The Ins and Outs of Intermodal


What is intermodal?

It involves moving freight using two or more modes of transportation, without any handling while changing modes. An example of intermodal transport would be going from truck, to rail, to truck, to ship and back to truck.

The type of trucking between the rail and the ocean port is often called drayage and is a very specialized form of truck transport. The cargo containers used for intermodal are durable steel containers specifically built for the easiest possible transition between these different modes. 


Why should you use intermodal?

Eliminating the risk of directly handling shipments reduces the chance of your freight being lost or damaged during the shipping process. Intermodal is also a great way to combat seasonal capacity crunches and it can help keep our planet healthy by reducing the amount of gas emissions that go along with trucking. 

If that wasn’t enough, it’s also extremely cost effective. Trains can move nearly one ton of freight for almost 450 miles on one gallon of fuel. Not only are you saving on fuel costs, but since there is no physical handling of goods, it cuts down on manual labor costs too. 


When should you use intermodal?

Freight that is moving over 750 miles, or will be on the road for more than one day, is a great candidate for intermodal. The longer the distance your freight needs to travel, the higher the fuel consumption will be, so the more that intermodal makes sense as a cost effective solution. 

Freight with a low or medium price value is also a good choice for intermodal, as high value items are often sent via the most direct methods like air shipping. Another good candidate for intermodal is freight with continuous LTL shipments of a similar size to the same location multiple days a week. 

At the end of the day, intermodal is a reliable and trusted shipping method that ultimately decreases your carbon footprint while keeping the most money in your pocket.

If you’re interested in intermodal transport, contact the experts at Radius today!