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If You’re Not in a Hurry, Save Money with Intermodal Rail Shipping

Save Money with Intermodal Rail Shipping

Shippers are always looking for the least expensive way to ship freight, and why shouldn’t they? Intermodal rail shipping is a shipping mode that many often overlook that deserves a little more attention. Save money with intermodal rail shipping.

What Is Intermodal Rail Shipping?


When a carrier uses more than one mode of shipping, and two or more carriers are in the freight delivery process, that’s intermodal shipping. For FreightCenter customers it usually works this way:

  • The shipment is picked up by a truck

  • The truck goes to the rail yard

  • The truck’s trailer is placed on a rail car

  • When the shipment reaches its destination, the trailer goes back on a truck for delivery

Benefits of Intermodal Rail Shipping


There are two benefits of Intermodal Shipping

  • It usually costs less to ship intermodal than it does to use a truck the whole way.

  • It’s greener. Because freight trains carry so many containers and trailers, the cost per mile per trailer is much less than on a truck. In fact, a train can move a ton of cargo 400 miles for as little as one gallon of fuel. If your company wants to lessen its carbon footprint, definitely consider intermodal.

Book While Business Is Down


The intermodal sector has been struggling. According to the Association of American Railroads, container and trailer volumes were down by 145,245 units (2.4%) in the first five months of 2019. The average weekly volume in May was down 5.9% annually, the fourth consecutive monthly decline.

With intermodal numbers down significantly, now is the right time to give intermodal a try.

When Intermodal Shipping Works Best


Not every shipment can or should ship intermodal. Consider intermodal when the place of origin and the destination are both major metropolitan areas that are at least 250 miles apart.

The amount of cargo also matters as it should take up the entire trailer. That means you should be shipping what amounts to a Full Truckload, several Partial Truckload shipments that together take up the whole truck, or several LTL shipments. In each case, the place of origin and the destination must be the same.

Also, intermodal requires at least a few days more time than LTL or Truckload because you are using two different modes of shipping and two different carriers. Still, if you know well enough in advance that you are going to ship, intermodal can be a good choice.

Ask the Shipping Experts


To get the full story on intermodal freight shipping and whether it’s right for you, contact a FreightCenter National Account Manager at 800.716.7608.

All aboard!

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