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Intermodal - The Waggon Freight Dictionary

Written By:
Picture of Robert Rajfer
Robert Rajfer

Robert has worked in the supply chain / logistics industry for the past five years. Robert spent the first three years of his career at C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) and the following years at Flock Freight (backed by SoftBank, Google Ventures, and Signal Fire).

Key takeaways:

  • Intermodal freight mixes different ways to move goods, like trains and trucks. This saves money and is good for the earth.
  • New tech like AI helps plan better routes, making shipping faster and cheaper.
  • Significant growth in intermodal services means more options for businesses to ship goods efficiently.
  • Modern tech can track shipments in real time, making shipping more reliable.
  • Waggon offers specialized services with experienced personnel and the latest technology to handle Intermodal transportation effectively.

Intermodal Freight Trends & Tips: Insights From Waggon

Finding the right way to ship goods can be tricky.

Transporting products from a manufacturing facility or distribution center to their final destination involves complex decisions about modes of transport, costs, and timing.

Waggon makes intermodal freight shipping more manageable and cost-effective for your business.

Intermodal - The Waggon Freight Dictionary1

The Basics of Intermodal Freight

Intermodal freight combines transport modes — trains, trucks, and ships — to move goods in the same container.

This method links railroads, ports, and roads for smooth transitions between transport types.

In today’s fast-paced marketplace, intermodal freight has emerged as a strategic option for business owners and managers looking to optimize their shipping operations.

Contact Waggon for a no-obligation quote to fulfill your shipping and logistics needs.

Our team is ready to optimize your shipping process and ensure your goods are transported efficiently and securely.

Table of Contents

Defining Intermodal - The Freight Dictionary

Intermodal Definition

Intermodal transportation involves using different methods like trucks, boats, and planes to move containers filled with goods.

This approach helps get products where they need to go more quickly and safely, reducing the chance of damage or loss.

Intermodal - The Waggon Freight Dictionary2

The Evolution of Intermodal Transportation

The history of intermodal transportation stretches back to the 1700s.

This method started simply by moving goods using different kinds of transportation — like ships, trains, and trucks — without unloading the cargo each time it shifted.

Over centuries, this process became a smart way to ship goods efficiently across long distances.

By combining modes of transportation, businesses could save time and reduce costs.

Pros and Cons of Intermodal Freight

This approach merges multiple modes of transportation, like rail and truck, to move goods.

There are many pros and cons for business owners and managers when shipping goods using intermodal transportation.


  1. Cost Savings – Using intermodal transportation can cut costs significantly. Mixing rail, which is less expensive for long distances, with trucks for shorter hauls keeps money in your pocket.
  2. Fuel Efficiency – Trains can move a ton of freight far on just a gallon of fuel. This efficiency means lower fuel costs compared to only using trucks.
  3. Reliable Service – Railroads have schedules like airlines. So, your goods move on time, improving reliability.
  4. Eco-Friendly – Since trains burn less fuel, they emit fewer greenhouse gases than trucks over long distances. You’re not just saving money but also helping the planet.
  5. Scalability – As your business grows, intermodal lets you easily add more containers without buying more trucks or hiring drivers.
  6. Access to Major Markets – Rail networks easily connect major markets across countries.


  1. Dependence on Infrastructure – The quality and availability of terminal infrastructure can limit options. Not all places have easy access to rail terminals or ports.
  2. Less Flexibility for Last-Minute Changes – Rerouting takes effort and time compared to truck-only shipments once a container is on a train.
  3. Time Constraints – While trains are reliable, they might not be the fastest option for short distances or tight deadlines.
  4. Potential for Damage in Handling – Moving containers from one mode to another increases the chances of damage without careful handling protocols.

Partner with Waggon for the best intermodal logistics solutions tailored to your needs.

Let us streamline your shipping process and help you transport goods quickly, securely, and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Intermodal Shipping?

    Intermodal shipping is a way to move goods using multiple types of transport, such as trucks, trains, and ships.

    This method puts all your stuff into big containers that can easily be moved from one type of transport to another.

    It’s popular because it combines the best parts of each transportation mode — like rail’s speed with trucks’ door-to-door service.

    Intermodal shipping is brilliant because it picks the best route and tool for each part of the journey.

    It cuts costs and helps save on fuel, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to ship things efficiently and eco-friendly.

    Plus, you don’t have to unload and reload your cargo every time it changes modes — everything stays in one container until it reaches its final stop.

