Meeting Transportation Needs Efficiently

The supply chain is a hierarchy of multi-modal and integrated functions that must all be preserved and protected together from disruption. Bottlenecking or eliminating any link in the chain will impact the flow of goods throughout the whole system.

To that end, the exhibit below identifies the critical freight transportation and logistics functions and roles that should be part of a detailed national standard – across all modes, for shippers of all sizes, and for both domestic and international shipments.

All of the entities shown are critical to keeping supplies flowing: Makers – such as manufacturers, packagers, and distributors – produce and direct goods through the transportation system. Movers – such as ports, motor carriers, railroads, and third-party logistics providers – physically move or coordinate the movement of goods. And mobilizers –from hotels and fuel stops to spare parts makers and repair services – provide the support services necessary to keep the system functioning…


Essential Freight Transportation and Logistics Functions and Roles


Pull products through the supply chain


Domestic or international manucfacturers, assembers, packages, growes, and any entity involved in creating goods for consumption

Interact with distributors, shippers, and retailers (what to make and how sell it)

A producer can also be a shipper (e.g., of inbound materials for production)


Importers, exporters, and third­ party warehousing providers that facilitate the distribution of goods Interact with shippers and retailers (where to send which goods)


Shippers or retailers that pull product through the system to demand

Must retain functions that prioritize and execute the order to cash cycle


Move or coordinate the movement of goods


Carriers Companies that physically move goods, such as trucking, parcel, air, ocean, rail, etc.

Rely on equipment providers, transfer points, third-party loglsitcs, maintenance/repair


Transfer points and movement facilitators, Including ports, airports, truck stops, container/ trailer yards, fuel providers


Third-party logistics providers, forwarders, brokers, transport managers, etc.

Coordinate shipments and facilitate the movement of goods for shippers

Equipment providers

Provide equipment, such as trailers, containers, chassis, railcars, etc.


Provide essential support services

Crew support

Hotel rooms for mobile workers and crews, truck stops.and rest areas

Equipment/ infrastructure support

Maintenance and repair vendors to keep equipment/ infrastructure in working order

Spare parts providers than manufacture/distribute parts for critical equipment

Fuel suppliers and fueling stops


Infrastructure and systems support backbone, including transporation managmenet, communications infrastructure, and cloud services providers

Real-time transportation network monitoring and updating services