Transport and distribution have an important role in international trade. It is necessary for companies to choose the right method of transport to ensure their packages to be efficient and cost-effective. There are various factors that will influence company’s decision on which type of transport to use. These factors can be about business’ requirements, destination country, and the type of goods.

Roadsearail and air are four ways of importing and exporting. As the first step, the company has to consider all parts of the project. Firstly, it is important to know what needs to be distributed including size, weight, and type of goods. Therefore, the person who wants to deal with international transportation has to balance quality, cost, time, and conditions.

Air transport for international trade


  • delivers items quickly over long distances
  • gives high levels of security for sensitive items
  • is used for a wide range of goods


  •  higher costs than other options, and not being suitable for all goods
  •  flights are subject to delay or cancellation
  • there are taxes to be paid in each airport
  • fuel and currency surcharges will usually be added to freight costs
  • further transportation may be needed from the airport to the final destination

Sea transport for international trade


  •  possibility to ship large volumes at low costs
  •  shipping containers can also be used for further transportation by road or rail


  • shipping by sea can be slower than other transport systems, and bad weather can add further delays
  • routes and timetables are usually inflexible
  • tracking the goods’ progress is difficult
  • port duties and taxes
  • further transportation overland might be needed to reach the final destination
  • basic freight rates are subject to fuel and currency surcharges

Road transport for international trade


  • Low cost
  • Extensive road networks
  • Possibility to schedule transport, and track the location of goods
  • Safe and private delivery


  • long distances overland can take more time
  • there can be traffic delays and breakdowns
  • there is the risk of goods being damaged, especially over long distances
  • toll charges are high in some countries
  • different road and traffic regulations in some countries

Rail transport for international trade


  • routes and timetables available can be inflexible, especially in remote regions
  • can be more expensive than road transport
  • mechanical failure or industrial action can disrupt services
  • further transportation may be needed from a rail depot to the final destination
  • increasing costs and affecting delivery schedules

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