What Is Multimodal Freight and How Can It Benefit You

Transporting an object from one place to another doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to do unless it’s a volume of freight going within continents. In that case, companies have to utilize several modes of transportation to get their freight from origin to destination. These modes involve a ship, air, rail, and trucking, and can be consolidated in different ways. The two main ways to arrange such a complex combined shipment is either intermodal transportation or multimodal.

What is the difference between Intermodal and Multimodal?

The distinctive feature between these two transportation modes is different cargo handling. When a company manages to use intermodal, they sign multiple contracts with several carriers.

In case of using multimodal, shipping still suggests consolidating modes, but everything is signed under the single bill of lading since the freight is handled by one shipping company. Multimodal is often preferred by the shippers since it’s a solid, end-to-end solution.

Read Intermodal vs Multimodal

Why Choose Multimodal?

It depends on the company’s needs which mode will be a better fit. Of course, intermodal offers benefits to shippers, such as the opportunity to choose carriers with the lowest rates, more flexibility, and control. However, watching every step of the shipment and dealing with all the carriers is time-consuming, and certainly requires effort, which is not for every business. Here are some of the most comprehensive advantages of multimodal transportation:

Time savings

Since multimodal transportation is handled by one shipping provider, you’ll only have to communicate and get a report from one entity. This ensures less worrying about the shipment, and faster transit times, which eventually result in higher productivity.


It may seem like picking carriers with the lowest price is definitely a more profitable option. However, the lowest price is not always the greatest deal. Intermodal transport involves not only different contracts and carriers but also multiple shipment insurances. A much easier logistics coordination within multimodal can help you save a significant amount of money on transportation.

Less worrying

When a single carrier handles you freight from door to door, it ensures easier communication and efficient tracking. Moreover, it delegates a larger piece of responsibility and liability to the company coordinating your logistics.

To sum it up, your business could benefit both from multimodal and intermodal, depending on your company’s goals. However, if you don’t want to control every single move of your freight and deal with lots of paperwork, multimodal transportation would probably be a prudent solution.