportation, such as air, package carriers, trucking, rail, water, pipelines and inter-modal etc. Effectiveness of any mode of transportation is affected by the carrier as well as infrastructure and transportation policies, e.g., an airline’s goal is to maximize daily flying time of a plane and generated revenue per trip. Air carriers usually carry below 500 pounds, high value and light weight products. The Key issues air carriers usually faces include identifying location and number of hubs, assigning planes to routes, maintaining schedule of planes and crews , also availability in different prices.

But package carriers, such as, DHL, FedEx, UPS etc. are usually carries letters and other small cargo weighing below 150 pounds using air, Truck and rail to carry time sensitive smaller packages. They are expensive and cannot go for competition with other carriers for larger shipment due to expensiveness. They can provide other value added services e.g., speed inventory flow and track order status. Companies use air cargo carriers for
larger cargo and package carriers for more time-sensitive smaller cargo.

The Truck and Rail as a transport:

Truck shipment has two types of segments, i.e., TL (Full Truck Load) and LTL(less than Truck Load). It can reach to the customer’s door, while it is more costly than Rail transport. Truck has usually a shorter   delivery time also. Through consolidation, LTL trucking can reduce cost through consolidation centers products originating from a geographical areaand destined to the same geographic area. Key issue for LTL industry is location of consolidation centers and scheduling and routing of pickup and delivery. Rail carriers incur a higher cost including rails, locomotives, cars, stations/yards. The idle time is more expensive in a rail transport. Labor and fuel cost is more than 60% of the total running cost of the train /rail transport. To be profitable, a rail transport crew and locomotives should be well utilized.

The Water transport:

Water transport is ideal for carrying very large loads at low cost. Very large sty shipment in international destinations is carried with comparatively quite low cost.

A Depiction of a Transport By Water


Transportation by Pipeline:

Pipeline is used for gas and liquid items transportation. In United States it is widely used (about 17 % of ton miles in 2002).

Intermodal Transportation:

Some carriers are transporting cargo through using different modes of transportation to go to destination. Most common is Rail + Truck and Water+ Truck carriers. These types of shipments usually involve great delay in shipments, whereas lowers cost to some extent.

The Perspective of the Bangladesh Apparel Supply Chain:

Last decade the export in Bangladesh has been increased continuously. But due to great competition in the world market they need to improve their logistics and transportation capability to cope with competition. The Manufacture of readymade garments in Bangladesh’s export industry is using fast, low-cost, and reliable logistics. The industry issubdivided into woven and knitwear. Woven portion is operated as cut, manufacture and trim (CMT) process. They need to import fabric, accessories etc. Whereas knit fabrics need to have principal import of raw cotton or synthetic fiber.

The woven industry need longer time to import fabric. It is rare to do some preprocess of raw materials, but knitwear industry can do some pre-process. Imported fabrics are shipped as CIF. The mother vessel movement are mostly predictable. Feeder Vessels movements to Chittagong port is about 5 days and unloading takes two three days. The only uncertainty is taking the fabric to factory premises, which reaches to factory premises within 1-3 days.Garments are shipped to the buyers generally on FOB terms. The cargo moves from factory premises to port in a truck or multi modal movement of truck and container on rail. An Ocean movement on a feeder vessel to Singapore or Colombo and then by mother vessel to destination port. By land moves to buyer’s warehouse. If Bangladesh have to compete with other South Asian countries , they have to improve  their Supply Chain and can help them in some area such as public controlled railway etc and other national policy matters.


The transportation related logistical issues are highlighted above with reference to Bangladesh situation in reality especially considering Apparel Supply Chain situation.


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