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What to Look for When Choosing a Transload Facility

Last Modified: January 13, 2022
Transloading has become a popular approach for solving many of today's logistics challenges. Be sure you consider the right factors before partnering with a transload facility.
Harriet Daniels
October 13, 2021
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The logistics of shipping freight from one point to another can present challenges when transloading is required along the way. The ability to use multiple forms of transportation to get freight delivered provides a competitive edge for shippers. However, selecting a transload facility takes some work to find the right match.

A transload facility is a place where freight is transferred from one mode of transportation to another. Freight is often transferred from ocean to rail, rail to truck, or ocean to truck. These facilities need to have specialized equipment and resources to complete the transload process.

A transload facility is a critical tool for shippers working to get their goods in place efficiently and stress-free. In this article, we’ll discuss what to look for when choosing a transload facility including services, equipment and capacity.

What Is a Transloading Facility?

While it may be the first time working with a transloading facility, the concept has been around for a long time. This is the behind-the-scenes action of sorts in the transportation industry. The basic idea of a transloading facility is to take freight from one mode of transportation and put it on another. Most transload facilities are situated in strategic locations to make the entire process seamless.

As an example, a bulk load of steel may arrive in a truck, but need to be reloaded onto a rail car or ocean vessel. Once the steel arrives in port it will likely be transferred back to a truck for last-mile delivery.

However, the entire process is considered transloading. Some shippers like knowing that unloading and reloading shipments occur at a transloading facility where it’s handled professionally and the risk of damage is minimized.

In general, transloading facilities are located near airports or ocean ports, while others are connected to rail spurs situated in regional shipping hubs. The sole function of a transloading facility is to accommodate transferring freight from one mode of transportation to another.

Available Services and EquipmentAvailable Services and Equipment

One of the first things to consider when researching a transloading facility is what type of services are available along with the equipment to do the heavy lifting. This is an important factor in the decision process because not all facilities are able to handle certain types of freight.

Make sure to ask about available transloading services pertaining to the freight that you’re looking to ship. For instance, a shipment inbound by rail car will likely require cranes or other specialized equipment to move an entire unit to a truck or vice versa. Additional specialized tools will need to be at the ready to promptly handle transloading. Liquid commodities like oil and milk require specific equipment to be properly transloaded. 

Shippers do not have time to wait for the right equipment to be in place. Time is ticking and when the freight arrives it needs to be transloaded to the next vehicle toward delivery.

Questions to ask regarding equipment include:

  1.     What type of equipment is used to load and unload freight?
  2.     Can the transloading facility handle a variety of different shipments?
  3.     Is the site easily accessible to trucks?
  4.     Does the site offer white glove service for freight?

In some cases, the shipper may need to have a large bulk delivery separated into smaller shipments and the right transloading facility can accommodate this task.

Proximity to Final Delivery Points

Ensuring freight reaches its final delivery point is a top priority for shippers when securing a transloading facility. The ideal facility will be within an accessible range for delivery.

Shippers may look to use a container transloading operation in a specific region of the country such as the busy eastern corridor of the United States. This corridor, home to a variety of ocean ports and regional manufacturing hubs, is an intricate network of transportation options, offering a seamless process.

Transloading throughout the West Coast of the U.S. or the southwest and Midwest covers critical shipping lanes throughout the country. A strategic logistics partner can assist with coordinating freight and all the other details from start to finish. 

When you partner with our team, we develop the most effective strategy for your supply chain. We do this by understanding your unique needs and developing an efficient plan through our strategically located facilities and resources.  Whether the freight is bulky and needs heavy equipment to move or the shipment is perishable and time-sensitive, R+L Global Logistics can coordinate transloading. 

Operating CapacityOperating Capacity

Moving freight is a 24-hour a day, 7-days a week job. Something is always in some phase of being transported. One of the main questions when looking for transload facilities is whether the site will have the operating capacity to handle a specific supply chain of incoming freight.

It may seem doable if the facility has peak times for certain commodities. However, as more shippers utilize transloading, the calendar gets crowded thanks to many shipments arriving and departing. It is important to ask about the operating capacity of a transload facility to make sure a shipment of food or pharmaceuticals is not overlooked if things are busy.

Working closely with a logistics expert can help eliminate the risk of freight being damaged. The goal is to get freight safely and efficiently where it needs to go quickly during the transloading process. Our team of experts will guide you through the entire process of transloading your goods.

Find a Transload Facility with R+L Global Logistics

Navigating the waters of transporting freight can be complicated if going it alone. Let Fulfillment and Distribution help with finding the right transloading facility to make the process seamless. Since Fulfillment and Distribution is powered by R+L Global Logistics, it means shippers have access to a full range of expert services and equipment to get the job done.

In addition to a network of warehousing space across the country, R+L Global Logistics offer warehouse services including:

  • Pick and pack
  • Order fulfillment
  • Ecommerce
  • Reverse logistics
  • Kitting
  • Cross docking

Our logistics experts can also customize other services as requested. Reach out to our Fulfillment and Distribution team when you are ready to utilize a transloading facility. Fulfillment and Distribution, powered by R+L Global Logistics has the best solutions to maximize the reach of your business. Call (866) 989-3082 to obtain a free, cost-effective quote today.

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