Transport items – what is it and when to use it?

Transport items has many synonyms that are used in transport and logistics. There are different ways to explain what transport items are and when to use it. It depends on whether if we talk about single-use or reusable transport items.

Transport item meaning

There are different transport item synonyms, for example: packaging, packaging material, reusable,  transport item, recyclable articles, packages, load carriers, returnable transport items (RTI), and a few more.

Basically the function is an efficient transportation of the goods from A to B whereby transport items ensure the protection of goods and efficiency.

Transport item definition according to the law describes the following:

Transport items: all products, made of materials of whatever nature, that can be used for enclosing, protecting, shipping, delivering and offering other products, from raw materials to finished products, over he entire process from producer to user of consumer.

Packaging and transport items include many more items than people will realize. Every logistic process has to deal with transport items at one point. The logistic process covers the entire supply chain, from raw materials to the final product. Single-use or returnable items are used in almost every logistic process.

For the goods that are delivered, purchased and transported, there is a considerable amount of transport items from time to time. There is a distinction between single-use and returnable items. To make it clear, we give some packaging examples.

Single-use transport item

Single-use items are designed in a way that it can be thrown away after use. The transport item has no value after use. The single-use transport item or packaging is often made from recycled materials. There are also single-use items that can’t be reused after use, because they lose their form and function. Examples of packaging that lose their form and function: cardboard, bags, fruit- and vegetable trays and fruit boxes. You can’t use this packaging after the first use because it has lost it function or appearance.

Examples of transport items that are made of recycled materials include are disposable pallets, black buckets and keykegs. You can often use them a second or third time, but the costs are already settled in the first time of use.

The purchase of single-use transport or packaging is relatively low. Sometimes the buyer also has to pay part of these costs. The amount that has to be paid depends on the moment in the supply chain. It is important to know is that single-use items often damage the environment. It has to be recycled and can eventually be re-processed into a new transport item or packaging item. Returnable transport items are processed less frequently, which means that it is less harmful to the environment. If you want a clear CSR strategy for your company, don’t forget to include transport items in this strategy.

Returnable transport items

Returnable items are designed to be use several times for the same transport purpose. When receiving transport items, it is often not possible to return the packaging directly because there are still goods on the items. After the goods are removed from the transport item, storage space is often required. If there is no proper packaging management on reusable items, it can happen that a large inventory of transport items is created, which companies are often unaware of. Recyclable transport items can represent a great value within a company.

Returnable items can be used more often, the purchase value is therefore higher. During the total lifetime of the reusable item.

Multi-use transport items can be used more often, the purchase value is therefore higher. During the total lifetime of the reusable packaging item, the costs per use will be cheaper than with one-off packaging. The number of times you can use a multiple item (the average life) you share through the purchase value and so you know what the costs per usage really are. The longer you can use the item, the cheaper the item becomes.

Registration and administration

Roll containers, bread crates, Euro pallets, cage container, glass/plate container, meat boxes, beer kegs, trailers are examples of returnable items. These are suitable for a sustainable economy. However, it is difficult to realize a sustainable economy if there is little attention for load carriers.

Every year, there is a reduce of transport items, between 4 and 8%. Transport items are given to transporters and you’ll never see some of them back. Or they are put in a corner of the warehouse and nobody noticed these items. There is no real focus on transport items at many companies, which makes it unclear where the current stock is. It seems a lot of work to record all incoming and outgoing load carriers but ultimately will give much information so you can reduce your costs.

When you register all flows and transactions with transport items you have real-time insight where everything is located. With this knowledge, a driver can simply be instructed to get back the  items. In this way you can work more efficiently and this has as positive side effect that it is also more sustainable!

In short the transport items meaning is very comprehensive and not all items can be shaved. Who wants to go for sustainable transport must also consider load carriers.


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