Intermodal Cross Border Shipping US to Canada

Cross-border shipping between the United States and Canada is a vital part of the North American economy. Every day, millions of dollars worth of goods and materials flow across the border by land, air, and sea.

To ensure that this trade can move smoothly and efficiently, it is essential to have a well-developed system for intermodal cross-border shipping.

This article will discuss what intermodal cross-border shipping is, how it works, and some of its benefits. We’ll also look at some other methods available for shipping goods across the US-Canada border and compare them with intermodal shipping.

Looking to ship freight across the border? At RailGateway, we have years of experience shipping intermodally between the US and Canada. We’re familiar with all of the necessary paperwork and regulations, and we’ll work closely with you to ensure that your shipment is appropriately packaged and labeled.

We offer competitive shipping rates and convenient pick-up and delivery times, so you can rest assured that your shipment will arrive on time and within budget.

Request your rail freight quote today to learn more about our cross-border shipping services.

Shipping From the United States to Canada & Vice Versa: The Differences

A question that is frequently asked by businesses shipping goods between the United States and Canada is what is the best way to do so. There are a few different methods, but intermodal shipping is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to cross the border.

Since the enlargement of the US-Canadian trade system, international trade has expanded at an exponential rate. In 2019, US and Canada trades in goods totaled almost 714 billion.

Because the two countries have different laws and regulations, there are a few things to keep in mind when shipping from one country to the other.

For example, all shipments must be declared to Customs and Border Protection, and any items subject to import taxes or duties must be paid in full before the shipment can be released.

In addition, there are restrictions on what can be shipped across the border, so it’s essential to check with Customs or your intermodal rail partner beforehand to avoid any problems.

Shipping from Canada to the United States is generally a straightforward process, but it’s important to be aware of the differences to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications.

Shipping costs: What should you know about cross-border shipment taxes and tariffs?

When shipping freight from the United States to Canada, it’s important to be aware of the taxes and tariffs that may apply. These can vary depending on the type of goods being shipped and the value of the shipment.

Most shipments will be subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5%. There may also be other duties or fees, such as an excise tax or excise duty. Check with your intermodal shipping company and customs department in advance.

For more information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website and their Importing commercial goods into Canada guide.

By understanding the taxes and tariffs that apply to your shipment, you can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping experience.

Canada Border Services Agency Required Documents

To avoid delays when shipping cross border, it’s important to include all of the necessary customs paperwork with your shipment.

For customs clearance you’ll need the following documents when exporting goods into Canada:

  • The manifest or the cargo control document, typically provided by your intermodal transportation provider
  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • A commercial invoice
  • Shipper’s export declaration form or packing slip
  • A Canada Customs invoice

Customs authorities may request further documentation depnding on the type of cargo being shipped.

At RailGateway, we offer complete customs broker services for your intermodal cross border freight shipment. Request a rail quote today to find out how we can help.

Certification of Origin

A Certificate of Origin (COO) may be required for shipments entering Canada. This document is used to prove that the goods being shipped originated from a particular country.

In the case of shipping from U.S to Canada, this can be obtained from your local chamber of commerce or industry association by presenting your commercial invoice.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The Bill of Lading (also known as the BOL) is a document that serves as proof of ownership for your cross border shipment and contains details about the origin, destination, and contents of your cargo.

Commercial invoices

Are used to document the value of your goods, and are often required when shipping across the US-Canada border.

At RailGateway, we offer a variety of services to help make your cross-border shipping experience as hassle-free as possible. Request a rail quote today to learn more.

Other Canada Border Services Agency documents

Some cross-border goods may differ in nature. In those cases, a professional and reliable customs broker service is able to help. Get in touch to make sure you’ve got everything you need.

A tariff code is an item’s specific code compiled under the HS maintained by the World Customs Organisation. HS are standard numerical methods of classification of traded goods.

The software is used by the US Customs Service to track goods in tax assessments and in collecting statistics. The first six-digit code is identical to those of any country.

Prohibited and restricted items

When shipping goods from the United States to Canada, there are some items that are prohibited or restricted by Canadian customs.

These items include:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Flammable liquids and solids
  • Certain chemicals
  • Narcotics and drugs

For a complete list of restricted and prohibited goods visit the Government of Canada’s Canadian Border Services Agency website.

Shipping Tips: What You Should Know Before Shipping Between Canada and the United States

There are a number of important factors to keep in mind when shipping freight across borders.

One of the most important is selecting a reputable intermodal shipping company that has experience with both cross-border shipments and your specific type of goods or service.

Choosing a company that is knowledgeable about customs regulations can also help to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and avoid delays at the border.

Another key consideration is packaging your items properly to ensure that they arrive safely and securely at their destination.

Finally, it is necessary to factor in any special requirements for either country, such as labeling guidelines, size restrictions, customs tariffs, or documentation requirements.

In short, when shipping between Canada and the US, it’s essential to choose a reliable carrier and prepare your freight carefully in order to enjoy a smooth and successful shipment.

FAQs

Do I have to pay duty on items shipped from Canada to the USA?

There may be duties and taxes associated with cross-border shipments, depending on the type of goods being shipped, their destination, and other factors.

How does cross-border shipping work?

Cross-border shipping involves transporting freight from one country to another, typically across an international border. This may be done by truck, rail, air, or sea.

What are the requirements for importing goods into Canada?

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to ship goods across an international border. These may include obtaining the proper documentation, adhering to customs regulations, and ensuring that the freight is properly packaged.

What are the risks of cross-border shipping?

There are a number of risks associated when shipping across borders, including delays at customs, damage to the freight, and lost or stolen shipments.

What are the benefits of cross-border shipping?

Cross-border shipping can offer a number of benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved delivery times. It’s also a great way to connect businesses and consumers across international borders.

What is the cheapest shipping from Canada to the US?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the cost of shipping will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of goods being shipped, their destination, and the shipping method used.

However, working with a reputable and experienced shipping company can help to ensure that you get the best possible rate for your cross-border freight shipment.


Freight shipping from the US to Canada can be a complex process, with many different regulations and requirements that need to be met.

However, by working with an experienced intermodal shipping company, you can ensure that your goods arrive safely and on time.

At RailGateway, we have over 40 years of experience handling cross border shipments, and we can help you navigate the shipping process from start to finish.

We offer a variety of services designed to streamline the shipping process and make it as easy as possible to get your goods across the border quickly and efficiently.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your intermodal shipping needs.

Freight Quote to Canada: How to Save Money on Your Next Intermodal Delivery from the US to Canada

If you’re looking for a freight quote to Canada, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss how to save money on your next delivery to the neighbors up north.

By following these tips, you can get the best price on shipping and ensure that your goods arrive safe and sound. Let’s get started.

Freight quote to Canada intermodal shipping services: Your Guide to shipping freight to Canada from the US

When it comes to shipping freight to Canada, there are a few things you need to take into account.

