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Intermodal Shipping Services
Intermodal shipping is when freight is transported across several modes. There are different intermodal stations where trailers are dropped off via rail or ships, these stations are usually located in major cities. Trucks pick up the trailers and deliver them to their final destination (usually within 100 miles of the storage yard).
Benefits of Intermodal Shipping
Intermodal shipping is a great way of shipping if you are looking to save money. Your container is shipped with hundreds or thousands of other containers, therefore, you get the cost of scale reduction.
Reduce carbon footprint
Using intermodal is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. With intermodal shipping, your freight is being transported in a more fuel-efficient method before being delivered via truck.
Rail is significantly safer than shipping over the road, rail experiences only a quarter of accidents when compared to trucks.
Price Affecting Factors of Intermodal Shipping
Intermodal has a lot of additional steps and factors that come into play that can impact the price of your intermodal quote. It is important to know what these are to make an educated decision and accurately budget your transportation. Below are some things to know that can affect an intermodal quote.
- Multiple markets – Intermodal uses several modes so there are more markets that affect the price of your transportation. It is good to have knowledge of these markets so that you can forecast your costs effectively. Additionally, you can partner with a 3PL company that specializes in logistics that already tracks all of this.
- Demurrage – Your container can sit at the yard for only so long until fees start to accumulate. The amount of free time can vary from yard to yard so it is important to do some research on this and partner with a 3PL company you can trust.
- Per Diem – Trucking companies do not typically own a chassis used to ship the containers and they need to be brought back after the delivery. There is a charge applied for each day that these are out in transit. Because of this, it is good to have a schedule in place that you can follow.
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Information Needed for an Intermodal Quote
When planning out your intermodal delivery be sure to be prepared to supply the pickup and drop-off locations, weight, and commodity. Additionally, it is important to give the desired transit time, especially if you need the freight delivered by a deadline.
Specialty Intermodal Services:
- Reefer Intermodal – Reefer intermodal does exist and is used to ensure that the temperature of your products is maintained while being shipped across rail and sea.
- Different Sizes – Intermodal freight can come in all sizes, the common ones are 20’, 40’, and 53’. There are additional specialty sizes, but they are not used that much, and the standard can usually get the job done for whatever is needed.
- Hazardous Intermodal – Hazardous material can be shipped intermodal and comes with the additional fees typically associated with hazardous shipping.
Tips for Intermodal shipping
Intermodal is typically considered cost-effective when the total shipment is traveling more than 800 miles and the final destination point is within 100 miles of the shipping yard. Additionally, intermodal is great when time is not a vital factor since all that time spent loading and unloading from one mode to another do add up.
- How much weight can you ship via intermodal?
The maximum weights are 43.5 tons for dry containers and 42 tons for reefer containers. However, you should always confirm these amounts and include it in your quote request.