When Should I Consider Intermodal Shipping?


When Should I Consider Intermodal Shipping?

There are several shipping options available for your freight. Sometimes it can be difficult to know which will best fits your needs. One of those to consider for your freight is intermodal shipping. What is it? Intermodal shipping is the use of two or more modes to get the product from shipper to receiver. Another good term to know when talking about intermodal shipping is drayage. Drayage describes the trucking service from an ocean port or rail ramp. Most often intermodal includes trucks and rail as the modes, so that’s what we’ll focus on for this article.

Most anything that can ship via truckload can be shipped intermodal. Here are some qualifiers on if your shipments make sense to ship intermodal:

  • You are looking to reduce shipping costs.
  • You want to reduce risk during travel and have less handling of your product.
  • You want your company to be more environmentally considerate with your shipping.
  • You have long distance shipments, over 300 miles.
  • You have a lot of freight to move and a flexible delivery timeline.
  • You have frequent shipments going to the same locations in similar quantities.

If any of the above qualifiers sound like you and your freight shipments, read on to learn about some of the benefits of switching up to intermodal shipping for your transportation.

Benefits of Intermodal Shipping

Move a Lot of Product

A single train can move a load size equal to 280 truckloads. Essentially, you have an entire fleet at your disposal. High volume shipments meet maximum efficiency when shipping intermodal. This can save you time and money by reducing costs on fuel and labor.

Quick(er) Shipping

Most people wouldn’t imagine intermodal being quick enough. Not too long ago, it would take about two weeks for a coast-to-coast shipment. Now, it only takes about seven days. If your delivery date is more flexible and not immediate, intermodal can make sense for your shipments. Additionally, intermodal sees less disruptions, making it more reliable than truckload. Intermodal does not have to worry about traffic patterns, weigh stations, check points, or other issues compared to trucking.

Stay Green

Intermodal is more fuel efficient than trucking. More product can be delivered through one mode and with less fuel. A train can move almost 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), replacing Over-The-Road shipments exceeding 1,000 miles with intermodal shipping reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent. Additionally, better fuel efficiency means savings on shipping costs.

Reduced Risk

When choosing to ship intermodal, shippers have far less exposure to roadway collisions, which means less chance of damage to your product. The risk of damage is also lowered because freight is loaded onto containers and not directly handled when changing between truck and rail. Theft concerns are reduced as railyards are constantly monitored and no one can go in or out without documentation.

If you’re seeking to increase efficiencies in your supply chain logistics and transportation, intermodal is one mode to highly consider. The idea of using intermodal shipping over truckload can be intimidating and choosing an experience and knowledgeable provider, such as Trinity Logistics, can make the change an easy one.

Learn how intermodal shipping could benefit your company. Connect with us by requesting a quote on your freight.

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AUTHOR: Christine Griffith