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Multimodal Shipping Explained

Multiple transportation and shipping methods are available to shippers today. However, one shipping mode is often not enough to move your freight to its destination. Maybe your goods are going a long way from another part of the world by ship or aircraft. In such a case the freight must be moved by road, air, and sea to reach its destination. As a result, shippers often need to combine transportation modes to get their goods to the right place. Logistic companies define two ways of such combination: intermodal and multimodal transport.

Multimodal v. Intermodal: What’s the Difference?

Both intermodal and multimodal transportation suggest using two or more shipping modes together. However, there are differences between intermodal and multimodal transport. When shipping intermodal, a different carrier is responsible for each part of your transportation. Consequently, this means several separate shipping bills and reports from each link in the chain. When using multimodal transport, all of your shipments are signed under a single bill of lading. Both transportation methods have benefits and drawbacks. For now, we’ll dive deep into multimodal.

Intermodal Transport

Intermodal freight is the transport of freight in a container or vehicle without handling the freight when changing modes. Several modes of transportation complete the cargo movement from origin to destination. A different transport carrier responsible for each method of the shipment in intermodal shipping. The shipper will have several contracts with each transport carrier to handle their portion of the load. The different transportation modes of intermodal shipping can include rail, ship, and truck. Although intermodal transport is generally cheaper than multimodal transport, more time is needed for negotiations with carriers. Intermodal transport helps improve security, reduces damage/loss, and allows for faster transport.

Multimodal Transport

Multimodal is the combination of different types of transport to move a shipment. The carrier can include trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, etc. Although the load breaks down into different modes of transport, the shipment still falls under a single contract/bill of lading. Companies that choose multimodal shipping can handle all shipping delays and interactions through one provider and ease the stress of communicating between different contacts. Some of the main advantages of multimodal transport are efficiency in delivery time and proficient shipment tracking.

The Benefits of Multimodal Transport

Multimodal transport can benefit businesses that regularly ship large amounts of freight. The main reason companies prefer multimodal transport is because it requires less time and effort than intermodal transport. This is because all the shipments are under a single bill and managed by an external party. There are many reasons your company should choose multimodal transport when planning your next shipment, including:

Time Savings: In multimodal transportation, one shipping provider handles the entire process. The delivery delays for your freight become shorter due to working with only one company. Using multimodal transportation also results in higher productivity.

Cost-efficient: It might seem that picking carriers with the lowest price is more profitable. However, the lowest price is not always the best or most reliable option. 3PLs expertise can ensure you get the best rate with a reliable multimodal carrier.

Minimize Concerns: A single carrier handles your freight door-to-door, ensuring more accessible communication and efficient tracking. When companies ship through multimodal transportation, they handle all shipping updates, delays, and interactions through a single provider and contract.

Easier Communications: When companies ship through multimodal transportation, they handle all shipping updates, delays, and interactions through one provider and contract. When you have one person responsible for the entire transportation chain, it’s much easier to focus on the business and not spend time bouncing from one call to another.

Faster Options

Combining different transportation modes under one contract lets you have a piece of mind and balanced transit time. Another benefit of faster transit options is you get easier freight tracking. The opportunity to track your freight is more efficient while the shipment is moving at a faster pace.

Multimodal Transport with BGL

Ultimately, multimodal transport helps guarantee consumers on-time deliveries and valid cost savings. Whether shipping by air, rail, or sea, multimodal shipping can be your solution. BGL wants to make the shipping process easy for you. Contact us today to discuss your next multimodal shipment!

Get a quote to connect with a specialist who can coordinate your multimodal shipments.

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