The use of multimodal shipping is not a new concept.
On the surface, multimodal shipping refers to the contractual arrangements, rather than shipping mode itself, that allows carriers to move between modes without changing the contract with the carrier. Intermodal takes the process and creates complexity within true multimodal shipping to leverage both multiple modes and multiple carriers throughout the shipment journey.
While this may seem like unnecessary complexity, the application of multimodal shipping offers significant benefits that help shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) realize cost savings, better freight rating, and timeliness of delivery. In addition, the use of a multimodal transportation management system (TMS) will go even further in promoting savings.
Shippers and LSPs gain these five benefits in using a multimodal TMS. Ultimately, the result is continuous improvement and performance measurement to validate and guarantee real results.
1. Multimodal TMS Centralizes Documentation and Boosts Compliance
Centralized documentation within multimodal shipping is an integral part of maintaining compliance with all applicable local, state, federal, and international regulations. Multimodal shipping directly results in the generation of more documents and records that require management. Using a multimodal TMS eliminates the hassle of tracking various bills of lading, invoices to the respective carrier, as well as determining when a single-carrier multimodal shipment would benefit from a transition to another carrier and effectively become intermodal.
2. A Multimodal TMS Reduces Overall Shipping Costs
3. Multimodal Shipping Helps Lower Risks in Specific Transport Modes
4. Multimodal Platforms Include Analytics and Reporting Functions to Ensure Profitability
Another benefit of using a multimodal TMS involves the use of analytics and advanced reporting functions to continuously measure performance. Multimodal shipping is generally more complex. Even if optimized multimodal TMS shipping will save money, shippers still need the data to prove it. As a result, more organizations are turning to analytics to understand if current freight operations, including the use of multimodal shipping when appropriate, pays off. Meanwhile, the applications of analytics can be used to drive greater efficiency within the use of multimodal shipping and further improve overall service levels. The result is the same; customer service levels increase.