With the emergence of industrialisation in small urban centres and rural areas, beyond trains, the use of small-scale transport kept pace with the rhythm and reach of industry production.

28. Truck, loaded with products, from the first Bulgaria glass wool and insulation factory. 1961-2, Period of State Socialism. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.


Transport infrastructures (i.e railways and roadways) have always been central to the logistics costs and distribution efficiency of factories. They also delineated the location of industrial settlements in the urban landscape.
In today’s globalised context with growing outsourcing of services, are industries still responsible for managing all the processes of transportation and distribution?

29. Building, Triunfo feed factory in Coimbra. 1956-1997. Teófilo Rego Archive, Casa da Imagem – Manuel Leão Foundation, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Transport and distribution are structures or infrastructures endowed with internal coherence inscribed in the territory with the purpose of transporting people, goods or materials. Due to their complex articulation and their heritage value, they may or may not be associated with industrial infrastructure. For example, the water distribution network or the electricity supply system.

Distribution is linked to the movement of the product and therefore includes transport and delivery operations after leaving the production chain. There are several distribution channels and their selection is related to the maximum customer satisfaction and the lowest associated cost. The technology associated with new management systems (Digital Revolution) has allowed issues related to the delivery of goods, stock management, raw material or final products, allowing real-time monitoring.

The choice of location of an industrial infrastructure has systemic preoccupations and is conditioned by the presence and proper functioning of transport and distribution networks. Workers are a relevant actor in transport and distribution operations. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) promotes practical international cooperation and joint action to ensure that European integration results in progress for workers, based on the establishment and implementation of high social standards. In particular, the ETF Dockers Section represents dockers, white-collar employees in terminals and port authorities, maintenance workers, and other categories of workers in port operations and port logistics. They act at various levels to steer these changes for the benefit of port workers and their communities.