What Is Intermodal Freight Shipping?
Intermodal freight shipping is a mixture of two or more methods of transport, delivering items by truck or train. Many businesses use this in transferring bulk items. It is the most convenient mode of transportation, as shipping companies have specialized methods for every item. It gives flexibility by allowing you to choose the combination of transport. It minimizes freight costs because business owners can personalize their routes based on the needs and strength of the chosen cargo. It also reduces delay and accidents because they have a specified route set by either the company or business owner.
Four Ways to Ship Items
• Ocean Shipping – This consists of almost 90% of the world trade. It is the most common mode of transportation, even though it is much slower than other shipping methods. It has two shipping containers: a 20-foot less container load (LCL) and a 40-foot full container load (FCL). Its rates depend on weight, type, and distance traveled of the items.
• Air Shipping – This is the fastest method to ship items, but the most expensive. This is because of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules and prices of gasoline. It is suitable for shipping perishable items and small containers. Large items, on the other hand, have greater costs because airlines base them on dimensional weight.
• Road Shipping – Trucking is ideal for delivering consumer goods and raw materials. Different institutions have standards and restrictions on these, making it more difficult to find vehicles for transport. Its rates depend on the weight of the items and distance traveled.
• Rail shipping – This is one of the top choices when shipping items for a long distance. It is more affordable, as it can carry 200 tons of freight or three trucks in a single load. Items that are ideal for this are those you can stack, such as paper or items with flat surface. Boxcar, railcar, TOFC, COFC, and refrigerated are some containers shipping companies use.
Types of Intermodal Containers
• Tank — This is when shipping companies place a cylindrical-shaped tank inside the frame of an intermodal container. Liquid or gases, such as liquefied, cryogenic, pressurized, and gases stored through refrigeration, are some examples of items stored in those containers.
• Flat Rack – These are long, specialized containers with an open top. It is for carrying items that cannot fit inside a standard container. Heavy machinery, such as forklifts and bulldozers, are the common items that use a flat rack. This is to avoid dismantling and reassembling them.
• Refrigerated – These kinds of containers are for transporting perishable goods or decaying materials that need a certain temperature. These are common in trailer trucks, which have refrigerators inside to keep the items cool. Some examples are ice, vegetables, and fruits.
Choosing the right combination allows you to save money and time. Know which one suits your items to determine the best choice.
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