Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal transportation is the movement of freight using containers that are transported by more vehicles such as trucks, trains, semi-trailer trucks, and ships. The containers are moved with different modes of transport from shippers to their destination without the size of the freight container being changed during its transfer. This helps in reducing costs that could be incurred during the handling of the cargo.

How does intermodal transport work?
In most cases, the cargo is taken from a port or a warehouse and it is first transported by trucks for a short distance where it connects to a railroad. The freight is forwarded to the train while the freight remains in the same container. Later, the freight is loaded to a truck to move it to the last destination point. This mode of transport is suitable for food grade liquids as the products are perishable hence, they should be transported under set conditions to guarantee quality. Besides, it is also ideal for other finished goods with load units that do not exceed 25tonnes.

Benefits of intermodal transport
There are many advantages why companies are adopting intermodal freight transport in logistics when moving cargo from one place to another and they include;

Lower costs
The use of intermodal transportation has fewer costs because when the railway system is involved there is less fuel consumption than the road. Moreover, a single train can carry freight equivalent to 280 trucks, hence providing enhanced productivity. Additionally, there is less handling in intermodal freight transport since the loading and unloading of goods is done without changing the containers. The fuel efficiency, shipping in the same containers, and less handling enable businesses to save approximately 15-20%.

Environmentally friendly
Studies have demonstrated that intermodal transportation decreases the amount of carbon footprint that is released to the environment. For example, research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that embracing Intermodal transportation for journeys above 1000 miles reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 65%. On the other hand, if a company decides to move cargo over the road by use of trucks only, there will be more emission of harmful gas products.

Intermodal freight transport provides enhanced safety for cargo as compared to other methods. There are fewer accidents with trains meaning they can be relied on to carry all sorts of intermodal freight including highly flammable substances. The rail authorities usually ensure every sort of precaution is considered and some shippers have installed GPS trackers to reduce the risk of intermodal freight theft.

Intermodal transport is flexible and supports the transportation of freight with the most convenient means of transport meaning businesses cannot be affected by poor weather. For instance, if goods were being moved by trucks on the road and weather fluctuates, the cargo can be transferred to trains in nearby stations ensuring the smooth continuation of operations. Thus, adopting an intermodal framework leads to efficiency and delivery of quality service. The companies have realized that using intermodal transport is faster and reduces traffic on roads since the cargo is kept in the same container avoiding disruptive weight stations, and drayage when moving the goods from one point to another.

Intermodal transport is a great choice for companies that demand their cargo to be transported continuously while remaining safe without any interference of the quantities as long as they meet the international logistics standards. In fact, where freight is meant to be moved for long distances such as more than 300 miles, intermodal transportation is the best choice. Lastly, companies that deal with perishable and flexible freight can utilize intermodal freight transportation to reduce cost and energy improve efficiency.