What’s The Cheapest Way To Send Goods To Europe?

Apr 24, 2017 by

What’s The Cheapest Way To Send Goods To Europe?

Finding the best transport solution for your business

Delivering goods to Europe can throw up challenges, but tailored road transport and groupage services can help to keep the costs down.

If you export goods to Europe, you need to have an effective freight transport and delivery system in place. Paying too much for transportation can affect your profit margins so it’s worth looking into the options that offer you the most for your money.

When it comes to shipping goods to the continent, there are four main options open to you – air, sea, rail and road.

Air transport

While it offers the advantage of speed and security, transporting goods by air generally incurs higher costs than other methods of transport, so is not always the best option if you are looking to keep freight costs down. Unless time is a key factor in delivering your goods (for perishable food items for example), you may want to consider other, more cost-effective options.

Sea transport

Shipping freight by sea is actually one of the cheapest transport modes available, and it is definitely an option worth considering if you need to ship large quantities of goods and you are not under any time pressure. However, there are drawbacks to transporting via sea. As we’ve alluded to, it is often a lot slower than other modes of transport and can be slowed down even further by uncontrollable factors such as bad weather. You are also restricted to set routes and timetables, and of course you will need to organise additional overland travel at the other end. Whether shipping is a suitable option for you will depend very much on the goods you are transporting and the nature of your business.

Rail transport

Rail offers another cost-effective and efficient way of transporting your goods across Europe, particularly as so much of the continent is serviced by fast rail links and good connections. However, as with sea transport, you are tied to sometimes inflexible routes and timetables, and you could face difficulties if you need to make deliveries to more remote areas. And, while it is cost-effective, rail does tend to work out more expensive than transporting goods by road.

Road transport

For many businesses, transporting their goods to Europe via road is often the best option and, indeed, road transport is the biggest carrier of goods on the continent, with over 46 million tonnes transported every day. The EU has the advantage of good motorway networks and fuss-free border crossings, so sending goods via road can offer companies both flexibility and efficiency. If you do not have the resources or expertise to transport the goods yourself, you can outsource to European freight forwarders who can offer expertise in the consolidation and movement of freight throughout the continent.

If you want to cut transportation costs further, you could also look into using groupage services, which consolidate multiple compatible shipments from a number of customers into one delivery load. This method of delivery is much more efficient and economical, and is especially beneficial if you frequently need to deliver smaller loads that won’t fill a whole lorry.
There are advantages and disadvantages for all four transport types, and what you gain in cost savings you may lose in speed (and vice versa). Selecting the most cost-effective option often hinges on a number of factors including the types of goods you need to transport, the frequency of deliveries, the location of your end customer, and how quickly the goods need to get there. By taking all these factors into account, you can decide on a transportation method that works best for your business.

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