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Intermodalism and Multimodalism- Advantages and Disadvantages

While talking about transportation, Intermodal and Multimodal are two words that are frequently used to describe how commodities are moved. By combining diverse modes of transportation, freight systems enable better shipping.

Intermodal and multimodal transportation both involve moving freight from origin to destination using multiple modes of transportation. The main difference is in the contract.

 In this article, we’ll talk about what they mean and what are their benefits and drawbacks from the perspective of freight.

What is Intermodalism in Transport?

Intermodality is a new idea that the UK’s Ministry of Transport (MoT) has established to ensure the effective use of the system for carrying products. The goal is to ensure that supplies and things are transported from one location to another more quickly and efficiently.

Intermodal transportation is the movement of a load in a single unit or vehicle using two or more modes of transportation to get it from its point of origin to its point of destination without handling it when it is transferred from one vehicle to another.

To minimize cargo handling, this kind of transport groups items into sealed cargo transport units, or CTUs (containers, mobile boxes, or semi-trailers).

Benefits of Intermodalism

In this era of rapidly dwindling natural resources, intermodal transportation is preferred because it provides;

 Environmental advantages

It decreased CO2,

decreased  particulate matter, and N2O emissions

 lower diesel fuel usage.

Effective Cost

Shippers have more flexibility, better service, and reduced costs when they use rail for the long haul phase and trucks for the dray transfers. The less drayage associated with a freight lane, the more competitive the intermodal rate is against a truck rate.

High Capacity

Drayage remains less than 100 miles, allowing a single driver to turn multiple times on multiple loads. In comparison to truckload, where a driver has 2,000 to 2, 500 miles between loads, this allows for more turnaround time.

When to Use Intermodal Transportation?

You should prefer Intermodal transportation for long-distance and non-urgent shipments.

  • Shippers can enjoy reduced transportation costs when shipping long distances via intermodal transportation.
  • Intermodal transit times are typically slower than truckload due to the additional time it takes to move containers from rail to truck.

Disadvantages of Intermodalism

  • Intermodal transportation involves moving goods between different modes of transport. It can take longer than if the goods were transported using only one mode.
  •  Specialized equipment and handling equipment can add to the time it takes to load and unload the goods.
  • Some items cannot be transported via intermodal transport, which means they must be scrapped and reassembled once they arrive at their destination. This complicates the transportation of hazardous materials and raw materials.

What is Multimodal transportation?

The movement of cargo from origin to destination using multiple modes of transportation is referred to as multimodal. However, in this case, each mode is operated by a single or multiple carriers, but under a single contract.

The carrier is legally responsible for the entire carriage, even if it is performed by multiple modes, such as rail, sea, and road.

Benefits of Multimodal

  • Multimodal transportation is one of the world’s most important transportation systems because it reduces costs, and congestion, and increases efficiency.
  •  It also improves national product competitiveness in the international market and reduces the risk of loss due to theft or looting, among other things.
  • It also improves communication between multiple parties to keep things running smoothly.

Disadvantages of Multimodal

Multimodal drawbacks include;

  • Extra expenses for transhipments, handling, etc.
  • There will be no bargaining between you and the carriers.
  • Certain stages of the shipment process may not allow for the selection of a carrier

Main differences between the intermodal and multimodal transportation

  • Intermodal transportation views each mode of transportation as a separate contract, making it difficult whereas Multimodal transportation is more efficient because the entire process is monitored by a single carrier.
  • For multimodal transportation, one basic package of paperwork is often created for all items; for intermodal transportation, you require multiple packages of documents.
  • Both intermodal and multimodal transportation is effective in terms of speed and cost. However, when commuters prioritize speed over the cost of transit, multimodal transportation is the greatest option. Because of this, it is regarded as the finest alternative to the public transit system.