Difference between Maritime, Shipping, Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain

Exploring the Varied Dimensions of Logistics and Supply Chain in Maritime and Shipping

The trade industry has different operational bodies, each sounding like they mean the same but having other functions. It is very easy for shippers or readers to confuse trade-related terms such as maritime, shipping, freight, logistics and supply chain. Each of these terms is connected with different aspects of the trade business and has its importance. International traders need to be well aware of each term to understand how the shipping industry works to fulfil their shipping demands. Let us discuss these terms in detail to have an in-depth understanding. 

What is a supply chain with an example? 

Supply chain refers to the systematic network of organisations, shipping parties, individuals, information and activities that collaborate to carry out trade business. The entire journey of goods from manufacturing, processing, transportation, distribution, and consumption forms a part of the global supply chain. Every product or service you order and consume reaches you through a series of steps coordinated by the supply chain management. Supply chain management aims to optimise the supply chain processes, enhance operational efficiency, improve the quality of products and their service, reduce costs to generate better revenue and ensure the timely delivery of products. For example- If you order a 53 ft intermodal container, it reaches through some distributor. The actual supply chain can be traced right from the manufacturing of the container-to-container inspection, reaching the supplier and then the distributor who sells or leases shipping containers to you. 

What do you mean by freight in logistics? 

Freight in logistics defines the goods transported by any mode of transport, including air, road, rail, and sea. These goods comprise raw materials and manufactured goods, basically anything with weight. For example- high volume goods, powered products, frozen foods, gases, chemicals and equipment all lie under the freight category. The entire supply chain rests on transporting goods from the exporter to the importer.  

What do you mean by shipping? 

Shipping refers to moving goods from one place to another using various modes of transport such as trucks, trains, ships and planes. It is one of the primary functions on which the trade industry operates. Exporters and importers ship their goods from one point to another. It systematically follows the supply chain loop and uses the logistics and transportation industry to move the goods from the manufacturer to the supplier and the end customer. In e-commerce, shipping is considered a critical part of the customer experience. Different 3PL and 4PL service providers collaborate with transportation companies to align the shipping process.  

For example, intermodal transport, which uses a combination of more than one means of transportation, is generally required in international shipping. This can be done either by the shipper or an outsourced logistics service provider. The complete packaging, loading, transporting and unloading process through various transportation modes is shipping. 

What is the role of logistics? 

Shipping, logistics and supply chain play an important role in consistently fulfilling all rising demands of the consumers. Let us learn more about the role of logistics in the global supply chain. 

  • The shipping process is coordinated by logistics, which is responsible for procuring, packaging, storing, managing, and moving the goods throughout the supply chain. 
  • A logistics network also helps relay information from the origin to the consumption point.  
  • Logistics management is responsible for a seamless, planned and timely flow of raw materials and finished products from manufacturer to supplier, supplier to distributor and distributor to customer. 
  • It also looks into warehouse and inventory management to track the real-time status of goods stored. 
  • Logistics also offers risk management to ensure operational fluency in the supply chain. Contingency plans and pre-planned strategies help in mitigating risks by predictions from technology. 

For example- Any exporter willing to ship the goods may contact logistics service providers. The provider will take the goods from your door for packing and storing in shipping containers. It is followed by active coordination from the shipper’s chosen mode of transport and stowage onto the vehicle. Upon reaching the destination, the provider ensures that the consignment safely reaches the consignee. 

What is maritime in business? 

Maritime in business refers to the export-import trade carried via sea routes using ships for the international transportation of goods. It is among the traditional shipping methods carried out since ancient times but has seen a massive transformation recently with technological advancements. Shipping ports are an integral part of maritime transportation that accommodate the infrastructure necessary for procuring, packing, loading, securing container inspections, customs clearances, and storing goods temporarily. Maritime trade is an efficient means of boosting the global economy since a significant amount of intermodal transportation of goods internationally is coordinated via ships.  

Maritime shipping is a cost-effective way of long-distance transit. Shippers can book 3PL or 4PL service providers for maritime shipping to facilitate the shipping process. For example, shippers take their shipment to the container yard in CY-CY shipping or book a shipping party to do all the shipping work for them. The goods are packed and loaded before the sailing schedule and then brought to the quay to load the shipping containers onto ships. The vessel is then signalled for transit, which reaches the destination port. 

What is the difference between maritime, shipping, freight, logistics and supply chain 

 Definition Function 
  Freight Goods that can be transported through any mode of transport. Act as commercial assets between traders. 
  Shipping Process of carrying goods from origin to destination through any mode of transport. Leverages shippers who need intermodal transport by switching between transport modes. 
  Maritime Shipping of goods via ocean through different types of containershipsCost-effective method of transporting goods through long distances by loading on ships. 
  Logistics Takes control over all activities concerning transportation   Facilitates traders by outsourcing logistics services, including transportation and handling of goods. 
  Supply chain Governs the logistics, transportation and entire shipping industry. Ensures the seamless supply of goods, boosts efficiency and optimises various shipping processes. 

The flowchart will help you understand maritime, shipping, freight, logistics and supply chain differences.  

LOTUS Containers is a global marketer of different types of shipping containers. Our company is well-known for leasing and selling new and used shipping containers. Partnering with 300 container depots, we offer services all across the globe. 

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