We Make Domestic Intermodal Shipping As Simple As Connecting The Dots

Intermodal refers to transporting freight by more than one means. Typically, this involves ocean transport plus straight trucking or a combination of trucking and rail. The industry frequently uses the term intermodal to refer to transport including ocean and rail, but technically intermodal can be any combination of two freight methods.

  • Tical Shipping is not only a leader in ocean freight, we provide trucking and rail service to all points in North America.
  • Trucking is an extremely cost-effect way to transport goods to inland locations. It offers shipping flexibility such as warehousing prior to delivery.
  • Rail is generally less flexible than trucking but is an efficient option for long-distance freight movement. Typical transit time delivery for a rail shipment is a week to 10 days.

The Department of Transportation limits the number of hours drivers can work, but trucking can deliver cross-country in five days, depending on weather and other circumstances.

Intermodal Shipping Reduces Costs By Transporting Containerized Goods With Minimal Handling

Intermodal shipping transports freight in a container by a  without additional handling. This reduces the likelihood of damage, loss, and theft. It also saves time, because full container loads can be rolled off a ship and trucked via trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC).

When To Choose An Intermodal Transport Chain

It is important to see intermodal transport as a fluid solution. For example, trucks can provide local pickup and delivery while rail can be used for long distances. Air freight can also be flown into an airport and picked up by truck for door-to-door delivery of expedited freight.

In general, intermodal freight is best suited to:

  • Intermediate and finished goods in load units less than 25 tons
  • The load unit can be containerized in standard 20-foot equivalent (TEU) or 40-foot equivalent (FEU) boxes (for ocean shipment)
  • Low-value to intermediate value shipment, with air freight used for high-value cargo
  • Cargo flow is predictable, continuous, and in similar qualities when shipping by rail to offset delays

Container types include:

  • Standard container – designed for general cargo including dry goods in break bulk or bulk form
  • Tank container – designed for food or chemical liquids
  • Open-top container – designed for oversized cargo such as machinery; the cargo is covered with a tarp
  • Flat container – an open top and sides designed to carry oversized cargo; the cargo is not covered
  • Refrigerated container (reefer) – designed to carry temperature-controlled cargo, including at or below freezing; it is insulated and equipped with a refrigeration plant to maintain correct temperature

Rail Can Be More Cost-Effective For Some Long-Haul Shipments But Is Less Reliable

Trucking freight costs are based in part on the class of the commodity being transported. There are 18 community classes which vary depending on density, storability, handling, and liability.

  • Rail freight overall tends to be cheaper because fuel costs are lower.
  • However, the rail industry has developed a reputation for having a low on-time delivery rate. Many shippers shy away from intermodal truck-rail service because of historic problems, but the rail industry has been significant strides to improve delivery reliability.

The time to ship by truck-rail is generally longer than a straight truck movement. This impacts the quality of goods, especially perishables.

Pure Trucking Transportation Offers Greater Flexibility and Cost Competition

There are fewer railway carriers than trucking carriers. For this reason, straight trucking can offer greater schedule and route flexibility, along with competitive price bidding.

Straight trucking also tends to require less complex logistics, which saves both time and money. The paperwork for your company’s accounting department is less, because you get fewer bills of lading, rates, and invoices.

We have exclusive contract rates with a wide range of trucking carriers, providing you with maximum flexibility at the lowest cost.

Tical Shipping Provides End-to-End Intermodal Transport

Tical Shipping is a single source for shipments to any port in North America that will then be transported to inshore destinations. We coordinate both the ocean and ground legs of the freight shipment so that the process is seamless and pain-free.