First, you need to ensure that your shipping label is properly marked and documented. This includes ensuring that all commodities are accurately classified and that your paperwork is in order.

Next, you need to choose a reputable international shipping company that offers services to Canada.

Be sure to get a freight quote from the intermodal shipping service before you ship your goods.

Finally, you need to make sure that your goods are properly insured for the journey.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when shipping freight to Canada from the US.

How to Get a Quote for Intermodal Freight Shipping

When you need to ship goods via rail, you need the services of an intermodal freight shipping company.

Intermodal freight shipping is a safe, efficient way to transport goods long distances. But how do you get started? The first step is to get a quote. Here’s how:

First, find a reputable intermodal freight shipping company. You can do this by asking for recommendations from friends or business associates, or by searching online.

Once you’ve found a few companies that look promising, contact them and request a rail quote. Be sure to have the following information ready:

What You Need Before Getting an Intermodal Quote 

Intermodal transportation refers to the shipping of goods using multiple modes of transportation, such as vessel, rail, and truck. It’s a popular choice for many businesses because it can help to reduce costs and transit times.

• The origin and destination of your shipment

• The type and volume of goods you need to ship

• The desired delivery date

Make sure to ask about any additional fees that may apply, such as fuel surcharges or loading/unloading charges. And be sure to include the dimensions, weight, and value of your shipment.

With this information, the shipping company will be able to provide you with a quote for their services. Once you have a few quotes, compare them and choose the company that offers the best value for your needs.

Shipping goods via rail is a great way to save money on your next delivery. By following these steps, you can be sure to get the best quote for your intermodal freight shipping needs.

Tips on Saving Money When Shipping Your Freight Goods

One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is keeping your costs down.

When you’re shipping freight goods, there are a few simple tips that can help you save money.

Be sure to consolidate your shipments whenever possible. This will help you get competitive pricing from your shipping company.

Second, ship your goods during off-peak times. Rates are typically lower during periods of low shipping demand.

Finally, be sure to shop around for the best shipping rates. Compare prices from different shipping companies and choose the one that offers the best value for your needs.

By following these simple tips, you can minimize your shipping costs and keep more money in your pocket.

The Benefits of Using an International Freight Shipping Company

There are many benefits to using an international intermodal company. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can save you a great deal of money.

By working with an international shipping company that specializes in international shipments, you can get lower rates than you would if you were to ship the items yourself via a single carrier.

In addition, an international freight shipping company can provide a great deal of flexibility when it comes to schedules and routes.

This can be a major advantage if you need to ship items on short notice or if you need to ship items via a specific cross border route.

Finally, an international freight company can provide a great deal of peace of mind. When you work with a reputable company, you can be confident that your items will arrive safely and on time.

Get a Freight Quote to Canada!

Shipping to Canada from the United States? Whether you’re sending commercial cargo or skidded dry goods, you can get a freight rail quote from us in seconds!

We have a wide range of shipping options to choose from, and our experienced team will work with you to find the best solution.

Plus, we offer competitive pricing and discounts for volume shipping. Get started today by getting a freight quote from us! You’ll be glad you did.

Freight shipping in Canada

Canadian intermodal freight is a vital part of the country’s economy, transporting goods and materials to and from all corners of the nation.

Canada’s network of railways, highways, ports, and airports makes it possible to ship freight quickly and efficiently.

Freight shipping companies in Canada offer a variety of services, including container shipping, flatbed shipping, refrigerator shipping, and more.

Whether you’re shipping consumer goods or finished products, there’s an intermodal solution that will meet your needs.

Canadian freight shipping companies are committed to providing safe, reliable service, and they work hard to ensure that your shipments arrive on time and undamaged.

When you choose a Canadian freight shipping company, you can rest assured that your goods will arrive safely and on time.

The Trusted Intermodal Cross Border Company -RailGateway

RailGateway is one of the most trusted intermodal full load providers in the business.

We have a proven track record of success in providing our clients with cost-effective, efficient, and reliable shipping and fulfillment services.

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing our clients with the highest level of service possible. We’re committed to meeting our clients’ needs and expectations, and we strive to exceed their expectations every time.

We offer our clients a wide range of intermodal services and logistics. We’re confident that we can provide our clients with the best possible service at the most competitive prices.

Request a rail freight quote to learn more about how we can help you with your shipping process.

Ship Freight to and from Canada With Intermodal

Intermodal is a reliable and cost-effective way to transport freight between Canada and the United States and Mexico to Canada.

Intermodal shipping uses a combination of modes of transportation, including rail, truck, and vessel, to move freight.

This method of transport is faster than ocean freight and more economical than air freight.

In addition, intermodal shipping is environmentally friendly, as it emits fewer greenhouse gases than other methods of transportation.

How can I ship freight to Canada?

Freight shipping to Canada can be a straightforward process if you’re familiar with the relevant regulations and procedures.

First, you’ll need to obtain a carrier code from the Canadian Transportation Agency. You’ll also need to register with the Automated Export System and obtain a personal ID number.

Once you have these basics in place, you can begin shipping your freight. Keep in mind that there are some items that are not allowed to be shipped into Canada, such as live animals, weapons, and certain hazardous materials.

You’ll also need to ensure that your shipments are properly labeled and packaged. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in delays or even seizure of your goods.

What are the regulations for shipping freight to Canada?

The regulations for shipping freight to Canada vary depending on the type of goods you are sending and the mode of transportation you’re using.

It’s important to be familiar with the relevant regulations pertaining to your cargo before sending freight, as failure to comply with customs clearance can result in delays or the seizure of your goods.

We’re Canada’s #1 source for freight quotes

If you’re looking for an intermodal freight quote to Canada, look no further than RailGateway.

We’re Canada’s #1 source for intermodal freight quotes, and we can help get your shipment from New Orleans, Jackson, Memphis, and Little Rock to where it needs to go, quickly and affordably.

Request a quote today and see how much you can save on your next delivery.

FAQ

What’s a freight quote?

A freight quote is an estimate of the cost to ship goods by a particular carrier. When sending freight to Canada, it’s important to obtain a freight quote in order to determine the most economical and efficient method for your needs.

What are the benefits of intermodal shipping?

Intermodal is a fast, reliable, and cost-effective way to ship freight between Canada and the United States, and Mexico.

This method of shipping is environmentally friendly, as it emits fewer greenhouse gases than other methods of transportation.

In addition, intermodal shipping is more flexible than other shipping methods, as it allows for shipments to be routed through multiple modes of transportation.

How are freight rates calculated?

Freight rates are calculated based on the weight, dimensions, and value of the goods being shipped. In addition, freight rates may also be affected by the type of shipping container used, the mode of transportation, and the distance traveled.

How is freight cost per container calculated?

Freight cost per container is calculated by dividing the total cost of shipping by the number of containers used. This calculation can be used to compare the cost of shipping between different carriers.

