Virtually every manufactured product we use has, at some point, been part of the global supply chain. In this regard, intermodal freight transport allows goods to move from place to place. Still, the role of the trucking company is indispensable.
This post details the role of an intermodal trucking company. We’ll also discuss the upsides of working with intermodal trucking companies to give you a better lay of the land.
How Intermodal Trucking Firms Operate
Intermodal shipping is the movement of goods using multiple modes of transportation, such as truck, rail, and ocean vessels. Based on this premise, what does intermodal trucking imply? Basically, it refers to using modular containers designed to move seamlessly between trucks, trains, or ocean liners without additional packaging or handling when switching modes.
The container being transported is considered a single cargo unit and is sealed and secured throughout the entire journey, except during customs inspections. Likewise, the carrier is responsible for contracting every step of an intermodal trucking shipment for the product.
Intermodal trucking is necessary for transporting freight at the beginning and end of many journeys. Think of it as a bridge between other modes of transport. For instance, a truck may deliver a container from its port of origin to the rail facility. Likewise, another truck may bring cargo back out of the same facility when ready for delivery to a distribution center or customer.
In other words, trucks facilitate easier access to and from railheads, ports, warehouses, and other locations not directly accessible by rail or other means. This is called drayage and is a key component of intermodal trucking services. The ability to cover short distances quickly also makes intermodal trucking a valuable asset for many businesses.
Intermodal trucking companies are responsible for providing complete turnkey services – from pick-up to delivery, they coordinate each step of the process, making it simpler and more efficient. They also utilize and manage various services and equipment, including trailers and cranes, to facilitate the transportation of goods.
The shipper typically gets a single invoice covering all the services involved in transporting their goods. That way, they don’t have to manage multiple contracts for each mode of transport. This simplifies and makes it easier to track the progress of shipments.
Benefits of Partnering with Intermodal Trucking Companies
So, how do you stand to gain from your partnership with an intermodal trucking company? The benefits below offer possible answers:
Trucks can access far-flung or hard-to-reach destinations yet also cover short distances. Thus, whether you need to deliver time-sensitive cargo or reach remote locations, trucks can transport them to their destination in time.
Plus, the carrier can use different modes of transport to ship your freight. Your intermodal trucking provider can also help you move cargo through a network of haulers, implying you don’t have to be limited to a single route or carrier.
Intermodal trucking is usually more affordable than regular truckload shipping, as you can take advantage of bulk pricing options. Moreover, the shipper only has to pay one invoice for services rendered.
Likewise, standardized containers allow the trucking company to transport any cargo, regardless of weight. The shipper may also stack them on rail cars to keep costs low. And although intermodal trucking implies the transportation of one container, most of the cargo’s journey is mostly by rail or other means, leading to cost efficiency. What’s more, the containers are reusable – you can keep the same container for multiple trips or send it back to the origin once empty.
The secure containers used in intermodal transport protect against theft or damage during transit. That’s because cargo requires less handling compared to traditional truckload shipping (as noted).
Scheduling intermodal trips is a breeze as they’re generally short. Plus, strict ocean or rail schedules promote consistency. Conversely, road transport often suffers from delays due to various aspects such as inclement weather, traffic, and other unavoidable factors.
All the same, the success of intermodal trucking depends on the competence of the shipper’s partner carrier. Therefore, it helps to find an experienced intermodal trucking company so that you can take advantage of their services. Thus, you can enjoy an integrated and cost-effective approach to your supply chain logistics.
5. Environmental Sustainability
Reliance on rail and other means significantly reduces carbon emissions compared to traditional truckload shipping. Plus, since containers are reusable and stackable, you can avoid additional waste from packing materials commonly used for powdered, granular and other goods. As such, intermodal trucking is an attractive option for businesses prioritizing environmental sustainability in their supply chain management.
Intermodal trucking companies have extensive networks of carriers and terminals, making them ideal partners for shippers. By working with them, you can take advantage of their services and improve the timeliness of your deliveries and streamline your business.