    With intermodal freight transportation booming, this approach is vital for keeping up with fast-moving supply chains in today’s world.

  • What Is The Most Common Intermodal Transportation?

    The most common intermodal transportation uses trucks, trains, and cargo ships.

    These modes work together to move goods efficiently across land and sea.

    Trucks carry goods from the start.

    They then pass them to trains for long hauls across countries.

    Cargo ships take over for overseas travel.

    This system lets businesses ship goods far and wide without much hassle.

    Trains can carry many containers simultaneously, saving money and fuel compared to trucks alone.

    Cargo ships add the ability to cross oceans without unloading the goods from their containers until they reach their final stop.

    This method reduces the time spent moving things from one mode to another.

    It’s a smooth way to keep trade flowing globally.

  • What Is The Difference Between Intermodal And Trucking?

    Intermodal and trucking are two key ways to move goods.

    Intermodal uses a mix of trains and trucks.

    This method lets the same container travel by rail, intermodal, or road without cargo unloading.

    It’s great for long distances because it combines the best parts of each mode: trains for long hauls and trucks for shorter, final parts of a trip.

    On the other hand, trucking sticks to roads from start to finish, using only freight trucks.

    Intermodal shines in transit times over longer hauls and can lower costs thanks to fuel-efficient rail transport.

    Trucks offer more flexibility with schedules and routes but might cost more for long-distance moves.

    Each has its place in shipping goods, depending on your need: speed, cost savings, or route flexibility.

  • What Are The 5 Types Of Intermodal Transportation?

    The five types of intermodal transportation include trains, trucks, ships, airplanes, and pipelines.

    Each plays a crucial role in efficiently moving goods across vast distances.

    Trains transport large volumes of cargo over land for long hauls.

    Trucks are flexible and can reach many destinations, making them ideal for the final leg of delivery.

    Ships carry massive amounts of freight across oceans.

    Airplanes are the fastest option for long-distance shipping and are suited for time-sensitive goods.

    Lastly, pipelines move liquids and gases directly between points.

Intermodal Freight Trends

In 2024, intermodal freight is set to transform with cutting-edge tech and wider service networks.

Prepare for a shift in how goods move globally with Waggon intermodal freight transportation services.

Intermodal - The Waggon Freight Dictionary3

Expansion of Intermodal Freight Services

Intermodal freight services are growing fast.

This means using different ways to move your goods, such as trucks, trains, and ships.

It’s becoming more popular because it can save money and is better for the planet.

Railroads have worked hard to improve their tracks and systems. They want to carry more containers without trouble.

Freight railroads are getting better, and this has made more businesses choose intermodal shipping.

It lets them cost-effectively send goods over long distances, mixing fuel savings with reliable delivery times.

With expected growth, companies should consider how this can help them move products efficiently while reducing transportation costs.

Strategies for Intermodal Freight Optimization

Waggon makes intermodal freight work for all different forms of transport.

We focus on our vast shipping network and select the right partners to create the best possible customer experience for our clients.

Intermodal - The Waggon Freight Dictionary4

Waggons Intermodal Process

We help you save money and move goods more efficiently.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Review Shipping Patterns – Look where and how often our client ships goods.
  • Analyze Current Costs – Break down what you spend on shipping now, including trucking fees, fuel, and time delays. Then, we find areas where intermodal transportation could cut costs.
  • Evaluate Goods – Some products are perfect for intermodal shipments because they’re not in a rush and can handle moving around.
  • Speak with Intermodal Providers – We find intermodal transportation providers who work near a delivery destination.
  • Calculate Potential Savings Over Time – We use all this information to calculate how much you could save over months or years by switching some shipments to intermodal transport.
  • Integrating Technology – We invest in technology like GPS tracking and management systems to always know where your shipment is and when it will arrive.

Considering these points, we find innovative ways for businesses to use intermodal freight options within our existing networks.

This shift saves money and supports greener practices in the logistics industry.

Key Terms in Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal freight shipping combines different modes of transport — like trains and trucks — to move goods without unpacking them between trips.

This keeps items safe and speeds up delivery.

Here are key terms you might hear:

  • Intermodal Containers: Large boxes that keep goods safe while moving on various vehicles.
  • Domestic Intermodal Shipping: Moving items within the same country using methods like rail or road.
  • Double Stack Cars: Trains carry containers stacked two high, saving space and fuel.
  • Iso Containers: Special containers made to international standards for global trade.
  • Intermodal Ramp: Places where containers switch from trucks to trains or vice versa.