Do you need a customs broker to ship to Canada?

You may need a customs broker to ship to Canada depending on the type of goods you’re shipping and the value of your shipment.

A customs broker can help you navigate customs clearance into Canada and ensure that your shipment is properly labeled and packaged.

What shipping methods are available in Canada?

There are a variety of shipping methods available in Canada, including air freight, ocean freight, and intermodal shipping.

You’ll need to choose the shipping method that best meets your needs based on factors such as time, cost, and the type of goods you are shipping.

How to Get the Best Freight Quote for Your Canada-Bound Shipments

Looking to save on your next freight shipment heading to Canada? RailGateway is the perfect solution! We offer the best freight rates for your Canada-bound shipments.

Contact us today for more information.

7 Intermodal Transportation Advantages: How Canadian Businesses Can Benefit in 2022

Wondering what the top intermodal transportation advantages in 2022 are? In this blog post, we’ll discuss seven reasons why intermodal transportation should be on your radar for any company looking to improve its logistics distribution in 2022 and beyond!

The Advantages of Intermodal Transportation: 7 Reasons Why a Canadian Business Should Branch Out Into Intermodal Freight Transport

1. Lower transportation costs

Intermodal transportation saves you money! Intermodal freight logistics are sometimes thousands of dollars less than truckloads and often lead to better on-time shipments.

Even where modal transit costs just slightly less at the cost of carrying one load, savings are usually significant over a more extended period.

Businesses that are a good fit for intermodal can expect to save between 10% to 15%.

2. Scalability of your Operations

It is scalable as you need it to be. Intermodal transportation opens up your options for international distribution.

Moving cargo shipments across the country cost-effectively and sustainably means greater expansion opportunities. The less time your products spend in transit, the faster and further you’re able to ship your products to increase your customer reach.

Intermodal transportation is also excellent for businesses with growing shipping volumes. With full load services, you can partner with intermodal carriers to ship more freight volume, filling in entire containers that could result in exciting scale savings for your company!

3. Intermodal Rail Transport Makes it Better for the Environment

Intermodal transport is more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation, especially if trains are involved. 

Train transportation is four times more efficient than a truckload. A fully loaded intermodal train removes 280 vehicles off the road and reduces the need for air freight transportation.

With fewer trucks on the roads, there’s also a reduction in noise pollution, and highways are less congested.

4. Efficiency

Moving freight with different transport modes increases productivity, with less time spent loading and unloading containers.

Every minute counts in the shipping industry. And every lost minute can be costly for a business.

When it comes down to shipping—the faster the merchandise can be delivered, the less money will needlessly get spent on storing or delivering that shipment later.

5. Reduce Risks

Intermodal is safer than other transportation modes, especially when it comes to railroads.

Not only are accidents rarer, but shipping on rail cars also means more predictable logistics. (Yay to no traffic!)

Overall, because shippers carry cargo into intermodal containers from origin to destination, the risk for theft is considerably reduced. Avoiding multiple cargo handling in and out of different shipping containers or trailers prevents breakage risks.

6. Keep control over your intermodal shipments

With intermodal transportation, you have better control over each leg of the journey with track and trace capabilities than shipping with a multimodal transport operator.

Why? Because with a multimodal shipping company, you will negotiate a single combined bill of landing. Whereas, with an intermodal operation company, you can negotiate and keep control of each part of the shipment.

This also applies if an issue arises. With multimodal transportation, you will have to “wait and see” how the company can fix the problem, but overall, they handle each part of the shipment. With intermodal, you can change plans along the way and find solutions with other carriers if needed!

7. Reliable capacity and transit times

Intermodal transportation offers dependable, scheduled service with confirmed capacity and lower costs.

Rail intermodal is often the only transportation mode to handle large and heavy cargoes. The ability to offer reliable, scheduled service with confirmed capacity is an essential advantage for intermodal transportation.

This becomes especially important as businesses look to expand their reach into new markets.

In the end, intermodal transportation is a great way to get the most out of the logistics industry by using not one but several shipping modes. By combining the benefits of each transportation type, intermodal can provide an efficient and cost-effective way to move your freight.

Intermodal Shipping Is Growing! Work With an Intermodal Partner You Can Trust.

Intermodal transportation is on the rise, and it’s not going anywhere. In 2019 intermodal transport work was responsible for more than 37.2M tonnes of containers on flat cars shipping.

Intermodal is a smart business move that can help you sustainably grow your company and, with the right partner on your side, help you save beyond anything you’ve imagined.

RailGateway is a Canadian company that provides intermodal rail services, moving full loads across the country at an affordable rate.

With seamless service and quality customer care, RailGateway has ensured its success in this industry by giving customers what they want: on-time, affordably priced intermodal transport.

RailGateway wants to make your life easier. Get your intermodal rail quote today to see the difference we can make for you.

The 13 Downfalls of Intermodal Transportation

There are many benefits to intermodal transportation. It creates jobs in industries that depend on shipping goods and is a cost-effective and efficient means of transporting products across Canada and beyond our borders.

But there are some downsides too. Intermodal transport can be noisy and cause air pollution when trucks use diesel fuel. And while trains might be more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation, they are less flexible because railroad tracks are fixed in one location.

In this blog post, we’ll talk frankly about the cons of intermodal freight transportation and how and when rail intermodal shipping should be considered.

Let’s dive in.

What are the disadvantages of intermodal transportation?

1. Speed

Speed is often a disadvantage of intermodal freight transportation. Customers want their products shipped quickly, but intermodal transport is often much slower than other types of freight transport like air and ground.

2. Lack of reliability

Due to its multiple modes of transport, intermodal freight transportation has a decreased level of reliability for companies across the board. When there are multiple intermodal shippers involved, the chances of something “breaking” along with the intermodal journey increases, and reliability can suffer as a result.

3. High infrastructure costs

Higher infrastructure costs often cause higher service rates for companies that use intermodal transportation. This is especially true when the use of cranes or other heavy-duty equipment is required to move full load containers.

Intermodal containers have lowered costs and made it easier for shippers to transport their products by standardizing how they’re packaged, but require they are handled by industrial-sized cranes which could be scarce outside major ports cities.

4. The complexity of the intermodal operation

Intermodal transportation is a complex system with many moving parts and without proper service design parameters in place, can become a messy process to clean up afterward.

5. Delivery frequency and intermodal transportation timeliness

Intermodal carriers tend to be less frequent than other types of freight carriers like ground and air. This can cause transportation problems if a customer’s demand is not able to keep up with the limitations of intermodal shipments.

However, with a little planning, a lack of timeliness and urgency can save in the long run.

6. Cargo handling of restricted or prohibited products

Some items are either not allowed to be shipped via intermodal transportation or can only be transported if they’re taken apart and reassembled once reaching their destination.

This makes shipping of hazardous materials difficult, as well as some raw building materials that need to be processed prior to being used on the construction site.

