How Does Intermodal Transportation Work?

How Does Intermodal Transportation Work?

Intermodal transportation uses two or more carriers or shipping modes to move freight from shipper to consignee. Intermodal transport of cargo relies on freight trains, trucks, ships, as well as special standardized containers. The containers used for intermodal transportation are usually large rectangular boxes that are capable of being secured to special trailers. 

These durable steel rectangular containers are built so that intermodal shipping can transfer them between different modes of transportation smoothly. Furthermore, this transport mode eliminates the risks of directly handling shipments. 

Are you thinking about hiring an intermodal transportation service in Toronto? In this blog, we describe the features of intermodal transportation, how it works and more. Find out if it’s a great shipping service for your company. 

What is the Process of Intermodal Transportation?

A typical example of intermodal freight transportation combines the benefits offered by truck, rail, and ship freight services. The truck transport is used between the rail terminals while the ocean port offers a specialized form of trucking usually called drayage. Typically, it is provided by dedicated companies that offer only this type of transportation service.

So, how does intermodal transportation work? One of the perfect examples of how this type of transportation works is a truck bringing an empty container to pick up the load. The shipping service will then load the empty container with cargo then it will be taken by the truck to a railroad site. It is then placed on a train and shipped to its destination. 

At the destination site, the freight is removed from the train and delivered by truck to the consignee. It is also where the cargo of the containers will be unloaded. When the container is empty, it can be used for another load, again. 

Is Intermodal Transportation the Right Mode for Your Shipment? 

Here are several things to consider when deciding whether the intermodal transportation service is a good fit for your shipments.

  • If you have intermediate and finished goods in load units of less than 25 tons, intermodal transportation is ideal.
  • If you are more likely to have long-distance shipment needs, intermodal will be a good option. The best candidates for intermodal transportation are freight that needs to move more than 300 miles or longer than one day by truck.
  • Freight with intermediate values is ideal to be moved via intermodal. When it comes to high-cost shipments, they are often sent via the most direct methods, like air transport. The lower-value shipments frequently travel via rail or ocean using the intermodal shipping option.
  • If your cargo flow needs to be continuous and in similar quantities, intermodal transportation is the right choice.

Benefits of Intermodal Freight Transportation

Now that you understand how intermodal freight shipping works, here are the benefits that come with it.

  • Intermodal shipping has lower costs and contributes to a greener and friendly environment. The main reason is, the railway system only needs less fuel as compared to road transport. 
  • With intermodal freight transportation, you can rest assured that your products are secured even if they need to be transferred in various modes. 
  • Intermodal container fees are minimal as compared to a full truckload. This cost-saving feature becomes relevant if you need to make additional space on your dock or prepare and load a freight over days. 

Intermodal Freight Transportation: Factors to Consider

To optimize your freight delivery when using intermodal freight transportation, here are a few tips for you:

Load Configuration 

The load weight for intermodal freight transportation is way different from truckload options.  

The recommended maximum laden weight for intermodal freight transportation’s load weight is 42,500 lbs. This is based on the container, chassis and the used tractors for drayage.

Also, freights must be legal at both origin and destination ramps. Federal guidelines limit the gross weight of the tractor, trailer (or container/chassis) and lading to a maximum of 80,000 lbs. Some states may also enforce additional limits on specific highways or bridges.

Intermodal Transits

Don’t think that all intermodal transits involve trucks and take a day. Take note that not all transport systems within an intermodal system have the same level of efficiency.

The common reason why transits happen to be more than the advertised truck plus a day is when the lane consists of interlining a box between two roads or the absence of railroad capability.

Get a Quote Today

Are you planning to get intermodal freight transportation services for your next shipment? Here at OCti, we offer excellent and affordable intermodal transportation services. You can visit our site and send us a message to help you manage your shipments. 

With a simple consultation session, we can also select the best transportation methods for your freight. You may also call us at (905) 695 1501 or email us at for more inquiries.

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related Blogs

What are the Advantages of Intermodal Transportation
Posted by og | September 9, 2020
Today, intermodal freight transport has become a popular topic in the entire transportation industry. Due to the several advantages of intermodal transportation, many companies have started using this freight transport...
Posted by webmaster | May 20, 2020
Are you familiar with all the types of freight services available in Canada? There is more than one way to package and transport your product. For some professionals who are...
intermodal shipping vs. multimodal shipping
Posted by webmaster | January 17, 2020
Determining whether to choose intermodal shipping or multimodal shipping would depend on how well you know the intricacies involved in each transport mode. There are numerous factors to consider when...