What is intermodal transport?
Intermodal transport is a form of multi-modal transportation, where goods with multiple transport (modalities) are moved, except that the goods are not separated from the loading unit. This includes transport of goods in (sea) containers, swap bodies and trailers. If a large part of the distance is travelled by train or ship and only the last mile road transport is used, we speaks of combined transport.
Benefits intermodal transport
• More weight per load (28-30 tonne payload)
• Limited toll
• Driving restrictions (driving law) play almost no role
• Avoidance of congestion on the road network
• Environmentally friendly
• Excellent value for your money
Loading Units intermodal transport
There are a large number of different forms of inter-modal transport. This distinction can be made between different types of units and the way in which they are transported. A first split can be made between the transportation of trailers and the transport of other load units (without their own wheels).
Trailers for intermodal
For transport of trailers with a different modality than road, there are two possibilities, namely accompanied or unaccompanied (combined) transportation. In the first the whole truck is transported. So the tractor and trailer including driver. Examples are “The Rolling Road”, car shuttle trains like the Eurotunnel Shuttle or roll-on-roll-off vessels. In unaccompanied transport only the trailer is transported (huckepack trailers). In rail transport, the trailers are craned into special seats on the wagon. Non cranable trailers require a special system, such Modalohr or Cargo Beamer.
Intermodal shipping containers
There are many types of loading units in many different lengths and also different widths. An important category are the containers, also known as ISO containers, which fit to standards they must meet. The variation is limited herein, there are only allowed in a few lengths and the width is fixed at 8 feet (2,438 m). This standardization has ensured that such loading unit is used worldwide. Containers have practically all the same width, so that it can be safely placed and hold in the cargo space.
Swap bodies for intermodal
For various reasons, often because the dimensions are too restrictive, deviating is required from the ISO standards. These units are called swap bodies. There are many different versions, the variants used in intermodal transport can be divided into three groups, depending on how these units can be shipped.
By road, rail and sometimes by barge, it is possible to use units that are wider than containers, with have the advantage that the larger interior dimensions create a more efficient loading with (euro) pallets. All groups have holes for twist locks at the corners and on the sizes according to the ISO standard, so all containers and swap bodies can be transported with the same container trucks.
Conclusion intermodal transport
Intermodal transport involves multiple modalities to be used for transportation from A to B. today we use barge, rail, short sea and road. A prerequisite for intermodal transport is that the goods change exchange modality, but remain in the same "package" (container, swap body, trailer). The advantage of intermodal transport is that traffic flows as far as possible to be bundled together. This causes a thick flow of goods between ports and hinterland to be transported by barge or rail for example. From the terminals road transport provides the last mile.
Advisor or consultant intermodal transport
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Heavy lift Cargo
Low Bed Transport
Out of Gauge Cargo
Permits heavy transport