7. Damage during the intermodal shipping process

In most cases, damage can be avoided with proper loading and handling procedures. These procedures can be very difficult to manage in container shipping because of the lack of communication between railcar, yard worker, and truck driver.

Building strong partnerships with the right people is crucial for a successful freight transportation process. When you work together, your shipment will be delivered on time and in good condition!

The best way to minimize risk among all parties involved? Starts by having an engaged intermodal solutions team behind the scenes who knows what they’re doing.

At RailGateway we’ll make sure that everything goes as planned throughout this complex but critical intermodal shipping journey. From origin through to the final destination so that not only are deadlines met, but also customer expectations.

Intermodal freight transportation benefits can often be outweighed by its disadvantages when it comes to damage during the freight shipping process. With the correct logistics company on your side, a single point of contact can help to ensure that everything goes as planned and your freight is delivered on time.

If this sounds like what you’re looking for, contact RailGateway today to learn how we are able to do all of this and more.

8. Grievous goods transportation within Canada (environmental hazards)

It’s important to understand that not all dangerous goods are prohibited for transport via road or rail. The rules regarding what hazardous products are allowed vary depending on whether they are transported by highway, rail, or both transport modes.

A product may be allowed for transport as an exception (that means the shipper fills out documentation and seeks permission) if it fits within a series of conditions:

1. The product, although dangerous, has been packaged correctly by the manufacturer;

2. The gross mass of all dangerous products shipped is less than 330 lbs (150kg)

3. It is permitted for transport by other modes of transportation.

4. The dangerous goods being transported are in a quantity or concentration available to the general public.

The two main organizations that regulate the transport of hazardous materials are Transport Canada and the U.S Department of Transportation.

These organizations publish a number of regulations that must be followed in order to safely transport dangerous goods between jurisdictions.

9. Seasonal weather, traffic, congestion and other environmental factors

Intermodal freight transportation receives a lot of attention because of concerns about road congestion and traffic safety.

And because infrastructure capacity is limited, traffic flow disruptions (such as collisions, congestion, or road maintenance) might result in delays and complications in any transportation strategy.

Rail infrastructure is becoming increasingly important as the preferred alternative for shipping goods between locations, especially those that require intermodal transport.

It’s easy to see why: trains can move heavy and oversized cargo that would otherwise be unsafe on roads; rail networks are less susceptible to environmental factors such as rain or snow than roadways and they often go through areas that are under-served by road infrastructure.

10. Limited options for smaller shipments

For smaller or LTL (less than truckload) shipments, options for working with intermodal providers may be limited.

The smaller the shipment, the less likely it will be that an Intermodal provider will have a candidate to move it. It may require multiple stops, making delivery times more lengthy than FTL options.

However, Intermodal providers are working hard to provide customers with more flexible service offerings – which is good news for those who need flexibility.

11. Port congestion

Port congestion is a big concern for Intermodal freight shipping and international trade. Container ships floating waiting for port access, threats of driver strikes, are all too common from an industry under huge strain due to increased transport costs and a global pandemic.

To improve on this, some Intermodal providers are offering more innovative Intermodal transport options, including Intermodal transfers within the port environment itself to maximize terminal space and decongest container yards.

12. Interference with other modes of transport

Because of their size, Intermodal trains take up a lot of room.

As Intermodal traffic increases, it creates more logistical complexity with railways having to navigate around Intermodal trains on shared lines.

Since Intermodal is so effective at moving goods quickly, this may cause interruptions of other rail services. This can have a negative impact on commercial operations that are reliant on the logistics industry for their deliveries.

13. Concerns about Intermodal service quality

The Intermodal transportation industry could be seen as a price-competitive market; carriers tend to focus on low prices and lower margins in order to win business and stay competitive.

The challenge for Intermodal customers has been positive customer perception and confidence in Intermodal transport delivery standards without negatively impacting cost savings or price competitiveness.

Through innovation in technology, Intermodal carriers have been working hard to raise the customer service standards of Intermodal transportation.

Pros and Cons of Intermodal Transport

Benefits of intermodal freight shipping

There are three major benefits that come with the use of intermodal shipments. The first and foremost benefit that is to be considered when it comes to this type of transport is the cost savings.

The decision to invest in goods and services for intermodal means saves both time and money, which in turn leads to more efficient product delivery.

A further added benefit is sustainability. This is because when one mode of transportation such as rail or ship malfunctions, the other mode will be able to act as backup, thereby reducing any possible damage done to goods.

For a complete list of benefits visit our post ‘Getting Started with Intermodal Transport: The 7 Benefits Beyond What You’ve Heard

The downfall of an intermodal transportation system

It is not uncommon for individuals who want to take advantage of the benefits that come with this type of intermodal transportation mode to lose money.

This occurs when there’s a delay in the delivery time of goods or when working with an inexperienced rail transport partner.

With RailGateway as your intermodal freight shipper, you’re guaranteed unparalleled service that saves you money while providing a reliable solution for all of your supply chain needs.

Our extensive network provides a single point of contact to develop the most extensive and comprehensive rail program for our clients. And with over 40 years of combined rail experience are rates are unmatched across Canada.

The Importance of Intermodal Transportation

Besides low transportation costs, fuel efficiency, and the positive environmental impact that rail transportation and intermodal transportation services offer, planning and executing large-scale projects is also a huge plus when considering an intermodal shipping process.

In 2019, the Canadian rail industry carried more than 332 million tonnes of freight and assisted in the delivery of $205 billion worth of Canadian products to markets all around North America and throughout the world through a network of intermodal terminals (rail, ship, and truck).

With some of the most competitive rail transportation costs in the world, Canadian businesses (and as a happy side-effect, consumers) saved billions of dollars with intermodal freight transportation.

Multimodal Transportation and Intermodal Transport Mode explained

Intermodal freight transport, which combines multiple modes of transit into a single journey, is critical to the delivery process. It enables accurate routing and reduces handling costs.

While only using one carrier can provide the most efficient transportation method while also reducing paperwork, sometimes it’s preferable to use several different transport carriers for optimum overall shipping cost but with greater logistic coordination work.

Multimodal Transportation is the term used to describe the transport of goods using two or more modes. The carriers involved in an intermodal transportation chain should be compatible with each other so that they can deliver items safely and efficiently together. While trucking companies are common partners for railroads, truck carriers are also linked with steamships to increase flexibility.

How to Choose the Right Mode of Transport for Your Needs

Intermodal shipping has always been a difficult decision to make. You have to take into account the pros and cons of all transportation modes, including road freight transport, rail, river transportation, and airfreight.

Factors you need to take into account when making the choice between intermodal shipping logistics companies are:

– Availability of raw materials for various modes of transportation.

– Economical properties, fuel efficiency, modal systems of each mode.

– Geographical access of all intermodal providers.

– Security of cargo during the transportation process.

– Ease of logistics.

