Freight transport is an essential component of global trade, and companies are increasingly looking for more efficient and cost-effective ways to move their products through the various transportation networks.
In this context, the terms“intermodal transport” and“multimodal transport” are common, and although both involve the use of different modes of transport, there are significant differences between them.
In this article, we will explore in detail the concept of intermodal transportation, its types, advantages and differences with multimodal transportation. If you want to learn more about this efficient way of moving goods, read on.
What is intermodal transport?
Intermodal transport refers to the movement of goods using at least two different modes of transport, such as trucks, ships, railroads and airplanes, without the need to handle the cargo in transit.
Through intermodal transport it is possible to transport all the goods in a single container called Intermodal Transport Units (ITU).
Intermodal transport combines the flexibility and capacity of different modes of transport, enabling logistics providers to offer more efficient and cost-effective transport solutions to their customers.
In summary, intermodal transport is a form of transportation that offers greater efficiency and flexibility in the movement of goods.
Types of intermodal transport
We can find different types of intermodal transportation, some of the most common examples are:
Road and rail transportation. A transport that uses road trucks and freight trains. The goods are in containers or boxes.
Road and maritime transportation. Trucks are usually transported inside ships. Containers can also be unloaded from one transport to another.
Rail and maritime. Combination of rail and maritime transport, trains arrive at ports and goods are loaded onto ships for transport.
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Advantages of intermodal transport
Intermodal transportation has certain advantages that help carriers improve the efficiency of the entire transportation process:
Intermodal transportation offers the flexibility of using different modes of transport to move goods, allowing companies to adapt to the specific needs of each shipment.
Intermodal transport is more efficient than conventional transport, as it uses the combination of modes of transport best suited to each period of the shipment, reducing costs and delivery times.
Intermodal transport can offer considerable cost savings depending on the length of the journey. The greater the distance, the greater the savings. Savings can range from 10% to 40% in fuel costs or goods handling costs.
Intermodal transport is more sustainable than conventional transport, as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact associated with freight transport.
Intermodal transport connects different modes of transportation and enables more effective integration of the supply chain, which can improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Differences with multimodal transport
These two types of transportation are often confused and generate doubts about their true meaning and differences.
The main difference between intermodal and multimodal transport is that the latter does not use the same unit load, which is the case in intermodal transport.
Another important difference is that in intermodal transport, each transport provider issues its own liability contract, while in multimodal transport, everything is unified in a single document.
There is no doubt that both types of transportation are two efficient alternatives to improve companies’ freight forwarding strategies.
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