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Why is loading and unloading an important part of logistics efficiency?

A few days ago, a logistics partner approached me for advice, his doubt is: why loading and unloading is the main link affecting the efficiency of logistics?

The following is my thinking based on this issue, if you also have confusion in this area, you may come together to understand.

Logistics is simply understood, is the subject (such as goods, express, etc.) from the starting point of transport to the destination, and this process, loading and unloading is very common, and is an essential part of the link. Since the statistics is the efficiency of the whole process, naturally the speed of loading and unloading will also have an impact on the efficiency of logistics.

Next, let's expand it.

loading and unloading of logistics

The weight of loading and unloading handling in logistics

1)Complete trucking business

The whole truck transportation business is usually loaded at the shipping warehouse, and then transported by trunk road to the receiving warehouse at the end to unload the goods. This is the simplest way of transportation, only the loading and unloading at both ends and the transportation in the middle.

If it is the loading and unloading of bulk cargo, then it usually depends very much on the operational efficiency of the loading and unloading workers. The operation process is that workers first use manual ground cattle from the preparation area to pull the bulk cargo, which is placed on the pallet, to the carriage, and then complete the yarding one box at a time, and the yarding process also has requirements, such as heavy does not press light, large does not press small, etc.

We have measured before, a 16.5m truck, picking up goods for daily chemical products, from Tianjin to Jinan. It took 6 hours to pick up the goods (including picking up procedures, counting goods, loading and unloading workers, etc., of which about 3-4 hours for loading), 6 hours for transportation, and 6 hours for unloading.

From this example, we can see that the time at both ends (including loading and unloading) occupies 2/3 of the whole logistics time, which can be seen.

2) Less-than-truckload transportation business

In addition to full trucking, there are LTL and express transportation in road transportation. Let's take LTL transportation as an example, LTL transportation mainly contains five links: cargo collection, site distribution, trunk transportation, landing distribution, transportation and distribution.

LTL transport includes how many times loading and unloading it?3 times loading and 3 times unloading.

Collecting goods, loading 1 time; to the site, unloading 1 time; then the site by line distribution, loading 1 time; trunk transport to the destination of the distribution center, unloading 1 time; then the end of the customer's regional distribution, and then loading 1 time; distribution vehicles arrive at the customer, unloading 1 time.

Compared with the whole-truck transportation just now, the loading and unloading in LTL transportation takes up more time, so you will find that the same origin and unloading place, the logistics efficiency of LTL transportation is much lower than the efficiency of whole-truck transportation.

Express transport is similar to the LTL mode, and will not repeat.

Logistics enterprises to improve the loading and unloading link

Many logistics companies have recognized the importance of the impact of loading and unloading efficiency on the overall logistics efficiency. Therefore, they are also looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the loading and unloading process so as to enhance the overall logistics time efficiency. Here are a few examples.


The so-called unitization means that when loading and unloading, instead of taking bulk cargo as the unit, a "unitized tool carrying cargo" is used as the unit for loading and unloading.

The unitized tools include pallets,wire container cages, totes, etc. Take the wire container cages as an example, after the inventory is completed in the shipping warehouse, it is directly loaded into the cage, and then the cage is locked or sealed to ensure that the goods in each cage are safe and will not be lost. The loading is done by the forklift driver driving the forklift.

wire container with wheels

After arriving at the destination receiving warehouse, the other warehouse is still finished unloading the cages by the forklift driver driving the forklift. As long as the seal of each storage cage is not broken, the handover can be completed quickly and the vehicle can leave the warehouse.  If the receiving warehouse finds differences when unpacking the storage cage one by one to count the goods, directly docking with the shipping warehouse.


In addition to unitization, there is also mechanized operation, which means that advanced loading and unloading tools are used in the process of loading and unloading, replacing manual loading and unloading operations.

For example, one of the feed manufacturers I visited in Beijing before, they used conveyor belts in the delivery, which greatly accelerated the efficiency of loading.

For example, when we were receiving goods before, usually the loading and unloading workers had to manually wrap the film to protect those products that were stacked unstably, in addition to yarding the products, to prevent the goods from falling off the pallet during the movement. Automatic film wrapping machine greatly improves the efficiency of film wrapping, and the standard of uniformity.

logistics equipment

Summary: In the logistics process, loading and unloading is an essential part. If you want to improve logistics efficiency, improving loading and unloading efficiency is a very good breakthrough.

Further Reading:

What scenarios can the space-saving mezzanine floor pallet racking be used in?

Four types of dock ramp

How to determine the specification parameters and dimensions of pallet racking

Differences and similarities between pallet racking and narrow aisle racking

Ultimate guide to high rack storage

What are the advantages of light duty shelving?

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