An Insider’s Guide to Intermodal Shipping

by John Rediehs on August 19, 2016 No comments

As you research the different types of shipping methods that are available for industrial shipping, you’ll probably see intermodal trucking show up more than a few times in your endeavors.

Intermodal freight transport is a method of shipping that utilizes an intermodal container or vehicle and uses multiple modes of transportation (ship, rail, and truck) to get the product to its end destination. During the shipments, there is no handling of the freight itself when it changes modes.

It’s an oft-chosen shipping method because it reduces cargo handling and in turn improves security. It also reduces damages and loss, and allows freight to be transported faster.

If you’re trying to compare it to other modes to see what the best choice is for your specific shipments, starting by learning about different shipping methods is the best way to do so.

Transportation Modes

The intermodal method of shipping involves more than one mode of shipping. If you’re trying to decide whether to go that route or to use use one method, the best way to determine is by learning about the various methods available.

Shipping via truck can be a good option, but if you need to ship overseas, that’s not going to cut it. If you need to ship by rail, but the railroads don’t connect to exactly where the destination is, you’ll need another method for completing the trip.

In other words, if your shipment is going somewhere in the contiguous United States and a railroad can’t get it there directly, you’ll want to be using intermodal shipping.

Overseas shipments are almost guaranteed to be intermodal shipments, as they will have to go from steam ship to another mode to reach their destination.

Intermodal shipping is an environmentally friendly way to ship, especially when compared to five-axle truck movements, because intermodal shipments are four times more efficient when it comes to fuel use. To simplify that, one ton of freight on a five axle truck burns four gallons of fuel, while the same size shipment as an intermodal door to door shipment will only burn one gallon of fuel.

Intermodal Containerization and Why It’s Good for Business

With this information in mind—the fuel efficiency—it’s easy to see why some businesses gravitate to intermodal shipping methods. The savings in fuel is passed on from third party logistics providers to the customers/businesses, which makes door-to-door intermodal shipping the most economic shipping method for products that are traveling more than 500 miles.

Intermodal containers are convenient because they come in many different sizes to accommodate a large range of shipments. The common measurements are 20- or 40-foot long containers that are either eight feet, six inches tall, or nine feet six inches tall.

The latter are known as high-cube containers. These containers are so common that, in 2012, there were about 20.5 million intermodal containers in the world to suit a variety of different cargos. In 2010, these containers accounted for 60 percent of the world’s seaborne trade.

In other words, intermodal shipping is not only incredibly popular, but it’s an essential method of doing business in this world.

What Types of Products Are Shipped Through Intermodal Methods?

Intermodal shipping is so popular in part because of how versatile it is. It can accommodate a large range of different products, from electronics to refrigerated products, building materials to farm equipment, and everything in between.

Intermodal shipping is designed to accommodate plenty of different industries. If you’re not sure if your products will be compatible with intermodal shipping methods, contact us at Red Dog Logistics any time.

We’re happy to discuss your shipping needs with you and find the most economically efficient method of doing so, as well as setting up the shipments for you.

Intermodal shipping is safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly. All parties in the supply chain use state of the art technology to monitor shipments, so you’ll always know where your merchandise is, and the days of sacrificing speed for savings are gone. Intermodal shipping is fast and cost effective, making it a popular option.

Learn more about intermodal shipping and our other services today, or request a quote using our online rate quote tool. For more information about anything we at Red Dog Logistics do, contact us today!

John RediehsAn Insider’s Guide to Intermodal Shipping

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