What is

On-carriage” refers to the inland movement of containers after being discharged by ocean vessels at a port or terminal and picked up by inland vehicles like trucks.    

Understanding On-Carriage in Freight Forwarding

On-carriage is a crucial phase in the transportation of goods, especially when these goods travel internationally. This stage occurs after goods are discharged from ocean vessels at their port of arrival and involves the inland transportation to their destination or another terminal. On-carriage is a significant component of the logistical processes that ensure the smooth transition of cargo from a seaport to inland areas, utilizing various modes of transport such as rail, truck, or even barge.

The Role of On-Carriage in Freight Movement

On-carriage is part of a larger process that includes pre-carriage (the initial transport of cargo to the port of departure), main carriage (the primary voyage by air or ocean), and then on-carriage itself. This sequence of events is pivotal for businesses that rely on timely and efficient delivery of goods across vast distances. The effectiveness of on-carriage services directly influences delivery times, the condition of the goods upon arrival, and the overall cost of transportation.

Modes of Transportation Used in On-Carriage

  1. Truck Transport: The most common method for on-carriage, truck transport offers flexibility in route and timing, making it ideal for door-to-door delivery within the continental regions. Trucking can handle a diverse range of cargo types and is essential for areas not serviced by rail.
  1. Rail Transport: Ideal for long-distance on-carriage, rail offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to road transport. Rail can accommodate large volumes of cargo with lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions per ton-mile of freight moved.
  1. Barge Transport: Used primarily for heavy or bulky goods, barge transport is a viable option for on-carriage along inland waterways. This mode is particularly relevant in areas where water transport is integrated into the logistics infrastructure, such as Europe and parts of the United States and Asia.

Challenges in On-Carriage Logistics

Managing on-carriage efficiently involves overcoming several challenges:

  • Coordination between different modes of transport: Ensuring smooth transitions from sea to land transport requires precise timing and excellent coordination among various stakeholders.
  • Regulatory compliance: On-carriage must comply with local, national, and international regulations, which can vary significantly from one region to another.
  • Infrastructure limitations: The quality of road, rail, and port infrastructure can significantly impact the efficiency of on-carriage services.

Technological Integration in On-Carriage

Advancements in technology have significantly impacted the efficiency of on-carriage operations. The use of GPS tracking and real-time data allows freight forwarders and logistics companies to monitor shipments and optimize routes. Additionally, automated systems for handling and transferring cargo reduce the likelihood of damage and speed up the process at transfer points.


On-carriage is a vital element of the transportation process for goods reaching their destination after a sea voyage. Effective on-carriage solutions are essential for maintaining the integrity and timely delivery of freight. As global trade continues to grow, the demand for efficient and reliable on-carriage services will only increase, highlighting the need for continuous improvements in transportation infrastructure and technology.

Contact Shipthis today to explore how our expert logistics services can enhance your cargo transportation from port to doorstep, ensuring reliability and efficiency every step of the way.

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