Intermodal Transportation: The Modern Definition

Intermodal transportation means that you use more than one mode of transport to move your cargo whether it is made via road, rail, barge or any combination of any other means.

In addition to our outstanding port coverage, our intermodal and haulage service delivers real connectivity with the inland commercial centers of the world. SeaRates is fully equipped to manage your cargo movement from every origin to every final destination. We have proper experience and knowledge to ensure fast and reliable transshipment of your goods so the whole supply chain can function like a well-oiled machine.

In addition to extensive rail-based transport, we offer a wide inventory of containers, trailers, chassis, etc. We provide full range of services for even the most complex shipping routes.

Intermodal transport: combinations that yield winnings

Intermodal transportation is the consecutive transportation of cargo in the same cargo unit (container, demountable body, semitrailer, etc.) with its transshipment from one mode of transport to another without reloading the cargo itself. The modern concept of the development of European or US transport is built on the intermodal approach.

For the most part, bimodal transport is common in the world, when road transport operates in conjunction with a railway. In the 30s, trailer traffic was spread. Special cars were installed after arrival at the destination in a few minutes, without reloading the goods, on the chassis of the tractor truck. There was a term - piggy-back carriage, meaning combined railway car transportation of trailers, semi-trailers, trailers for heavy unequal cargo (trailers) or demountable bodies on a railway platform.

Until the middle of the 19th century, the development of combined transport was slow, but by the end of the century, this type of delivery of goods was becoming more and more prevalent, especially in the United States. Americans found that on certain routes, it is cheaper to transport a trailer not by a towing vehicle, but by transporting it by rail. In the following years, combined transport began to develop rapidly in Europe. Only for one decade, from 1977 to 1987, the share of combined transport in the total volume of rail transport in the United States grew by 100%.

Today, the environmental side of the issue is forcing the countries of Western Europe and the USA to develop intermodal transport to the greatest extent. With the onset of the new millennium, the annual growth in volumes is fixed at 17%. In modern Europe, the annual volume is almost 70 million tons, only in Germany is up to 150 thousand shipments of piggybacks per year, and countries such as Switzerland, France, Austria, carry out at least 50 thousand shipments each. Besides, intermodal transportation by it's nature is very sensitive to cargo, tracking and control, especially in regards to mobile tracking opportunity. All these trends are respectively reflected in SeaRates System, including backhauls, backloading and available empty transport search.

Combined transport - the reality of tomorrow?

Benefits of uninterrupted combined transportation are understandable. And apparently, it will once again be recognized in the whole world. But there is a lot to do for this. For example, it is necessary that the railway rolling stock is guaranteed to cover at least 1000 km per day, which means that the speed of the trains must be at least 45 km /h.

I must say that in Russia, for instance, the federal program "Development of the Transport System until 2020" it is written that the speed of delivery of cargo containers in 2020 will reach 980 km per day. So the prospects for solving the problem are indicated.

Another global task that must be solved for the successful distribution of intermodal transport is to ensure the possibility of year-round combined transportation of goods in areas with complex road conditions.

Certainly, especially at the first stages of the introduction of innovative methods of transporting goods, it is necessary to adopt a state program in which the financial and economic support of the state was planned, including the establishment of liberal tariffs, envisage the creation of a national regulatory framework that is consistent with the EU guiding acts on combined transport. In that end, negotiations with the interested parties of Ukraine, China, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania , Azerbaijan, the states of the Customs Union are actively conducted.

As for the development of the intermodal transport , experimental transportation through the territory is being developed in the world, especially in the most busy regional transport hubs. Real steps could already today be the further renewal of specialized rolling stock, including improved speed characteristics, the organization of permanent international piggyback routes, access to the EU railroad, acceleration of the adoption of legislative acts on combined transport. Meanwhile, we already start transporting the goods "in the new-fashioned way" - within SeaRates Logistics Explorer platform

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Hello there, my name is Stuart and I am from SeaRates team. I am here to keep you posted about SeaRates opportunities and liaisons with all relative niches in shipping business, new services, technologies and solutions; and yes! There will be a space for a sincere advertisement :)