Two of the most important sectors that help move a country's economy are logistics and transportation. Both are important cogs in the wheels of economy since they help bring in and distribute goods and materials. For example, if there is shortage of wheat and rice in Malaysia or Vietnam, other South Asian nations can help in providing supplies to satisfy the need.
Logistics and transportation are two words closely related to each other. As a matter of fact, with the example given previously, both processes are done hand in hand. But the question is can one really survive without the other? Or is there no absolute difference between the two and that both logistics and transportation are referring to the same entity?
Transportation refers to the means of distributing goods, supplies, resources, information, people, and energy from the original point to the destination point using any of the five modes of transport: animal-drive, air, road, rail, and water, or a combination thereof. Since transportation is concerned only with moving the supplies, someone has to take care of handing, packaging, managing the time the goods are fetched and delivered, and maintaining coordination, especially when inter-modal or a combination of two or more transport modes is used . That's when logistics comes in.
Logistics is defined as the process of managing goods, supplies, resources, information, people, and even energy from the source to the user. Any country can testify how important logistics is for its health. Logistics is not just a company that gets your airmails delivered promptly. Logistics is found in every department of a government, from the military to health agency, from education to infrastructure agency, and of course, the time-conscious world of commerce. This application of logistics is more popularly known as business logistics.
Business logistics, unlike military logistics where the concern is focused more on speed and quantity, is more concentrated on delivering the exact item, at the ideal time and place, at an ideal price, using an efficient amount of energy, man power, and financial resource. It is the business of most couriers in the world.
While most couriers have their own vehicles, such as air planes, ocean jets, trucks, and ferries, it is not really necessary for business logisticians to have their own means of transportation. In cases like this, trucking or shipping service providers are hired to distribute the commodities.
For example, in sending goods to a country where air travel is not available, the courier gets the services of a shipping company, and additionally, a trucker to help in delivering the goods once the ship has arrived. The courier has the responsibility to choose which ship and truck provides the fastest yet efficient handling of the supplies. A courier might also need a place of storage or a warehouse company, especially when there is a need to stock the goods while waiting for the trucker. Most shipping companies, however, do have their own warehouses.
Just lately, truckers and shipping companies have begun adapting logistics as part of their business operation. This raises the question then as to which service to avail of when sending goods. Should one go for logistics or transportation companies?
Whether one chooses logistics over transportation, the answer will have no difference. See, even transport companies employ logistics to their business operations. Both indeed must go hand in hand in order to achieve secure and efficient delivery goods.