Intermodal transportation involves transporting large items in steel containers via trucks, trains, and ships. Unlike unimodal transportation, this method optimizes each mode’s benefits while minimizing its drawbacks. Let’s examine the advantages of intermodal transport, how to optimize operations, and how to stay ahead of industry trends.
Advantages of Intermodal Transportation
- Increased efficiency: Intermodal shipping lets you pick the ideal unit load per product. This speeds up loading, unloading, and document distribution.
- Cost savings: By harnessing the strengths of multiple transportation methods, you can save money and improve productivity.
- Reduced environmental impact: Businesses significantly lower their carbon footprint through intermodal transport shipping.
- Ports: Ports use cranes and other machinery to load and unload shipping containers.
- Rail yards: Rail yards are huge, open areas, generally near ports and cities, where freight containers are exchanged from railways to trucks.
- Trucking terminals: Usually located near major highways and rail yards, trucking terminals are the hubs for cargo exchange between trucks and railroads.
- Container ships: Container ships are maritime vessels with equipment for loading and unloading containers.
- Trains: Trains are efficient for long-distance travel and can transport numerous containers.
- Trucks: Trucks with freight container trailers move cargo between terminals.
- Planning: Figuring out how and when goods will be transported depending on weather, temperature, and whether the shipment contains hazardous materials.
- Scheduling: Managing each leg of the trip for timely delivery.
- Tracking: Advanced technology allows for real-time freight tracking.
Piracy, theft, terrorism, and accidents have plagued the logistics industry. Customs and border control authorities examine cargo for illegal goods like drugs and firearms and verify the cargo’s and shippers’ identities. Businesses need robust security in port facilities, distribution centers, and warehouses to avoid cargo theft and ensure load accountability.
Emerging Trends in Intermodal Transportation
- New technology: Connecting intermodal equipment and systems with new technology improves shipment tracking, monitoring, and control.
- Alternative fuels: Biofuels, hydrogen, and natural gas minimize pollution.
- Supply chain optimization: As global supply chains become more complicated, intermodal transportation companies use lean logistics, just-in-time delivery tactics, and analytics solutions to streamline routing, shorten transit times, and cut costs.
With a growing intermodal transport system, port criminality and container breaching are rising. Technology solutions, such as port automation and viable container security, can help with this problem by guaranteeing consistent results and boosting efficiency.
Best Practices and Tips
Here are some best practices and tips for optimizing intermodal transportation operations to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase sustainability.
- Choose the least time-consuming and most reliable transportation option for each segment of the trip and plan routes to avoid congested areas and boost efficiency.
- By understanding when it’s best to use intermodal transport, businesses can save a lot of money and have their cargo arrive on schedule.
- By coordinating delivery, you can minimize the number of trucks on the road and their environmental impact.
Intermodal transportation is the best option for improving supply chain efficiency. As an independent agent of Landstar, Jansson recognizes the challenges its customers face when navigating intermodal transportation and is dedicated to addressing those issues with creative solutions. Get in touch with us if you need assistance arranging intermodal transport.