When to Use Intermodal Transportation: Businesses That Use Intermodal Transport and Why You Should Make the Switch!

Have you ever wondered what types of businesses use intermodal transportation? Well, the answer is that they are many and varied. And while some people might not think it’s a good idea for their business to make the switch, there are actually many benefits to intermodal shipping.

In this article, we’ll discuss 3 different types of companies that should consider intermodal freight transportation and why it can be beneficial for them.

Intermodal Shipping

Intermodal transportation is intermodal shipping. It’s a shipping service, a system of transporting goods from one place to another, by using a combination of rail transport, air cargo, trucking, and/or waterway. 

It’s a more consistent service and a cost-effective, fuel-efficient way of moving freight while being environmentally responsible all at the same time.

According to the IANA (Intermodal Association of North America), 95% of all manufactured goods spend some portion of their shipment in an intermodal container.

4 Industries That Use Intermodal Transportation and Why

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Foodservice providers
  • Retail and e-commerce

1) Manufacturing Companies

Manufacturing companies are among the top intermodal transport users. Most of their freight is large, bulky, and difficult to move by traditional means because of its size or weight.

Manufacturers also need to move their goods on time, and intermodal transportation is the perfect solution for them.

Logistics companies that offer intermodal freight shipping services will pick up and deliver your freight using two or more modes of trucks (road transport), railroads (railroad delivery), or planes (air shipment).

This allows manufacturers to move their freight to facilities with an intermodal ramp where cargo can be transferred or received by ocean-going ships, saving them time and money in the process.

Intermodal transportation provides great benefits for manufacturing companies:

– Cheaper transportation costs compared with other forms of shipping

– Reduced carbon footprint through fuel efficiency

– Ease in intermodal transport, which reduces the risk of damage to cargo during shipment.

2) Construction Companies

Next up are construction companies.

One common problem that arises when you’re dealing with heavy machinery is how to get it from one place on-site to another without causing damage or injury to people, the equipment itself, or the surrounding site.

This is where intermodal freight transport services come in handy for construction companies because they use special standardized containers that can be double stacked for maximum efficiency to high-volume shipments that are easily accessible by forklift trucks and cranes.

Construction companies will also find intermodal transportation beneficial when it comes time to ship equipment overseas.

3) Foodservice providers

Foodservice providers play a vital role in intermodal transportation.

For example, one of the most common companies that use intermodal freight transportation is Starbucks Coffee.

It’s estimated that around 65 to 70 percent of Starbucks’ supply chain operating expenses were tied to intermodal freight transportation

Retailers like them are able to save 15%-20% on costs by using intermodal providers.

And if you’re running an e-commerce business, it’s likely your company will also benefit greatly through intermodal transport as well!  

Looking to reduce your shipping costs? With over 40 years combined of full load intermodal freight shipping experience, RailGateway.ca  intermodal transportation experts will work with you to find the best intermodal shipping solution for your business and budget.

We can help you reduce transport costs as you move your product from coast to coast in the most efficient way possible.

We’ll work with you to do whatever it takes to speed up shipment times and lower shipping costs.

You can rely on RailGateway.ca for one-on-one consultation for all your transportation needs.

4) Retailers and e-commerce companies

One final group that’s benefited from intermodal transportation is retailers and online merchants.

The intermodal freight transport system has opened up new opportunities for online stores to expand their markets, allowing them to reach customers around the country with lower costs.

Retail businesses rely on manufacturers to deliver their goods in order to sell out onto store shelves and online where end consumers can purchase them.

Without being able to get these goods quickly, they’d have nothing but empty space inside their establishments. In this, intermodal transportation benefits retailers greatly through a reliable capacity to grow and scale.

When to Use Intermodal Transportation: 5 Reasons Why It’s Time to Make the Switch 

You should be switching to intermodal transportation when your business has a few key things going for it.

For intermodal transportation to be a viable option, your business should:

1. Ship a large amount of cargo

Businesses that ship large amounts of goods or require items on a regular basis, then intermodal transport could prove to be cheaper than other methods.

It offers less handling time which means more savings in labor costs.

2. A growing demand for intermodal transportation needs

Intermodal freight transportation can be a great option for companies shipping both domestically and internationally.

To ensure that you’re not paying too much in brokerage fees on your shipments consult an intermodal shipping provider.

If your business is shipping domestically and internationally, using intermodal as a mode of moving freight will save you time and money.

You can benefit from intermodal transportation by:

– Being more environmentally friendly with fewer emissions than other modes that may be used to transport goods across the country or around the world.

– Saving time, allowing for faster deliveries and better service to customers by having everything consolidated under one carrier. 

3.  For manufacturers and wholesalers

Intermodal transport as a method of shipment is very advantageous for manufacturing companies because it allows them to meet large-scale demand more quickly.

Intermodal shipping providers are able to arrange shipments according to your schedule, and are flexible about arranging transportation services at any time during the day or night and on weekends too!

4. Have a strong understanding of its shipping needs and requirements

Businesses that are starting to ship intermodal need an intermodal shipping provider they can trust.

A good intermodal transportation company will take the time to understand your business, its goals, and objectives so it can provide you with a solution for all of your intermodal needs.

Before consulting with an intermodal service provider you should have a strong understanding of your shipping volumes, schedules, delivery times, and what your business needs are.

This will allow intermodal transportation providers to provide an accurate quote for your intermodal shipments.

5. Be able to make the commitment in terms of time and money for intermodal transport services.

This is where intermodal service providers are advantageous because they have agreements with carriers that allow them to provide you with the best rates on intermodal transport.

They can also handle all of your intermodal shipping needs.

6. Have a dedicated team responsible for overseeing intermodal shipments

Investing in dedicated support to oversee your intermodal transits is not always realistic. In lieu of taking on additional overhead, companies instead should look at partnering with a dedicated intermodal freight shipping service provider.

By providing accurate shipment information about contents, weight, and dimensions, intermodal transport providers can offer support in supply chain management in ensuring shipments arrive safely to their final destination.


If your business meets these requirements then it’s time to consider intermodal transportation. Intermodal service has been offering more than just economical benefits such as lower costs and faster delivery.

And while intermodal transportation is not for every business it does have its advantages when used correctly – with the right intermodal shipping provider you and your business can save valuable time and money!

Looking to make the switch to full load rail transport? Contact one of our experts for your free quote today.