tips for intermodal beginners

Smart Practices for Intermodal Beginners

Intermodal Drayage incorporates the use of multiple modes of transportation for shipping. These usually include a combination of:

  • Over the road trucking
  • Rail
  • Ocean transport

In recent times, a spike has occurred in the use of intermodal services as shippers and manufacturers recognize the different benefits such as efficiency value, energy and cost savings that come from these different modes. Beginners may be unsure of where to start when exploring how to add intermodal into their supply chains, and understandably so- one wrong decision can have time consuming, detrimental effects. What are the most important practices to consider to get the most out of intermodal? These tips are the most essential and will set you on the right path.

How does intermodal help your business the most?

It’s back to school, where doing your homework is the important first step to success. Map out the various rail ramps, drayage companies and Intermodal Marketing Companies that frequent the lanes of traffic you use the most, and get an idea for the different types of containers and long haul vehicles available in your region to pinpoint size and demands needed for your goods. What are the requirements of the intermodal providers servicing your lanes of traffic? What will the costs be for various transit times? These are all vital details that should not be overlooked before you start making decisions in regards to your business needs.

How close are your facilities to railways?

Transportation from one point of the supply chain to another accounts for a huge percentage of supply chain costs, so when making your plan, consider the real estate of your area and how to shorten the time it takes from that one point to the next. Sometimes, this means moving warehouses and distribution centers closer to railways. Become familiar with all ramps in your area and seek out a location that caters to convenience. It will make a big difference in the long haul!

Work with a reputable 3PL company.

If you feel more comfortable leaving your supply chain planning to someone else when you’re short on time, then a 3PL company can be the way to go. They know the area, are experts at how to best use intermodal to save the most money, may offer equipment and a diverse fleet to choose from and have a solid network of logistics professionals on all levels already established that they work with on a daily basis.

Courtney L.
August 1, 2017
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