Cargo Weight Storage Fragility Perishable
Coal Heavy (0.83 g/cc) Simple (piling) None None
Grain Heavy (0.83 g/cc) Average (silos) Low Low
Petroleum Heavy (0.88 g/cc) Simple (tanks) None None
Clothing Average Average (distribution centers) Low None
Fruits Average Complex (temperature controlled) High High
Container Average (15-20 tons) per container Average (stacking) Low Cargo dependent
Transportability of Freight (Selected Cargo)
Transportability refers to the ease of a movement, with high transportability requiring limited efforts and low transportability implying complexity and high costs. The transportability of passengers is constant in its requirements (unless involving people with disabilities), with parameters related to tolerance to acceleration and deceleration, basic comfort, air pressure and ambient temperature (for air transport). For freight, transportability is cargo dependent, with some commodities having limited storage requirements, but heavy to carry. There are four major factors influencing transportability:
  • Weight. A simple indicator of the amount of energy that must be spend to carry the cargo. Heavy cargo require more energy to be transported as well as heavier modes and equipment to handle it. Commodities such as coal, grain and petroleum have a high density.
  • Storage. The complexity related to hold the cargo in inventory before it can be used. This can range from simple piling to complex temperature controlled warehousing. Commodities tend to have simple storage requirements while retail goods need to be handled in distribution centers. At the end of the spectrum many food and pharmaceutical products require complex storage and procedures.
  • Fragility. The ease at which the cargo can be damaged during transport. Fragile cargo require additional handling and storage procedures.
  • Perishable. Some cargo degrade after being harvested or manufactured. After a specific duration their commercial value decline or becomes negligible. Perishable cargo thus has a much lower transportability than cargo that does not degrade with time.
All these factors must be taken into consideration when transporting cargo since they influence the transport mode and the cargo's commercial potential.