Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 1: What Is Intermodal Freight Transport?

Overview

Intermodal freight transport, as previously outlined in the Preface, is the concept of utilizing two or more suitable modes, in combination, to form an integrated transport chain aimed at achieving operationally efficient and cost-effective delivery of goods in an environmentally sustainable manner from their point of origin to their final destination.

While some freight movements may use, and justify the use of, a number of different transport modes, such as road, rail or inland waterway or either short- or deep-sea shipping, thus making them multimodal operations, in the majority of instances efficient movements are invariably achieved by the use of just two modes: most commonly road haulage collection and final delivery journeys combined with a rail-freight trunk-haul journey, what is known as a combined road rail operation. However, where operational circumstances dictate or a feasible alternative option is available, road haulage or rail freighting may be combined instead with an inland waterway journey via river or canal, or with a short-sea shipping (SSS) operation, typically a coastal or a cross-Channel sailing. Combined transport operations involving either road haulage or rail freight in conjunction with deep-sea container services or with an airfreight operation also feature in intermodal and multimodal scenarios, albeit the latter occurring in only a relatively small number of instances and small scale in terms of the freight volumes shipped.

The word suitable in the context used above may have a number of alternative connotations. It is possible in a given set of circumstances that cost alone will determine...

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