In the transportation business, a common misconception is that trucking is the best way to move a product. In this theory, the tuck alone is the way a shipper should go. While trucks are often the only way to ship a product, they are not always the best, most reliable and fastest way of doing so. Intermodal brokers realize this fact. While they continue to use trucks to haul loads, they also realize the necessity of incorporating other transportation methods into the shipping equation.
Characteristics of Intermodal Transportation
Intermodal transportation is a specific method of shipping freight from one place to another. Clearly defining this method are the following characteristics:
1. The shipment of freight must involve at least two transportation modes e.g. truck and rail or truck and freighter
2. It features at least two intermodal terminals or transfer points
3. The products must not be loose. They are confined to a container
4. The freight handlers never touch the actual products – only the container
Simply stated intermodal transportation involves the shipping of freight in intermodal containers through at least two terminals to its destination using a minimum of two different modes of transport.
Why Use Containers?
The intermodal industry relies heavily on containerization. Intermodal brokers depend on these vehicles to aid in the process – particularly in switching from one mode of transportation to another. Why do they prefer containers? The answer is simple. They:
- Provide safe transportation: Containers ensure the contents arrive safely without loss of products or damage
- Standardization: Containers are of a specific size and shape. This makes it easy to transfer them from one form of transportation to another without fuss
- Flexibility: Containers are able to hold a variety of products and goods of different types, sizes and shapes
Brokers, shippers and handlers know containers are durable, stackable and come in standard sizes. The favorite 20-foot box commonly appears at intermodal terminals. Made from aluminum (domestic shipping) or steel (maritime shipping), it is a classic in the industry.
Intermodal Brokers: Advantages in Transportation
When it comes to transportation of goods, indubitably the truck remains king of the road. However, this is not the only option a freight shipper should consider. A logistics system embraces the concept of intermodal transportation. It recognizes the basic advantages that arise from not depending upon a single mode of transportation. If nothing else, when trucks are at a premium and truck drivers in short supply, railway options are available.
When it comes to maximizing the ability of freight companies to deliver their products; when it is essential to get the goods to their destination undamaged and on time, logistic companies understand they require more than one option. They know it is always important to have another way of delivery that is safe, fast and reliable. Intermodal brokers realize their method – intermodal freight transportation, offers clients that unique and effective alternative.
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