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The Importance of Surface Cargo in the Logistics Industry


Sanjay Negi

Assistant Director @ Shiprocket

February 24, 2022

4 min read

It is essential to transport goods in the most cost and time-efficient manner in the eCommerce world. Therefore, an efficient supply chain is crucial for an online business to stay ahead of its competition and satisfy its customers.

The Importance Of Surface Cargo In The Logistics Industry

Essentially, an online business can choose to ship its products through the primary six modes of transportation, i.e., road, air, rail, maritime, intermodal, and pipeline. However, surface cargo is the most used shipping mode most online sellers use.

Surface cargo is a prevalent mode of transportation and is the best option to ship causation/dangerous products otherwise prohibited through the air. Surface cargo is supplying/shipping goods through the land, i.e., land, railways, etc. It is the most cost-efficient service but can sometimes be time-consuming as well when compared to air shipping.

Importance of Surface Cargo

The business landscape in India has been changing at a fast pace. With the worldwide pandemic, there has been a change in consumer behavior. Customers have now shifted towards purchasing online even to meet their basic requirements. To fulfill their demand, the logistics industry has also evolved. In particular, it has seen a rise in technology, quality software, and better operations to deliver goods seamlessly.

However, even after all this new-age innovation, the logistics industry still heavily depends on the surface movement of the goods. Seamless cargo services include a fast-paced road and rail transport network. However, the fast-paced surface movement of the goods is challenging given how big India is. Therefore, the logistics service provider needs to have a large cargo fleet and move appropriately throughout the country. On top of that, there is also a need to track the movement of goods, their storage, and distribution.

Advantages of Surface Cargo for Online Business

Door-to-Door Service

Door-to-door delivery is one of the most significant advantages of surface cargo. From the source to destination, every door order delivery makes the surface cargo the best and most sought-after shipping mode, as this is something that no other transportation mode can provide. This reduces the number of expenses, like cartage, loading, unloading, etc.

Rural Area Delivery

Road transportation is also a very flexible and adaptable mode as it helps deliver products to rural areas where the other modes like rail, air, and water can’t reach. Hence, surface cargo is also suited for shipping products to and from rural areas. You can ship and deliver your products in tier-1, tier-2, and tier-3 cities with surface cargo with many conveniences.

Flexibility in Service

The routes and timings can be adjusted in surface cargo as per individual requirements – this provides much ease to the transporter. Naturally, this is another advantage that surface cargo has on offer and makes it a better option than other modes of transport, which are rigid and inflexible regarding their schedules and timings.


Surface cargo is a cost-effective option as it requires less capital investment from businesses that have just started to sell online. The operation and maintenance costs are also less. You can also tie-up with surface cargo shipping providers like Shiprocket Cargo that have top carriers on their platform and offer shipping to 28,000+ pin codes in India at the lowest freight rates.

Suitable for Shorter Distances

Road transport is the best option for short distances. It costs less and is a quicker option as well. You can deliver your products on the same day or one day to short distances with surface cargo. Also, product delivery delays due to loading and handling can be avoided when the products are directly loaded into the delivery vehicle and transported straight to the end consumer. So, intermediate costs can also be eliminated.

Rapid Speed

Surface cargo is your go-to option if you want to deliver products faster. Water transport is slow, and air and railway transport take a lot of packaging, documentation, and formalities. These are tedious modes of transportation as well. Road transportation is a quicker, more flexible, and hassle-free option.

Feeder to Other Transportation Modes

Since no other mode of transportation offers doorstep services, surface cargo works as a feeder to different modes of transport. Hence, if your cargo is transported via rail, air, or water, the movement of goods from the warehouse to the dock, railway station, and airport and ultimately from dock, railway station, and airport to the final destination is done via road. Road transport acts as the feeder connectivity for all other modes of transportation.

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