What is Intermodal Shipping?

Posted by Port City Logistics on Jan 6, 2021 4:30:00 PM

Intermodal shipping is the movement of freight using two or more modes of transportation. Using intermodal containers to transport goods allows a seamless shipment between trains, trucks, and cargo ships.

Intermodal shipments can be classified into two types: domestic intermodal and international intermodal. International intermodal shipments usually move in 20 or 40-foot containers. Goods always remain in containers as they are being moved through the ocean, trains, and trucks.

On the other hand, domestic intermodal shipments move using 53-foot containers. Despite the fact that that they are called domestic intermodal, goods can still be transported from overseas.

The major difference is that goods are always moved to a 53-foot domestic container from a 20 to a 40-foot international container once they arrive at a port.

How the process works when goods are shipped between trains and trucks:

  • Goods are loaded into a container
  • The truck moves the container to an intermodal ramp (usually a short distance away)
  • The container is removed from the chassis at the intermodal ramp and placed on a flat to be hauled by a train
  • PCL CTA 2 (4)On reaching the next intermodal ramp, it is again moved into a struck before being taken into a warehouse

Benefits of intermodal freight shipping

Intermodal freight shipping has many benefits compared to other options. Here are a few of the advantages:

  • It is cost-effective because the owner of the shipment doesn’t have to incur the cost of moving goods from one container to another
  • Large capacity – containers used in intermodal shipments are large in size and can accommodate a lot of products in one trip
  • Fuel efficiency – The number of trucks used to move containers is significantly reduced hence saving on fuel
  • It is a consistent and reliable service
  • Intermodal freight shipping is sustainable compared to long-haul trucks

Why should shoppers choose intermodal freight shipping?

Considering the previously mentioned benefits, intermodal can give shippers a smart option of shipping goods using trucks alone. Intermodal also provides customers rail transportation to customers who don’t have trucking facilities.


Economics of intermodal

One of the major benefits of using intermodal freight shipping is the ability to save money. If your business involves moving goods over long distances, then intermodal cargo shipping is the best way to reduce operational expenses.

We are living in a world where business competition is getting stiffer every day. Most business owners are looking for ways to minimize expenses and at the same time deliver products 

quickly to their clients. Both international and domestic intermodal systems are crucial in realizing this.


Who is best suited to use intermodal?

Intermodal freight shipping can be used by almost every shipper. Intermodal is highly accessible because there is normally no requirement for trucks at the origin or destination of your goods. This ensures that your products arrive on time without any barriers. 

How do you know if an intermodal shipment is the best for you?

According to logistics experts, hauling distance is the primary determinant as to whether this transportation method suits your business or not.

Besides, the proximity of a terminal or rail hub matters a lot. If the drayage distance is a bit long, then then it won’t be too economical for you.


What products can be shipped using intermodal?

With the intermodal freight approach, it is possible to ship almost any product. All you have to do is to ensure that the products are legally acceptable and can be move using containers. You can transport tires, vehicles, consumer goods, and many more.


What is the first step in using intermodal?

According to logistics experts, the first step is to understand the process and determine its suitability for your business. After learning its use for your business, we recommend contacting a strong provider in your area. From there, they'll help you begin the next steps. 


Contact Port City Logistics for Your Shipping Needs

If you’re looking for the best intermodal shipper available, contact Port City Logistics. Our team of expert staff will create the perfect solution for your business needs. We’ll help you further understand intermodal shipping. For your exclusive quote, click the link below. 


Topics: Logistics Management, The Costs of Shipping, Third Party Logistics (3PL)