When making the choice to switch to intermodal freight shipping or rail freight shipping, you need to take into account all the factors above and compare them with the benefits offered by each model.

Before switching to using intermodal freight shipping or rail freight shipping, your company must have a good understanding of the financial aspects of using each model.

For example, if you ship commercially sensitive or high-value shipments that need to be transported quickly, then air freight transport might be best for your business due to its ability to move products at high speeds.

If you’re shipping large quantities of goods, then it might be better for your business to use intermodal rail shipping due to its large capacity which can provide significant savings.

Another important factor when choosing between intermodal shipping and rail freight transportation is the security aspect of transporting your goods.

If your company needs high-security transport, then modes such as sea or road transport might be better than modes such as air transport, where security can sometimes be compromised.

Switching to using intermodal freight shipping or rail freight shipping could benefit your business in many ways.

When should you consider using rail freight for shipping your products across Canada?

Rail freight services are utilized by a wide range of clients and transport a diverse variety of items and commodities. Power generating companies, construction companies, retailers, and fruit wholesalers are all frequent users of rail freight services.

Railways play a strategic role in Canada’s economy and are the most efficient and dependable form of transportation, moving 70% of the nation’s surface goods.

The railways are an important part of Canada’s history and were instrumental in the growth and development of the country. Canada’s geography makes the railways an invaluable resource for moving cargo from one part of the country to another and especially over long distances.

Curious if making the switch to rail is right for your business? Contact one of our RailGateway intermodal shipping experts today for more information on how rail can help reduce costs.

The shipping industry continues to baffle the average consumer. There are so many modes of transportation which makes it hard to determine what mode will be the most cost-efficient, economical, and safe.

The world of intermodal and multimodal transportation is no different. It can be confusing to know what options are available and if they will meet your specific company’s needs.

Choosing the right mode of transport is difficult for any business. If you’re not sure if switching to using either modal service would help improve efficiency in your company, feel free to contact our team of rail experts who are ready and waiting to answer any questions or concerns regarding this topic.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Top 7 Intermodal Transportation Trends That Matter in 2022

What’s happening in the world of intermodal transportation in 2022? Here are seven trends that will shape the industry.

Whether you’re just starting out in logistics or you’ve been working in the field for years, it’s important to stay informed about these changes. Keep reading to learn more!

Intermodal freight transportation back on the rise

The intermodal freight transportation industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs. But Intermodal transportation is on the upward climb.

According to a report on ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global intermodal transportation market is expected to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.27% over forecast between 2020 to 2025.

So what does that mean for logistics professionals? Here are seven intermodal transportation trends that will matter in 2022. Keep an eye on them!

What’s trending in Intermodal Transport

Trend #1: Advances in Sustainability and Greener technology

Probably the most exciting trend is the advancement and development of battery-electric trains. Intermodal freight companies are racing to bring the first electric Intermodal train to market – for both intercity and intermodal transportation services.

In November 2021, CN Railway purchased Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive, the first 100-percent battery heavy-haul engine for the region in support of CN’s sustainability objectives.

This new technology is an essential building block in moving toward a lower carbon future.

Trend #2: Better tracking on existing freight transportation systems and more visibility

With intermodal shipments on the rise and outdated systems falling behind, electronic scanning technology to make the shipping process faster and more efficient will become more prominent.

A demand for a more efficient shipment of goods has motivated the rail industry to improve operations by implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR).

Intermodal freight companies need to keep up with these changes for the sake of their customers and business growth. Real-time or live tracking, tracking with hands-on video, and GPS reporting are all up-and-coming or evolving.

Intermodal software can help Intermodal freight operators manage load boards, track incoming shipments, update drivers on the status of their cargo, and even allow customers to track their shipments online.

Best of all? Intermodal software is often cloud-based or SaaS (software-as-a-service)

Trend #3: Innovation in technology and intermodal services

Intermodal transportation providers are investing in new technologies to offer never-seen-before services.

CN Rail’s (Canadian National Railway) partnership with Google Cloud to deliver an enhanced customer service experience has helped modernize railway services in Canada.

And the adoption of new technologies like Positive Train Control (PTC), designed to address human error, is ushering in an exciting new era of efficiency and safety for US railroads – source Association of American Railroads (AAR), Assistant VP Luisa Fernandez-Willey

Trend #4: Port congestion

Global freight forwarders are bracing themselves for another year of backlogs … or are they?

According to Greg Knowler of JOC.com (The Journal of Commerce Online) despite recent carrier “hype” over persistent congestion levels, rising prices and interest rates might slow down consumer demand and result in a rapid drop in global container shipping demand.

… there will be no shortage of solutions or surprises for the market this upcoming year.

Looking to move your freight from Ontario out West? Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, which ever city we can help.

With over 40 years of experience, RailGateway is the number one choice in Canada for Full Load Intermodal freight transportation. Request your FREE no-obligation quote here. Let’s help you save today.

Trend #5: Transportation companies embracing B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is the most efficient way for companies to connect with each other online. And Intermodal B2B eCommerce allows smaller companies to share orders and take advantage of bulk purchasing.

Trend #6: Driver Shortages

An ongoing truck driver shortage, a declining workforce from retirement and from those who can’t afford to drive – is causing a worry in the Intermodal industry.

In order for Intermodal companies to stay profitable, they need to be able to transport goods as quickly as possible. The truck driver shortage makes that nearly impossible.

Coyote.com reports that the industry is seeing a -38% in truck driver posting activity.

Trend #7: Investment in warehousing operations

As Intermodal companies expand their Intermodal services an increasing number are investing in Intermodal warehouses to meet customer demand for last mile delivery.

This will provide improved quality of service, cost savings and improved end-to-end Intermodal freight management.

Intermodal transportation providers are preparing themselves for the future by investing in new technologies and embracing B2B eCommerce.

These changes will help Intermodal freight operators manage load boards, track incoming shipments, update drivers on the status of their cargo, and even allow customers to track their own shipments online.

As global freight forwarders brace themselves for another year of backlogs, Intermodal companies are looking for solutions to keep up with rising prices and interest rates.

Whatever surprises the market has in store this upcoming year, RailGateway is here to help you save. Request your FREE no-obligation quote today!

Intermodal Services Explained

When it comes to the shipping industry, there are various ways to transport goods from place A to place B. However, as data has shown us, the most efficient method for cargo transportation is through intermodal transportation. What is intermodal transportation? How does it work? And when should businesses use it? 

To put it simply, you have a container on a ship, train, or truck. That’s intermodal transportation. But why does that matter? There are multiple modes of transport and combinations thereof.

Intermodal transportation is efficient because it takes advantage of the best features of each mode. A truck can drive on land, while a ship can transport cargo internationally, and a train provides the ability to move heavy-weight cargo over long distances quickly. 

When thinking about transportation this way, intermodal transportation is essentially an entire industry within an industry. Transportation is the backbone of most industries, so it’s important to understand how intermodal transportation works if you are in business.

