Transportation is the movement of people and goods from one location to another. Throughout history, the economic wealth and military power of a people or a nation have been closely tied to efficient methods of transportation. Transportation provides access to natural resources and promotes trade, allowing a nation to accumulate wealth and power. Transportation also allows the movement of equipment and food supplies so that a nation can have access to food all year round. Transportation is vital to a nation’s economy. 1.1
No matter whether they are genetically modified, certified organic or grown using conventional farming methods, no matter if partially processed for use as food ingredients or canned, food commodities and products have a significant commonality: They require multiple steps in their transportation between point of origin and point of use. The transportation of foods and commodities involves every conceivable form of conveyance, including planes, boats, barges, railcars, tankers, trucks and even pack animals. Foods and food ingredients are shipped frozen, refrigerated and at ambient temperatures. They are shipped whole, by the bushel, in bunches, bundles, or in boxes, stretch-wrapped on pallets. Poly-lined barrels, buckets or baskets are frequently used to transport an assortment of powders, purees and pastes. Foodstuffs are shipped in open-bed gondolas, dry-box sea containers, and in the cargo holds of ocean-going freighters. Transportation systems and the routes they use have greatly influenced the availability of food. A typical series of food journeys or transportation might be as follows: 1.
Raw ingredients are taken from their source to their place of primary processing. This might include washing and cutting. 2.
The constituent elements of the end product (both ingredients and packaging) are brought to the manufacturing plant where they are processed and packed. This can involve a number of journeys. The more complex the end product the more transport is likely to be involved. 3.
The finished product may be taken to a consolidation centre where it is consolidated with other goods destined for a number of retailers. 4.
The consolidated load can travel on to a regional distribution centre (RDC) or a national distribution centre (NDC). 5.
A full load from the distribution centre travels on to stores. 6.
Returnable packaging may be backhauled to the distribution centre. Supplier products may be backhauled to a national or regional distribution centre during a delivery vehicle’s return journey from a store. 7.
The customers may drive to and from the store, or in some cases the goods may be delivered by van directly to the customer. 8.
Unwanted goods and unrecoverable waste travel to landfill sites (or occasionally to incinerators), usually by road
Why food is transported
Foods are transported over long distances for several reasons: to feed densely populated areas that could not otherwise acquire enough food locally, to provide consumers with greater variety and to capitalize on the advantages of places in producing certain foods. Consumers’ demand for out-of-season foods is, another motivation for distributing food widely, for example, food production is largely suspended over the dry season. Shipping in food from countries and neighbouring towns is one way to address the continued demand for foods that cannot be produced locally in the dry season. Thus, transportation systems and the routes they use have greatly influenced the availability of food. Transporting food also allows regions to specialize in producing the goods that they are best suited for. Taking a Nigeria as a case study, in the south western part it has poor conditions for growing fruits like carrot, cabbage, onions unlike the northern part, but suitable for diverse leafy vegetables. Although the northern part doesn’t hold an advantage over the southern western part, it specializes in...
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