Why choose Multimodal or Intermodal Transport?

David Rae

How is multimodal and intermodal different from accompanied freight?

Both multimodal and intermodal transportation means a combination of more than one mode of transport such as road, rail, barge, sea or air for a single consignment rather than just one.

If a pallet leaves a factory by road transport, is then loaded onto a train at a rail terminal for most of the journey and then back to road to be delivered then this would be defined as either multimodal or intermodal.

What is the difference between Multimodal and Intermodal transport?

The difference between the two modes comes from who is responsible for the load at each stage of its journey.

Multimodal

This is where the same carrier is responsible for the consignment at all points in its journey and only one contract is required.

Intermodal

Involves multiple carriers and contracts with each one being responsible for their own leg of the transport.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages over each other and against single freight modes.

Why choose Multimodal transport?

Security

Greater security for the consignment as there is only one carrier so less risk or loss, damage or theft during times when the consignment is waiting at one of the changeover points such as a port.

 The organizing party has a far better overview of the entire chain and will take responsibility to make sure that the consignment is still being tracked when waiting between legs of the journey.

Tracking

Monitoring the progression of the consignment will normally be easier and cheaper as it is through one company who will track it themselves. There will only be one point of contact for the customer and that will result in more consistent communication.

 There are software options available to track intermodal loads although this will still involve more effort on behalf of the customer. They would have to source, train staff and monitor the software themselves.

Liability

One carrier is liable for the load so there will be no confusion which party is responsible in the event of damages or loss.

Speed

Reduced transit time versus normal transport as the modes of transport are more efficient.

 Reduced transit time versus intermodal as the carrier will be able to coordinate the different legs of the journey more easily.

Cost

Cheaper costs for customs and transportation when compared with single mode transport.

Simplicity

There is less coordination and input required from the customer. The organizing freight company can administer each leg of the journey as well as the paperwork and border crossings.

Less paperwork and invoices

There will be less paperwork to be administered by the customer as the organizing freight company can collate everything. Otherwise, there would be multiple sets of paperwork, each in the individual style of the haulage company that produced them.

Additionally, there will only be one invoice from one carrier rather than multiple invoices which arrive at different times with different payment terms.

Why choose Intermodal transport?

Cheaper

The cheapest option can be chosen for each leg of the journey which makes intermodal the most cost-effective transport option.

Choice

Customers can choose all the carriers for each section of the transport. With multimodal options the main carrier may choose to utilize a subcarrier and the customer would have no control over this.

Control

Customers have more access to equipment and better control over the schedules. If a certain haulage company is not delivering the timeframes or service that the customer demands, then they can easily change to another option.

The customer has more visibility of the schedules and flexibility in their options at every stage.

Tracking options

There are software options which can track every stage of an intermodal journey. Even without applying a tracker to the consignment directly.

Tracking numbers can be used at ports or with hauliers which can be monitored through one central system.

The cheapest option can be chosen for each leg of the journey which makes intermodal the most cost-effective transport option.

Choice

Customers can choose all the carriers for each section of the transport. With multimodal options the main carrier may choose to utilize a subcarrier and the customer would have no control over this.

Control

Customers have more access to equipment and better control over the schedules. If a certain haulage company is not delivering the timeframes or service that the customer demands, then they can easily change to another option.

The customer has more visibility of the schedules and flexibility in their options at every stage.

Tracking options

There are software options which can track every stage of an intermodal journey. Even without applying a tracker to the consignment directly.

Tracking numbers can be used at ports or with hauliers which can be monitored through one central system.

Multimodal Rail

There are advantages and disadvantages in using either method for transporting your consignments.

Customers should also be aware that both types of modal transport have significant benefits over accompanied transport.

Either way the choice will depend on several factors including the collection and delivery points, geographical barriers, the required security of the goods plus the size and the weight of the consignment.

If you would like advice on which methods of freight are best for your goods, then please get in touch with one of our experienced and knowledgeable account managers who can advise you on the best course of action.

Are you connected with Claire?

Claire is our Talent Acquisition Specialist so if you’re on the Easter Job Hunt, she’s a great person to connect with on LinkedIn.

Claire is always sharing news on our latest vacancies, top job hunting tips and showcasing what a career at Baxter Freight looks like.

Don’t delay, get connected!

Get to know us better!

Hi – we’re Baxter Freight 🖐️ It’s great to meet you!

Yes we move freight, but take a closer look and you find we’re so much more

From our vibrant office culture to the values we live by – find out what makes us tick.

Egg-cellent - you've found a new job!

Forget about the chocolate eggs this Easter – you’re on an Easter Job Hunt! And we have a cracking one for you to enjoy 🥚

If you’re a uni grad with a passion for sales – we have the opportunity for you.

Check out our Graduate Account Manager vacancy and apply today!

Egg-cellent - you've found a new job!

Forget about the chocolate eggs this Easter – you’re on an Easter Job Hunt! And we have a cracking one for you to enjoy 🥚

If you’re an experienced sales professional looking to develop long-term relationships with your clients – we have the opportunity for you.

Check out our Account Manager vacancy and apply today!

Established reputation

Our levels of experience and reputation have enabled us to innovate quickly within the industry.

Baxter Freight has been operating and excelling in the UK and Europe for over a decade now. Our leadership has been leading the way in the logistics industry for a lot longer.

We have led the way as the UK went through Brexit and established ourselves as experts in working in Europe. 

Vehicle Types:

Vans: Short wheel-based, Long wheel-based, Extra- long wheel based

Luton vans: Curtainsider, Box, Tail lift, Flatbed

7.5 Tonnes – 18 Tonnes: Curtainsider, Flatbed Box, Rigids, Tail lift, HIAB, Moffett

Artics (44 Tonnes): Box, Tail lift, Flatbed, HIAB, Moffett, Curtainsider

Rigids: Tail lift, Flatbed, HIAB, Moffett

Specialised Vehicles/Trailers: Sliding Roof, Low Loader, Stepframe, Double Decker, Mega, Beavertail, Extendable Flatbed, Super mega Flatbed, Wafer Deck, Container Self-loading, Skeleton, Racked / Open floor trailer, Tanker, Silo, Swap Body, Jumbo (Wagon & Drag), Walking floor, Coil well, Stanchion, Hanging Garment, Frigo

We have access to an extensive network that offers a wide range of vehicle types. If you need something in particular, please do not hesitate to contact us.