Intermodal Transportation Services

One container. Multiple modes of transportation. Reduced costs. Intermodal transportation lowers the cost of shipping by utilizing containers that can move freight between trucks on highways, trains on railways, and cargo ships on seas. It is also more fuel efficient, allowing shippers to take advantage of rail even when they’re not located near a track. Loading freight into an intermodal container also reduces necessary handling of goods in transit, leading to enhanced security. While it might not always be available, discussing intermodal shipping options with a logistics expert is well worthwhile.

What Is Intermodal Transportation?

Intermodal transportation is a shipping method that involves moving freight by at least two different modes. Going between truck and train is most common, although cargo ships may also be involved (particularly if there is product coming from overseas). The process of transporting an intermodal container by truck after loading it at a seaport is known as drayage. A domestic intermodal container is 53 feet long, and it is loaded with products at its origin location, usually on a trailer to prepare for intermodal trucking. There is a lot that goes into it, but understanding intermodal shipping, and whether it is feasible for your company, can lead to substantial savings.

What Are the Advantages of Intermodal Freight Transport for Your Business?

When intermodal freight transport is available for your products, it can offer several benefits, including:

  • Cost Savings – Intermodal can save you money, especially if you’re shipping freight over long distances. Rail shipping is a known money-saver due to its ability to move a lot of cargo on relatively little fuel. Intermodal shipping allows you to take advantage of this even if you’re not close to a railway.
  • Safety & Security – Because you load your goods into an intermodal container that does not usually need to be opened until it reaches the destination, there is minimal handling along the route. This means a lower likelihood of theft, improper handling, damage, and overall loss.
  • Capacity – Railways often have a high shipping capacity, allowing for efficient and consistent transportation.

The biggest downside to intermodal transportation is that it’s not available for every shipper or shipment. While you don’t need a railway at the point of origin, there must be one within a feasible distance, otherwise a traditional full truckload shipment may be the better option.

Additionally, the appropriate infrastructure must be in place for transferring the intermodal container from seaport or railway to truck or flatbed. Discussing your options with an intermodal logistics expert can help you reach a conclusion about the best option for your business.

How Can Rafferty Global Logistics' Intermodal Transportation Services Help You?

At Rafferty Global Logistics, we know when intermodal shipping is right for your situation. We’ll discuss all your options with you to ensure you’re getting the best price possible. Our logistics services cover long-haul domestic transcontinental intermodal freight transport coast to coast, as well as drayage at all major U.S. ports.

If you want to learn more about intermodal transportation, reach out to Rafferty Global Logistics today.