Transport of goods is the physical movement of goods from origin to destination. In its most simple form it involves a single pick-up and direct transport to a delivery point. Transport can become very complex when goods are moved between continents or through a number of countries using various modes of transport. This can involve consolidating and deconsolidating the goods into larger loads for transportation efficiency and costing purposes. Also goods may pass through a number of ports, warehouses and storage locations, perhaps involving examinations and inspections where a considerable number of parties have a role in organizing and executing the total transport chain. And this whilst staying within the agreed dates and terms of delivery between seller and buyer, and keeping track of the goods during transport, delivering status reports to the owners of the goods, and dealing with the regulatory procedures of a number of authorities.

Transport of goods involves a considerable number of documentary requirements, which allow authorities to monitor the transport route, the means of transport (ship, aircraft, truck, railway wagons, barges), the transport equipment and packaging used (containers, pallets, etc.) and the goods being transported and their adherence to requirements for type and amount.

Role of international transport conventions

International transport conventions provide a legal and documentary framework for the movement of goods by different modes of transport, and the documents accompanying them (CMR for road, CIM for rail, Air Waybill, Bill of Lading for maritime). Many of the documentary requirements stem from international conventions that have been approved over decades. A list of international agreements cites UNECE Agreements and Conventions.

Other requirements exist for multimodal or intermodal transport, partly to allow the use of more than one mode and partly for specific equipment used for intermodal transport. International Transport Organizations play an important role in developing trade facilitation measures and in implementing relevant tools in the transport sector. International transport covers import to, export from, and transit between countries. Transit transport operations can be difficult, time consuming and costly, as transit countries may seek to limit the number of transits. The TIR International Convention is of major assistance for arranging an international transit regime. Requirements for safety apply in particular for the handling of dangerous and obnoxious goods.

Transport modes

Ports and airports are locations where high volumes of cargo are transported and stored, especially for export and import. Port management can contribute considerably to speeding these processes by organizing an efficient and smooth passage of goods in and out of the ports.
A major concern nowadays is the security of goods during transport. Specific trade faciliation measures exist to monitor and control security whilst interrupting the physical flow of goods to the least possible extent.