Transshipment (logistics)

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In logistics, transshipment or handling is one of the three main processes (TUL processes) alongside storage and transport . Transshipment is a process in which goods change means of transport , i.e. are loaded from a truck onto a ship or train, for example. The terms loading and unloading are sometimes used synonymously with transshipment, and sometimes they stand for loading . In some cases, sorting, storage, retrieval and picking are also included in the handling . In the case of people, one speaks of changing . In DIN 30781-1, transshipment is defined as “the entirety of the conveying and storage processes when goods are transferred to a means of transport, when goods leave a means of transport and when goods change means of transport.” The transshipment can be carried out manually, automatically or automatically become. The handling performance is the amount of goods handled per unit of time (e.g. year, month, day, hour). The turnover rate indicates how often the mean annual inventory of a warehouse is turned over. The stock can be specified in terms of value (e.g. in euros) or in terms of quantity (e.g. in tons) .

Transfer points

The place of the transfer is called the transfer point . The transfer point can be located within a company, as part of the internal material flow . It can also be the interface between internal and external transport, for example when goods from the precast warehouse are loaded onto a truck and transported to customers. External transshipment can take place at ports , airports , train stations (e.g. at transshipment stations ) and freight traffic centers . Often the delivery quantities of several transmitters are bundled and then transported together, saving transport costs. This can lead to a change in the mode of transport.

Transport chains

Transport chains are classified according to whether there is a transshipment in them (multi-link transport chain) or not (single-link transport chain). In the second case, the entire transport is carried out with a single means of transport (truck, plane). In the first case, a distinction is made as to whether the mode of transport is also changed. If the transshipment takes place between two means of transport of different modes of transport (e.g. from a truck to a ship), one speaks of intermodal transport . Usually only the load carrier (container) is reloaded; sometimes the truck goes into the ship or on the train ( piggyback transport ).

Handling equipment

Transshipment machines are technical equipment with which the transshipment is carried out. They can be simple pallet trucks or cranes. Gantry cranes , which mostly travel on rails, are often used for handling containers in ports and train stations . The transport of a single container, in a port or railway station premises is carried out with straddle carriers (straddle carrier). There are also heavy forklifts ( reach stackers ), heavy forklifts and side loaders .


  • Arnold et al. (Ed.): Handbuch Logistik. Springer, 3rd edition, 2008, pp. 7, 17, 407 f., 504, 508, 739.
  • Michael ten Hompel, Volker Heidenblut: Taschenlexikon Logistik. Springer, 2nd edition, 2006, p. 296 f.