Integrating Technology for Efficient Shipping

Technology changes how we ship goods.

It makes shipping faster and less costly.

Here’s how Waggon uses tech for a better shipping experience:

  • Real-Time Data Tracking – This tool lets you know where your items are at any time. It helps avoid delays and allows us to see and fix problems early.
  • Cloud-Based Systems for Better Access – We keep your shipping information safe in the cloud. This means you can access it from anywhere, anytime, and it helps everyone stay updated.
  • Automated Scheduling and Routing – Our algorithm picks the best paths and times for sending goods, reducing mistakes and saving fuel.
  • Digital Documentation – We provide all paperwork online, speeding things up at borders or storage places. Less waiting means faster delivery.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Devices in Containers – These devices check on your goods while they travel. They look at things like temperature or whether something moves too much.
  • Predictive Analytics for Planning – Our software analyzes past data to predict future needs. It tells us when to send more goods or choose a different path.
  • Machine Learning for Problem Solving – AI finds patterns that humans might miss. It improves routes over time or suggests other ways to save money.

Using these tech tools, we move goods worldwide more securely.

Experience the efficiency of Waggon’s supply chain and logistics services.

We deliver your freight on time, every time — Contact us today to ensure your shipping needs are met with precision and reliability.

Waggon Intermodal Transportation Freight Services

The intermodal freight sector is set for exciting times.

With advancements in shipping technologies and a push for more efficient fuel use, businesses stand to improve their logistics when they work with Waggon.

For those moving goods across distances, mixing rail, ship, and truck offers cost savings and less environmental impact.

Waggon helps companies make better shipment choices.

Choose Waggon to safely and efficiently manage your shipments.

Take the first step towards resolving your logistics challenges by requesting a quote today — our experienced team is ready to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Intermodal Transportation?

    Intermodal transportation uses more than one way to move goods.

    Think of trucks, trains, and ships working together to get stuff from place to place.

  • What Makes Waggon's Intermodal Shipping Services Stand Out From Competitors?

    Waggon’s intermodal shipping services stand out due to our commitment to safety, reliability, and efficiency.

    We use the latest technology and employ experienced personnel to transport your goods safely.

    Our services are tailored to meet each client’s unique needs, providing flexible scheduling and cost-effective solutions.

    Additionally, our nationwide coverage ensures your shipments are handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

  • How Can I Get A Quote For Intermodal Shipping Services With Waggon?

    Getting a quote for intermodal shipping services with Waggon is simple.

    Visit our website and fill out the quote request form with details about your shipment, including the type of goods, quantity, and destination.

    Alternatively, you can contact our customer service team via phone or email.

    Our experienced team will promptly provide you with a no-obligation quote tailored to your shipping needs.

  • What Areas Do Waggon's Intermodal Shipping Services Cover?

    Waggon’s intermodal shipping services cover the entire United States and North America.

    We provide comprehensive nationwide coverage, ensuring that your goods can be transported efficiently and securely to any location across the country.

    Our extensive network and strategic partnerships allow us to offer reliable and timely delivery services, no matter the distance.

  • Why Do Companies Use Intermodal Shipping?

    It saves money and is better for the planet.

    Moving intermodal containers on trains for the long trip reduces fuel use.

  • How Has Intermodal Freight Grown?

    More businesses choose it because it’s cheaper and can efficiently carry loads long distances.

  • Can Intermodal Meet Consumer Demands?


    It ensures that products arrive on time by combining different methods of moving goods, faster meeting buyers’ needs.

  • What Role Does Technology Play In Intermodal Logistics?

    Tech helps track containers’ locations during their journey, making everything run smoother and helping plan better routes.

Written By:
Picture of Robert Rajfer
Robert Rajfer

Robert has worked in the supply chain / logistics industry for the past five years. Robert spent the first three years of his career at C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) and the following years at Flock Freight (backed by SoftBank, Google Ventures, and Signal Fire).

Need to
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Our team of logistics experts has the knowledge and experience needed to serve businesses of all sizes.

Waggon proactively offers custom solutions that align with shippers’ specific needs — not the other way around.

By transcending conventional norms, we deliver on client expectations like no other.

Ready to ship with Waggon?

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Need to
Ship Your Load?

Our team of logistics experts has the knowledge and experience needed to serve businesses of all sizes.

Waggon proactively offers custom solutions that align with shippers’ specific needs — not the other way around.

By transcending conventional norms, we deliver on client expectations like no other.

Ready to ship with Waggon?

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