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  • Writer's pictureSedat Onat

Intermodal Transportation

What is Intermodal Transportation?

Intermodal Transportation means the integrated use of at least 2 different transportation modes (Land, sea, air, railway, etc.) without changing the transportation vehicle, and ensures the smooth transfer of loads from one transportation mode to another. For example, a container arriving by sea is transported by rail. Intermodal transportation offers a solution to manage and optimize logistically complex shipping routes.

Usage Areas

  1. General Cargo with Containers: Intermodal transportation is frequently used in general cargo transportation. This can include a variety of products such as electronic goods, textiles, packaging materials.

  2. Food Products: Food products that require temperature control (e.g. fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products) are transported through cooling containers.

  3. Sensitive Products: Sensitive products may require special transport conditions. These products can be transported by intermodal transportation and stored under appropriate conditions when necessary.

  4. Chemical Products: Chemical substances are considered dangerous cargoes and intermodal transportation is used to ensure the safe transportation of such products.

  5. Automobiles and Spare Parts: It is generally used for the transportation of expensive vehicles. Recently, especially as container transportation has become cheaper, vehicle transportation has started to be provided to fill the gap in the return of containers. In addition, tires are also among the products transported via intermodal.

  6. Industrial Equipment: Large industrial equipment can be transported by intermodal transportation. This is a common practice for the energy sector, construction sector and other industries.

  7. Retail Products:The retail industry uses intermodal transportation to move inventories to fulfillment centers or distribute products to stores.

  8. Agricultural Products: Grains, cereals and other agricultural products are delivered to the final consumer from storage by intermodal transportation.

  9. Equipment and Machinery: Large industrial equipment and machinery are transported to different regions or countries using intermodal transportation.

  10. Consumer Electronics: Consumer electronics products can be transported by intermodal transportation via containers, providing advantages for large retailers and consumer electronics manufacturers.

Unused Fields

  1. Urgent Shipments Requiring Fast Delivery: Since intermodal transportation involves the integration of more than one transportation mode, it may not be suitable for urgent shipments that require fast delivery directly from one point to another. Air transportation may be a more suitable option, especially for such urgent shipments.

  2. To Remote and Inaccessible Areas: The weakest point of intermodal transportation is distance. Since it definitely requires land transportation, its advantage decreases as the distance increases, especially in transportation to points far from the centers.

  3. Very Small Shipments: Intermodal transportation generally works economically with containers and large freight vehicles. Therefore, it may not be a cost-effective option for very small shipments or partial loads.

  4. Fast Transportation of Dangerous Goods: When dangerous goods need to be transported quickly, especially in emergencies, intermodal transportation may sometimes not be able to provide the required speed.

  5. Ports or Stations with Accessibility Issues: Some ports or railway stations may have accessibility issues, making intermodal transportation difficult.

  6. Products Requiring Very Different Transport Conditions: Some products require special transport conditions, and these conditions can complicate intermodal transportation. For example, products that require temperature control or sensitive medical supplies.

  7. Situations Requiring Direct Delivery to the Customer: In some cases, products may need to be delivered directly to the customer and intermodal transportation may not be suitable for such situations.


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