Types of Intermodal Services 

1. Door to Door Intermodal Services 

Door-to-door (D2D) shipping involves picking up the product at the vendor’s doorstep and delivering it to the recipient’s doorstep. D2D services typically operate between a limited number of pick-up and delivery locations.

D2D intermodal Shipping provides combinations of services and modes of transport for an integrated door-to-door service. For example, a product may be shipped by truck or rail to a local depot, where it’s consolidated with other consignments destined for the same area before being loaded onto a ship. 

The vessel might then stop at other major ports to pick up consignments for an inland area before being delivered to the final destination. This term also covers a combination of services and other transportation modes that allow consistent end-to-end delivery.

To provide this door-to-door service, shippers and carriers often enter into a contract known as a “through bill of lading,” which defines all aspects of how the shipment is handled. The document serves as a contract of carriage between a shipping company and the carrier. 

2. Terminal Direct Intermodal Service

Direct intermodal service involves both the terminal and an intermodal yard. This is typical of a direct point-to-point or loop route with ISO containers or trailers loaded at shippers’ premises, transported to an intermodal terminal, and then delivered by rail or motor carriers to another location.

The most significant advantage of direct service is that it affords cargo owners to have their goods delivered directly from customer premises onto trains and trucks without any intervening transfer operations by shippers themselves. This reduces handling costs for both the railroad and its customers. It also provides flexibility in that if market conditions warrant, the railroad can substitute truck service when train schedules are interrupted.

Direct intermodal rail service is generally available in most areas served by Class I and Class II railroads in Canada. Intermodal shippers submit their load information to a central computer dispatch system that coordinates shipments, improving planning and scheduling capabilities.

3. Domestic Intermodal Service

Domestic intermodal service denotes the domestic movement of a container or trailer, using various modes of transportation and at least one connecting carrier.

Domestic intermodal service begins when the shipping customer delivers the cargo to a local pick-up location, such as a warehouse or rail yard. The carrier then reloads the cargo at a rail yard, port, airport, etc. This load is then delivered to a second location using another method of transportation. 

4.International Intermodal Service 

International intermodal service means global movement of a container or trailer, using more than one mode of transportation and at least one connecting carrier.

International intermodal service begins when the shipping customer delivers the cargo to a local pick-up. The carrier then reloads the cargo at a rail yard, port, airport, etc. This load is then delivered to a second location using another method of transportation such as ocean intermodal freight and delivery via truck to its final destination.

Pros and Cons of Using Intermodal Transport

While intermodal transportation is the most efficient method for shipping cargo, there are still some cons to using this type of transport. Here are some pros and cons of using intermodal transportation as a whole:

Pros

  • Efficient for shipping cargo of any size, shape, or weight.
  • This transportation mode reduces the carbon footprint of shipping by taking advantage of trains and ships which already exist.
  • Containers are often fitted with security devices to keep cargo safe.
  • Intermodal container transportation is cheaper especially considering the long distances covered.
  • Convenient for people who deal in international trade; reduces the time it takes for products to reach their destination.
  • Containers can be used as self-contained storage that can withstand different environmental conditions.

Cons

  • There are high structural costs–ships, trains, and trucks are expensive.
  • Requires long-term planning to ensure that shipping schedules are met.
  • Requires large supply chains, complex financial transactions, complex service relationships, etc.

The Nature of Intermodal Transportation in Canada

Transport is integral to the Canadian economy. Goods transport has increased substantially because of North America’s open economies and Canada’s access to foreign markets. Goods represent a substantial part of the transportation process.

Intermodal transportation is an integral part of the transport picture in Canada. Containers and trailers play a major role in the domestic and international movement of goods by offering advantages such as flexibility, reliability, and economies of scale.


Companies are beginning to adopt intermodal transportation due to its benefits over other forms of transportation. This intermodal movement has a positive impact on the economy in Canada and abroad. And as global online trade and commerce grow, intermodal transportation and shipping will be a crucial element in the growth and success of the logistics industry.

Intermodal Contracts for Beginners

When you think about freight transportation, two terms come into mind; intermodal and multimodal transportation. Both transport methods involve moving your shipment from the origin to the destination using several methods in between.

These transportation methods can include rail, ship, barge, truck, or a combination of transport carriers. And can also mean different carriers were used to transport the goods at every stage of the journey.

Not only do you have to pick the ideal intermodal shipping process for your firm, but you must also select the best intermodal contract rates available. Let us help you decide.

What is Intermodal Freight Transportation?

Intermodal transportation refers to two or more transportation modes to move cargo from one place in the original country to another destination, often in another country. The unique characteristic of the intermodal shipping process is that every step of the process has a different provider with a separate contract.

Several businesses use the intermodal shipping method to get their cargo to the final destination. One of the reasons for choosing intermodal pricing is because it reduces freight costs. It also reduces the amount of handling on your cargo throughout the trip. The method also allows drivers to deal with more loads at reduced periods.

The critical difference between intermodal transportation and truckload shipping is the harmonic vibrations. The vibration on the rail transportation segment can move the freight vertically, laterally, and longitudinally. If your cargo is not braced or blocked properly, the harmonic vibrations will move it, unlike truckload transportation. The movement can cause overweight problems for the shippers and lead to damages.

Blocking and bracing your cargo correctly isn’t complex. It can be as simple as using some wood blocks and the right size of nails.

Is intermodal shipping service complicated?

There is a misunderstanding that the cargo transportation method is complicated because of the many steps involved in moving cargo. However, the process has become less cumbersome and more efficient.

Intermodal providers use data analysis to make transportation adjustments on their end, or they can make recommendations on improving the process from your end. Additionally, the intermodal provider will evaluate key performance indicators to help you make critical improvements to your business.

Benefits of Using the Intermodal Freight Transportation

  • It is a cheaper than truckload
  • Enhanced security
  • optimizes the truck and rail efficacy
  • Minimizes highway congestion
  • Sustainable
  • Easy to monitor
  • Uses environmentally friendly carriers

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) outlines the journey while using intermodal transport starting from the manufacturer where you fix the container to a chassis. It’s loaded with freight, and a dray motor carrier drives it to the origin railroad ramp. When the container gets to the intermodal ramp, it’s moved from the chassis and loaded onto a well car.

The intermodal container then moves across the railroad network using the train cars until the final destination. Once the container gets to the destination, a truck carries and delivers it to its final destination.

Types of Intermodal Services 

Intermodal services come in two types: Container-on-Flatcar (COFC) and Trailer-on-Flatcar (TOFC). In the latter, you place the Over-the-road trailer onto the well car.

COFC became prominent in the 1980s because of its cost-effectiveness to load four containers on a well car.

Common Issues Around Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal transportation comes with its advantages and disadvantages. However, some are not disadvantages but are misconceptions that people in the freight market share regarding the intermodal journey.

