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Transport and logistics

Container port: rows of stacked shipping containers and cranes

Movement of people and goods is fundamental to economic and social activities. Effective transport and logistics are essential to support economic development and engagement in the global economy.

So what is the difference between transport and logistics? Logistics is the management of the flow of things between their point of origin and their point of consumption, while transportation is the mechanism for moving things.

Logistics requires careful planning. Each movement starts somewhere, may have a number of stops on route and ends with a final destination. When transport systems are running efficiently we take them for granted. However, we are increasingly dependent on globalised transport systems to support all aspects of our lives, and it is only when things go wrong that we notice them.

Ensuring our transport and logistics systems run efficiently and effectively is of crucial importance to people, business and the economy. The process requires considerable skill and knowledge, from thinking about the size, shape, weight and other physical characteristics of each product to be shipped, to mapping routes and eliminating unnecessary mileage covered by delivery vehicles.

Much of the thinking is geographical in nature, focusing on spatial analysis and the need to better understand specialised concepts such as systems and flows, globalisation, interdependence and sustainability.

For a summary of the value of logistics and the work of CILT, watch this video:

These GA resources, produced in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK – CILT (UK), address a number of pressing issues through engaging enquiry questions that explore a range of aspects of transport and logistics. They develop greater geographical knowledge and understanding and encourage students to apply this knowledge in real-world contexts and ‘think like geographers’. At the same time, students are improving a range of skills that are important in the workplace – communication, numeracy, IT, problem-solving and working with others.

There are eight lesson plans with accompanying material, each on a different sector. They are designed to provide contexts that engage students with their topicality and relevance to their lives, as well as offering scope for explorations using tools such as spatial technologies and GIS, fieldwork, web-based research and literacy tasks.



Lesson one: Supply chain

Lesson two: Road haulage

Lesson three: Railways

Lesson four: City bikes

Lesson five: Buses and coaches

Lesson six: Shipping containers

Lesson seven: Internet shopping

Lesson eight: Humanitarian relief




Alan Parkinson is Head of Geography at King’s Ely Junior with responsibility for KS2/3. He is a Primary Geography Champion for the East of England, and also serves on the GA’s Secondary Phase Committee.

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