The title of this chapter includes three terms, namely logistics, distribution and transport, all of which have a central role in the treatment of the topic, and as will be for the rest of this book. However, the precise meanings of these terms continue to cause some confusion. Various definitions have been put forward in the past which differ considerably. This is, however, understandable not only because their meaning tends to change depending on the industry in which they are applied, or even evolve over time, but also due to the overlap in the elements they cover. In the following, we will attempt to differentiate these terms, not for the purpose of arriving at yet another set of definitions, but to reduce any element of confusion for the reader of the book, at least in the way that they will be used in the remainder of the exposition:
Transport is the actual movement of goods from one location to another using a means or a vehicle of transport (e.g. trains, trucks, boats) and a transport infrastructure (e.g. roads, railways, canals).
Distribution often denotes all activities relevant to physical movement of goods, including transportation, but also transhipment and warehousing.
Logistics is generally used as an overarching term that includes all activities related to the movement and coordination of goods from their source of origin to the final point of delivery, and includes production and distribution. Here, movement does not just correspond to physical movement of goods but also the flow of information.