Multimodal transportation, or combined transport, is the movement of a freight shipment under a single transportation carrier contract but using at least two transportation modes among road, rail, air, and ocean.
What Is Multimodal Transport?
Multimodal transportation occurs across industries operating in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) environments. International freight movements typically require multimodal freight transportation strategies to move shipments between overseas locations and U.S. customers.
In a multimodal approach, an organization might move products from a foreign factory to a domestic distribution center. For this example, the freight shipment moves in an intermodal container before it is deconsolidated and trucked as pallets over the road. Truckload or less-than-truckload trips can serve the example’s distribution center or individual stores.
Multimodal and Intermodal Transportation
Multimodal and intermodal transportation involve multiple modes of transit (road, rail, air, ocean).
Multimodal transportation services complete a freight shipment under one contract of carriage and might combine ship or plane, rail, and/or truck. Cargo might move among different containers for a multimodal shipment. Additional carriers may be involved in the end-to-end transportation of the freight, but one logistics services provider takes sole legal responsibility.
What are Advantages of Multimodal Transport?
Benefits of effectively using multiple transportation modes:
- Reduce overall transportation costs and limit time-consuming capacity procurement activities.
- Access additional freight capacity available during periods of constraint in TL, LTL, rail, air, or ocean services.
- Tap into more rate options and flexible shipment timelines.
- Limit transit time by moving freight on the optimal vehicle using the optimal route.
- Support carbon footprint control using movements that limit air pollution emissions, fuel consumption, and unnecessary vehicle moves.
How Does MercuryGate Support Multimodal Transport Logistics?
Shippers and LSPs moving a freight shipment using multiple transport modes optimize planning for multimodal using MercuryGate technology. The unified platform empowers tracking for multi-leg transit using aggregated and granular data.
Multimodal optimization using MercuryGate typically achieves:
- 7% reduction in outbound freight and fuel costs.
- 5% cut in spending on less-than-truckload (LTL) freight.
- 5% cost reductions on inbound freight.
- 20% reduction in load planning time.
- 60% less time spent on transportation network modeling.
MercuryGate multimodal rating allows shippers to compare transportation modes for cost and service levels, including time-in-transit and delivery capabilities. Multimodal rating allows freight management teams to maximize multimodal transport and optimize cost and service to end customers.