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Intermodal Factsheet

in•ter•mo•dal — adj.
The transfer of products involving multiple modes of transportation — truck, railroad or ocean carrier.

In 2014 North American railroads moved more than 16 million containers and trailers, a 4.8 percent increase over the previous year. Electronics, mail, food, paper products, clothes, appliances, textiles and auto parts all take a ride on the country's intermodal network.

In fact, intermodal is growing faster than any other mode of transportation. Why? Because intermodal combines the best abilities of different transportation modes to deliver service, savings and solutions to shippers.

By working together, trucking companies, intermodal marketing companies, ocean steamship lines and railroads are providing a cost-effective, seamless, reliable, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly way to move freight from origin to destination. Throughout the process, intermodal facilitators, or third-party logistics providers, arrange for each piece of the move from pick up to drop off.



You are when you're using intermodal. Today, all parties in the supply chain use state-of-the-art technology to monitor shipments every step of the way. With real-time information, today's intermodal companies are keeping track of schedule changes and watching out for their customers' shipments so they don't have to.



The days of sacrificing speed for savings are over. Intermodal transportation provides shippers with reliable, consistent service with cost savings compared to over-the-road transportation.



Intermodal transportation is safer today than ever before. With high-tech lift technology and articulated intermodal railcars, damage to freight is minimized. According to the Association of American Railroads, freight loss and damage statistics have steadily decreased over the past 20 years. In 2014 Class 1 railroads charted loss and damages less than one quarter of what they were in 1995.


Environmentally Friendly

Imagine getting 290 miles to the gallon for your SUV. It’s possible if that SUV were riding on the rails. Railroads move one ton of freight an average of 470 miles on a single gallon of gasoline. And according to the American Association of Railroads, moving freight by rail instead of trucks reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent.

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