When can intermodal transportation be a solution for you?

intermodal rail

When shipping freight, do you consider intermodal shipping as an option? Many believe you have to spend a minimum amount on freight annually in order to ship by rail – that is a myth.

With the softening of the market and need for additional freight, railroads have become diligent about converting truckload moves to steel tracks. Here are a few scenarios where intermodal transportation may be a fit.


Scenario 1:

You have 10 shipments to move from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, and they all have to be off the dock by month end, which is in two days. You have a truckload rate and are ready to pull the trigger. Then, you find out that only four shipments can be covered at the quoted price.

Now you are stuck either eating into your projected margin, or attempting to markup product that you have already sold. But maybe there’s another option. An intermodal shipping option.

You get a quote and find, not only is the price less than anticipated, but capacity can be secured for all 10 shipments. You’ve successfully increased your margin and all your freight is off the dock by month end.


Scenario 2:

With the environment and regulation changes serving as recurring topics for the manufacturing industry, you are wondering how you can do your part for the planet with the truckload freight you are moving.

Intermodal transportation can be an easy solution. On average, trains move one ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a single gallon of gas.

You can reduce the miles your freight is on the road with intermodal shipping, while you also optimize routing to create the most efficient means from point A to B. You are helping the environment and boosting your bottom line too.


Scenario 3:

You have determined that shipping full truckload is more cost efficient than LTL, but your product is made-to-order. Having a dry van dropped at your facility would cost you hundreds, so you continue to ship LTL.

That was until you discovered you could have an intermodal shipping container dropped for a minimal fee, and only pay a small, daily charge until you are ready to ship the whole container. In doing so, you save money while keeping your freight in one vessel from start to finish.


Scenario 4:

You are somewhat familiar with intermodal transportation, but believe transit times are double that of over the road options. You see the possible cost savings, and you’re still not willing to chance it.

Consistent and shorter transit times are available by rail. The continued investment by railroads and the development of expedited intermodal service in major lanes has made this possible.

When you rely on over the road transportation, you also have to rely on major roadways. When moving your freight to steel tracks, you can avoid routes impacted by construction and congestion. Further, your freight service provider’s online tracking helps you see where your freight is at any time – whether on the road or on the rails.


Scenario 5:

People have spoken to you about intermodal shipping in the past, but at the end of the day, it’s just too confusing. That’s why a freight service provider like Freightquote by C.H. Robinson gives you the freedom to be as hands-on or hands-off as you want with your freight transportation.

Freightquote is an intermodal marketing company (IMC), which means our team handles your shipment from start to finish, with more control over each leg. We have contracts with hundreds of drayage companies as well as negotiated rates with all eight Class 1 railroads.

When your freight service provider has an in-house team of experts to handle your intermodal freight shipments, all you need to do is quote your lanes and book.


Final thoughts.

Intermodal transportation can be a great solution within your overall transportation portfolio. It benefits your bottom line and can create capacity when markets tighten. Next time you have a truckload shipment, consider rail as an option for savings and increased efficiencies.


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