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Intermodal Transport and the Trucking Industry: Getting Goods across Land and Water

By Valentina Moors Subscribe to RSS | March 19th 2012 | Views:

Commercial trucks are the most efficient means of transportation for commercial goods, but only if this can be accomplished within a good distance on land. Intermodal transport provides greater assistance for various industries, especially if the goods need to be transported to greater distances than a truck driver can accomplish within the required number of hours.

Normally, truck drivers are only required to drive eleven hours within a fourteen-hour stretch, meaning they may rest for an interspersed three hours in-between. Truck drivers are also required to rest for the next ten hours afterwards. Truck drivers need to accomplish this by driving at a sufficiently fast pace. Intermodal transportation allows farther and faster transportation of goods.

Intermodal transportation is the transfer of the goods from one “mode” to another—from truck to train or ship, and ship or train to truck. This is especially useful if the goods are of high demand, are perishable, or are needed as urgently as possible. The largest corporations in the world use intermodal transport to bring goods across greater distances than commercial trucks can travel.

While trucking in the transportation industry remains the most widely used method of commercial transportation, intermodal transport is a welcome boost to the transportation of goods. Intermodal transportation can quicken the transfer of goods and maximize profits with more than one type of transfer. Sometimes, intermodal may not necessarily denote from land to air, sea, or rail. Sometimes, goods are brought together in a larger vessel and then transported to another destination.

Intermodal transport is a freight management task that can be accomplished with piggybacking, which is the practice of carrying a vessel or vehicle over another, bigger one. There may be more than one vehicle being carried: one recognized practice used in the military is the naval aircraft carrier, a ship that can carry a fleet of military aircraft. In commercial transportation, this involves a ship carrying another ship, or a mass of trucks carrying tons of goods. Sometimes, trucks are also carried on larger flatbed trucks, sometimes with more than one flatbed trailer to carry more semi-trailer trucks.

This is part of the third-party logistics that ensure that transportation management successfully integrates warehousing and transportation. However, when there are smaller supplies that need transportation, there is also LTL, or less than truckload transportation providers. Less than truckload goods are those that need to be dry and refrigerated as these goods normally have longer transit times than full truckload goods.

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