It’ll be best to evaluate the value that intermodal transportation adds to your business. Some of the misconceptions about intermodal transportation include:

Unreliable Service 

Shippers that are not conversant with the shipping method think of railroad transport as slow. However, the intermodal service is reputable for its timely deliveries that beat the truckload. Rail transit has precise schedules that ensure your freight gets to its destination on time. The railroad also has the advantage of consistent planning over a long time.

Long Times on Transit 

Unfortunately, intermodal freight transportation has been a slow method over time. The reputation is born from a belief from shippers that since the mode of transport is on the rail, it’ll feature the same transit that railcars have.

However, railroads are aware of their competition by truckload. So they strive to offer a different service using the intermodal method.

Intermodal transportation on a single railroad is the same as a truckload transit plus one day. If the intermodal freight is intertwined between two railroads, the transportation is the same as truckload transit plus another two days. Some intermodal lanes offer you the same transit that you get from truckload. Furthermore, unlike the truckload, the railroads will move even on weekends, meaning a slow transportation method is a misconception.

Loss and Damage 

One of the concerns that shippers have with a freight transportation method is the loss and damage of their cargo. It’ll be best if the transportation method offers optimum freight safety.

As mentioned earlier, the element of vibrations on the rail segment of intermodal can move the freight longitudinally, vertically, and laterally. If you don’t block and brace the cargo properly, the vibrations can damage and cause overweight issues.

Complicated

Another misconception regarding intermodal transportation is that it is complicated. The complication is seen in the various steps to get cargo from the origin to the final destination.

However, there is no complication as the transportation process has become efficient over time. Additionally, your transport provider will make the necessary adjustments to your strategy, or they can recommend how you can adjust to make the journey more effective. The recommendations come from data analysis, making them ideal for improving your business.


Intermodal freight transportation is an excellent option if you want to move your cargo from origin to its final destination. It is not uncommon to confuse intermodal and multimodal transport methods.

One of the key differences is that intermodal involves using different modes, including rail and truck transport. It can also involve various contracts at every step of the journey. The method is safe, reliable and will get your shipment to its final destination on time.

Intermodal News: Making Headlines This Year

The year 2021 has been a big one for Intermodal news. The intermodal industry has seen unprecedented change and innovation this past year, with many companies and organizations making headlines for their initiatives and accomplishments. 

From shipping container shortages to the cargo ship that broke international trade, there’s no denying that we’re living in an exciting time for intermodal news!

Intermodal News and Updates Impacting Your Business and the Intermodal Industry Today!

To keep up with all the newsworthy happenings, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you might not know about Intermodal as it enters 2022.

There have been many stories about how people use this mode of freight transportation to get their goods from coast to coast.

There have also been articles about how it’s a tool for economic growth, sustainability, and improving public safety.

This post is dedicated to showing you some of the most notable headlines that made waves in the past year. We promise to keep it up to date and fresh.

intermodal containers stacked on top of one another

Domestic containers

A worldwide supply chain crisis has cut off everything from medical supplies to holiday presents, putting a new spin on shipping containers. Read the full post here.

Intermodal traffic

Railyards clog up as delays continue and port congestion worsens. Read more about it here.

Freight capacity

Prices surge, intermodal transportation capacity dips, read what’s making waves about logistics demand here.

Truck drivers shortage

Why limited supply has forced shippers to consider higher than average contract rates instead of spot rates. Reporter Max Garland has the full story here.

Intermodal volume and demand

2021 started strong, but September reports show a decrease in volume per IANA studies. Compare both here.

North American Intermodal news

US and Canada see a continued downward trend in intermodal transportation year over year. Click here for full details.

BNSF Railway headlines

BNSF and Wabtec begin testing in California on a battery-powered locomotive. Read more about it here.

Intermodal logistics beyond 2021

The future of intermodal operations and predictions for the next five years to come in railroad and truckload transport. Full article here.

Norfolk Southern in the news

Crew shortages, poorer service – Norfolk has its fair share of struggles in 2021. Read the full Trains.com article here.

Supply chains

Writer Edwin Lopez deep dives into five years of supply chain management and the lessons learned along the way. Click here to read more.


Are you looking to make a move over to rail shipping? RailGateway is Canada’s #1 choice in full load intermodal rail transport. Contact us today for a FREE no-obligation rail quote on how we can help you save.

Intermodal vs Truckload Shipments: Choosing the Right Delivery For Your Cargo

This post was last updated on May 17th, 2022

Whether you need to ship loose materials across the county or send a couple of pallets from Montreal to Edmonton, intermodal and truckload shipping are the two primary methods for moving goods.

But it’s important not to use one method or the other as a “one size fits all” solution. These modes of transport have their own benefits and drawbacks.

We know deciding which delivery method is suitable for your shipment can be difficult, so we hope this blog post will help you make an informed decision.

What are intermodal shipping and truckload shipping?

The most important thing for you to know about intermodal vs truckload shipping carriers is that they are not made equal.

Intermodal freight carriers move goods from one mode of transportation to another without ever unloading the merchandise, thanks to intermodal containerization.

While OTR’s (over-the-road trucking carriers) provide truckload shipments, meaning the merchandise will be moved in a loaded trailer, from origin to destination, or from warehouses to intermodal trains or depots.

What are the key differences between truckload shipping and intermodal shipping?

You’ve probably heard this before, rail is cheaper than truck transport, but when does over-the-road trucking make more sense in a supply chain strategy?

Truckload shipping is ideal for time-sensitive shipments, high-value freight that will travel a short distance. Because truckload carriers’ schedules are more flexible, they can collect and deliver freight at more convenient times.

Intermodal transportation requires more planning and is ideal for high-volume shipments that aren’t time-sensitive and can travel a long distance without damage.

Because intermodal containers are the same size and can be lifted by a crane, it’s easy to transfer freight from one truck or train to another without unloading and reloading the cargo.

When to choose truckload?

  • More than 80 km (or 50 miles) from an intermodal ramp but less than 800 km or 500 miles to the final destination.
  • Urgent, last-minute, time-sensitive shipments where speed is the most important logistics factor.
  • Perishable goods or freight within proper storage containers on short or demanding transit times.
  • Inconvenient intermodal ramp locations

When to choose intermodal?

  • If you have a predictable intermodal shipment schedule that is frequent and where freight spend is the most important logistics factor.
  • For larger intermodal freight shipments with longer transit times or irregular/ unpredictable shipments that do not require urgent delivery.
  • Delivery distance is more than 800 km or 500 miles.
  • A desire to offset carbon footprint or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the main criteria to make an informed decision?

When comparing intermodal vs truckload shipping, companies should take into account 3 key factors:

– Distance: How far will the freight travel? What’s the distance from the origin to the final destination?

– Size and weight: What is the size of the shipment? How large is the item being shipped? What is the total weight?

