Answering the most common intermodal shipping questions.

intermodal shipping process

Intermodal shipments have been growing steadily over the past few years and it is expected to continue. In fact, the Intermodal Association of North America expects 3 to 4 percent growth for total intermodal volume in 2016

This growth is fueled by a constantly expanding network for rail, shippers seeking more cost-effective fuel solutions and improved service offerings from providers. 

As intermodal options expand, it may be time to consider moving your freight on the rail. Here are some answers to the most common intermodal shipping questions. 


Q: What is intermodal shipping? 

 A: Domestic intermodal transport typically consists of an intermodal container being moved by a truck to the rail, then a truck again to the final destination.


Q: Does intermodal work for my freight?

A: Regular or recurring shipments are particularly well suited for intermodal because it can provide a consistent supply chain solution. Intermodal is a good fit for a range of freight and products. However, the shipments that are best suited for intermodal are typically longer haul lanes moving to or from 200-300 miles of a major metro. 


Q: Why choose intermodal? 

A: Rail is the most fuel efficient mode of transport available today, so intermodal freight shipping can provide significant fuel cost savings in comparison to over-the-road-based transport. This fuel efficiency also translates into a greener, more environmentally friendly way to move cargo, which many shippers are looking for. 

Additionally, intermodal is safe and secure for your freight, providing a dependable alternative to the truckload spot market, especially in lanes of tight capacity. Many freight commodities are insured up to $250,000 while on the rail, providing more security for your cargo.

Rail is still expanding its footprint in North America. More logistics centers and miles of rail line are being put into place, increasing destination options and service level for intermodal shipments.


Q: How do I get started with intermodal? 

A: Freightquote by C.H. Robinson is a certified IMC (Intermodal Marketing Carrier), buying intermodal capacity at wholesale from the best rail lines. This means we can pass the savings and selection on to our customers. Getting an intermodal shipment set up can take a little more coordination than a truckload shipment, but we have a team of dedicated intermodal experts to help guide your shipment.


Do you have a shipment to book?

Get Free Quotes

Image Credit: