With Trucking providing competitive rates and shipments more manageable than ever, why would anyone look to an option with limitations such as intermodal shipping? Naturally one would think there is a more efficient option nowadays than using the old Transcontinental Railroad for transporting goods.
The answer may surprise you. Intermodal shipping has actually been on the rise and offers a unique set of benefits that can actually suit some shipments better than the most popular option of trucking.
Pros of Intermodal
- Typically cheaper than over the road full truck loads
- Great for long distance Shipments – Coast to Coast or Over 800 miles
- Multiple rail providers have increased availability and competitive pricing
- Not estimated rates – Pricing is locked in
With the pros, come the cons of Intermodal
- Freight cannot be time sensitive
- Only full loads- cannot move “LTL” – moves as a 53 ft container
- Must book with 24 hours’ notice
- MAX weight – 43,500 lbs
How about an example of how Intermodal is great for long distance project moves?
A customer of ours was in the midst of plans to relocate their warehouse from Chicago, Illinois to Houston, Texas and needed to ship over 40 full load shipments to their new location.
Seems easy enough, right? For a truckload representative, they think they just got the sale of month! Unfortunately for them, Intermodal priced each load $300 cheaper for than over the road. Instantly, shipping by rail presented a $12,000 difference in savings over the freight spend for 40 full truckloads. If pricing alone wasn’t enough, there were additional benefits that ended up making Intermodal the crucial choice.
During the move they loaded 3 containers per night, staggered the deliveries to by letting them go to the rail yard and sit when needed (rail yards give 1-2 days of free time, in comparison having to pay a driver to sit overnight or get detention on a delivery). In addition, one carrier was scheduling all the appointments which eliminated the confusion with multiple truckload drivers
For this customer, shipping Intermodal made the whole difference. Rail provided them with the flexibility to manage a successful move by saving over $10,000 in freight costs alone, by allowing them the capability to stage the delivery as needed so that the receiving warehouse would not be overloaded, and avoided a potential logistics nightmare with 40 different trucks from different carriers.
Next time you are looking to make a sizable, long distance shipment, make sure to check out any intermodal shipping options. Contact a rail shipping representative today. You can also request a rail freight shipping quote to see cost savings.
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