– Convenience and time lime: What’s the best route? What’s the delivery window? How urgently do the goods need to be delivered?

Which option is best for your business?

For moving freight in a non-time-sensitive way and for a long distance, most intermodal providers will offer you lower transportation costs. Intermodal shipments also have better fuel efficiency, a lighter carbon footprint, and a safer shipping service than truckload shipping.

However, choose truckload if prices are non of your concern but you intend to ship on short distances and if you are worried about the deadline of your delivery. Indeed, truckload transit time is usually faster than with intermodal transportation, and it is much easier to find a truck when you need one.

Moving from Truckload to Intermodal Rail

Is intermodal cheaper than truckload?

In many cases, intermodal transportation is cheaper and more fuel-efficient than other logistic modes. But it’s not always the right fit or solution.

Contact one of our logistics experts to discuss your specific needs and see if intermodal is the right choice for you.

What is intermodal shipping?

Intermodal shipping is the movement or transportation of goods using more than one mode of transport (rail, truck, ship, air).

Curious if intermodal is right for your business? Read our post about when and why you should make the switch.

What is the difference between drayage and intermodal?

Both terms refer to the movement of goods. Drayage, the movement of cargo over a short distance. And intermodal, the complete shipment journey over a longer distance.

Please read our guide on intermodal terms and phrases everyone getting started with intermodal should know.

What is meant by truckload?

Truckload freight is cargo that fills a truck or part of a truck. The term usually applies to shipments too large to move by rail.

What does FTL or LTL mean in shipping terms?

FTL stands for full truckload, while LTL, less than a full truckload. This term references the cargo, goods, products, or raw materials.

With a full truckload, the goods of a client fill the entire truck or container. On the contrary, with less than full truckload shipments, only part of a truck is loaded by a client. This means that in order for the truck to be more cost and fuel-efficient, the service provider has to contract and fill his truck with loads from other businesses too.

Read our guide on picking the right shipping terms for your needs.

The benefits of intermodal offer great reasons to be switching up your game to conquer further away locations. But moving from truckload to intermodal rail can be an expensive and time-consuming process.

Luckily, there are many affordable options for shipping that may work better.

If you’re considering moving your company over to a more environmentally friendly method of transporting goods by opting for the cheaper option of switching over to intermodal transportation, contact one of our logistics experts today!

We’ll help you find the best solution based on your needs and budget.

Canada’s Domestic Intermodal Shipping Industry. How Does Your Business Fit-in?

Canada’s domestic intermodal industry is one of its most vibrant industries. It was built on a foundation of good ideas and innovation, which continues with constant change and growth.

The domestic intermodal transportation industry has been steadily growing over the years and employs close to 1M people in Canada’s intermodal logistics sector alone.

And it’s not just limited to freight transport by truck and rail. Domestic services are available for ocean shipping and air cargo as well.

The domestic industry is a critical part of Canada’s economic growth. Here we’ll take a look at what domestic intermodal transportation is and how it can benefit your business.

The History of Domestic Intermodal Service in Canada

Domestic intermodal freight transport has been around in Canada since the early 19th century. Ten years after England established its first steam railway line, Canada’s first railway line was built in 1836.

Construction in Canada’s rail industry began to take off from there. The Grand Trunk Railway ran from Sarnia, Ontario, through Toronto and Montreal to Portland, Maine was built. And in 1854, the Great Western Railway completed a route between Niagara Falls and Detroit via Hamilton.

Oddly enough, the Intercolonial Railway, the largest network, never expected to profit. So when financial troubles hit during the first World War, the railroads’ system was merged into CN Rail (Canadian National Railways) and the debts inherited by the Canadian government-owned company. (source The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Canada’s rail intermodal volume is primarily used to move or ship dry bulk cargo such as coal and grain in standardized intermodal containers (ISO containers).

The first container train was operated by CN, carrying 200 intermodal containers from Montreal to Toronto in 1968.

Today, Canada’s domestic intermodal freight transport handles everything from cars to electronics to toys.

Intermodal Economic Growth in Canada and North America

In Canada, domestic freight is moved primarily by trucks (70%) and rail (30%). But the tables are turning towards a heavier reliance on rail transportation.

Intermodal traffic delays and backlogs, intermodal capacity constraints, driver shortages, increased transit time and delivery fees, port congestion and a global pandemic have contributed to the increased interest in rail’s market share.

The rail market is expected to accelerate at a CARG rate of 4%, and 33% of that growth will originate from North America. – Technavio.com

What is Domestic Intermodal Service?

Domestic intermodal service simply put is the domestic shipping of freight and can help companies expand and move their products quickly and more efficiently.

Companies in Canada with international trade will also find domestic intermodal services beneficial for their needs.

Domestic logistics can be used to move goods from one location in the country to another and between countries like the US and Mexico.

Canadian domestic shipments are typically handled by truck and rail transport. Trucking offers a more flexible solution for shorter distances, but both rail and trucking provide competitive rates and convenience when needed.

What Domestic Intermodal Service is Best for Me?

This depends on your needs. Also, on the volume of shipments you’re looking to ship/receive and to and from where.

If you’re looking for domestic transport by rail, finding a company that specializes in domestic shipping on your specific route is critical.

Domestic logistics operators can also provide customs brokerage and warehousing services, which can help your company save money.

Are you looking to ship from Ontario or Quebec out West? Contact one of our rail experts for a FREE no-obligation quote. We’re confident our rates will be within your budget.

According to Statistics Canada, domestic intermodal transport volumes are expected to grow over the next few years. This is good news for businesses who want to move their goods domestically, as this service will only become more efficient.

Domestic Intermodal Services Today and the Benefits They Offer You as a Shipper or Freight Forwarder

Recent changes to international trade have impacted domestic logistics, but domestic transportation still remains one of the most vibrant industries in Canada’s economy.

Domestic railway freight transportation is playing an ever-increasing role in transporting goods across the country.

Intermodal rail service offers advantages for moving goods over long distances, including reduced handling and inventory costs and improved security and on-time performance.

When you’re looking to ship your domestic freight, it’s important to find the right domestic intermodal service for your needs. It can be challenging to know where to start with so many options available.

That’s where we come in! RailGateway is Canada’s number one choice in full load intermodal rail transport with over 40+ years of experience shipping domestic freight by rail across Canada. 

We provide intermodal services for companies of all sizes in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.

We have the knowledge and expertise to offer you domestic shipping by rail with excellent on-time service that goes above and beyond.

Intermodal logistics is a great way for businesses to decrease costs without reducing their level of service. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.


Canadian domestic transportation history is one of the most vibrant industries in Canada, with constant change and growth over the years.

With domestic logistics playing an ever-increasing role in the movement of goods across Canada, businesses need to find out if this service will benefit their needs.

We’re confident that you’ll see how much value we can add to your company’s bottom line, just like so many others have before you!

Thank you for reading this article. We hope that it has been helpful to you as a reader.