Breaking Down the Top 3 Benefits of Multimodal Shipping

multimodal shipping

In the shipping world, not all shipments or shipping methods are created equally. There are some shipping operations that simply demand a little more effort.

A great example of this is the shipping of products from the continental US to a location somewhere overseas. Even experienced shippers tend to get tripped up by this concept from time to time. And that is absolutely understandable as it is a rather large task to undertake. There are tons of moving parts, non-standard paperwork, and lots of other companies involved in helping move your freight.

These shipments that require several modes of transportation are referred to as multimodal shipping. Now, while multimodal shipping is performed regionally often, the platform is utilized mainly for moving freight long distance. More often than not, these are shipments that are going overseas to international destinations.

Sounds scary, right? Fret not, it is not as bad as you think.

Today, we are taking a look at multimodal shipping and the top 3 ways it benefits shippers. So, if you are ready to get that international freight off the floor, read on and let us put your mind at ease!


Understanding Multimodal Transportation

Multimodal shipping is the movement of goods using more than one different mode of transportation under an individual contract.

Generally speaking, there are four different shipping modes. These modes are comprised of air, ground, sea, and rail. Under most situations, you would simply hire a multimodal carrier, also known as a multimodal transport operator (MTO). The MTO then hires other subcontractors to help them move the shipment overseas.

Each of these subcontractors specializes in one or more types of shipping modes. With the help of these subcontractors, your multimodal carrier can efficiently move the freight through his network of available shipping modes and on to the final destination. 

Many shippers all across the globe depend on multimodal transport to move their goods daily. Multimodal shipping is an exceptional solution for companies who ship large-volume orders to multiple customers on a frequent basis and it provides multiple benefits.

Let’s explore a few of them!

Saving Money

The leading benefit of shipping multimodal is that it can save you a ton of money if performed properly. Across the board, the multimodal mode generally offers cheaper shipping rates and reduced cargo insurance pricing.

Improved Communication

Multimodal shipping involves communication between multiple parties in order to keep things running smoothly. The good news is that while the carrier will utilize sub-contracted carriers in each mode, you’ll communicate directly with the primary carrier. There is no need to worry about endless emails with subcontractors, and no day-long phone calls trying to resolve issues. If you run into a problem, just drop a phone call to your contractor and let them handle it.

This mode of transportation, while containing many moving parts, is fairly streamlined. So long as you find a reputable and trusted carrier or 3PL to handle the subcontractors, you are good to go!

Faster Transit

New regulations, like the ELD mandate and others, restrict the amount of time that a truck driver can move shipments. This rule applies to both LTL and FTL shipments alike.

As such, cross-continental shipments move much quicker through multiple modes. Where one shift ends, another has just started.


Final Thoughts

Most shippers who utilize Multimodal transport choose to work with experienced third-party logistics companies. A reputable 3PL will help to ensure that you can navigate all those hurdles that we had mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Furthermore, a well-rounded 3PL can manage your complete multimodal shipping operation. From communicating with the carrier and subcontractors to negotiating better rates, a 3PL company is of huge benefit. Certainly, it is better than attempting to do so on your own.  

If you have shipments that require multiple modes of transportation, or any questions about multimodal or intermodal shipping, give us a call today! Let Redwood get your freight across oceans, rails, and over air!