Understanding Road Express Transport Services and Costs

Intra and Interstate Transport Services are a road based delivery service with the service levels being dictated by the time it takes for a vehicle to travel by road between the origin and delivery points.

Typically consignments will be picked up from the shipper one day and delivered to the consignee within one to seven business days after being picked up. The actual transit time will depend on the location of the consignee in relation to the shipper. The below matrix provides an overview of the transit times between Australian capital cities and major regional areas within Australia.

As an example:

  1. A consignment picked up from a shipper in Adelaide and bound for a consignee in Melbourne will be delivered the next business day.
  2. A consignment picked up from a shipper in Sydney and bound for a consignee in Perth will be delivered four business days later.

The above matrix is based on the number of workdays from pick up to delivery and will vary if there is a weekend or a public holiday inbetween the pick up date and the expected delivery date.

Road transport services are based on the “hub and spoke” model. Consignments are collected by the carrier from the shipper’s premises and returned to the carrier’s depot for consolidation. At the carrier’s depot the consignments are sorted by location (typically by destination state or depot) and loaded onto line haul vehicles (usually semi trailers) that will then travel to the destination hub.

Sorting at the origin hub can be done manually, based on a visual identification of the delivery address on a parcel, or it can be an automated process whereby the parcel will travel along a conveyor belt and be identified by a machine that reads a bar code printed on the parcel.

At the destination hub the consignments will be deconsolidated, either manually or via the automated conveyor belt process. At the destination hub however the consignments will sorted into “runs” or “routes. A “run or route” is typically a cluster of suburbs in the same geographical area or a single location that has a high volume of deliveries made to it on a daily basis.

Once the consignments have been sorted into the “run or route” at the destination hub they will be loaded onto smaller delivery vehicles and delivered to the consignees in that particular area.

Most road transport companies will guarantee delivery by 5pm but the reality is that delivery will normally occur between 9am and 3pm as the delivery vehicles are usually required to start picking up consignments that have been dispatched from shippers in their delivery area. These consignments then become the shipments that form part of the consolidation process for the next day’s activities.

See the Hub and Spoke Transportation Model diagram below for further explanation.


From a cost perspective rate schedules for this type of service are usually in the format of a basic charge and a per kilogram (KG) rate that will vary based on the destination of the shipment. The charges are based on the basic charge plus the changeable weight of the shipment multiplied by the per KG rate for the destination.ate for the dsitaintion es cubic weight of teh type of service is ususlay based on a basic and per kg rate There is usually a minimum charge for each consignment. The minimum charge per consignment will apply when the sum of the basic charge plus the per kg charge is less than the minimum charge for the destination.

As is the case with all freight charges, the chargeable weight for road express transport is based on the greater of the actual weight or the cubic weight. Road Express Transport is typically based on a conversion rate of one cubic metre being the equivalent of 250 kilograms.

To download a FREE Chargeable Weight Calculator for Road Express Transport shipmentsClick Here

Below is an example of a freight rate calculation.

To download a FREE Chargeable Weight Calculator for Road Express Transport shipments – Click Here

Transport Companies that provide this type of service include:


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