The Secret to the Cost Effectiveness of Intermodal Transport

Posted : 09/24/13 9:08 AM

Intermodal shipping is undeniably the most cost effective strategy to transport bulk cargo due to its integral usage of truck, rail and sea transport to deliver items in the fastest, most direct way possible. Since their world-wide acceptance in the ’70s, transport containers have increased the effectiveness of transporting goods by decreasing treatment times when unloading ships and reloading exactly the same cargo onto trains or trucks. The containerization of bulk cargo made it possible to create port facilities that can handle vast amounts of containers within a day, together with the world’s biggest port, Shanghai, estimated to get handled 31.7 million containers in 2011 alone1. Along with the development of increasingly efficient infrastructure in modern ports, the growth within the size of container ships has seen the typical transport vessel capable to carry 8,000 containers at once, and may transport as much as 200,000 containers within a year2. Obviously the key to all this efficiently handled cargo lies together with the basic source of the machine, the containers themselves. Additionally it is likely that containerized transportation will persist to eventually become a far more effective manner of transportation for bulk cargo in the foreseeable future as well. Networks in diesel fuel costs and many states have increased dramatically over the previous decade. The greater efficiency of using trains to move cargos inland that have been imported via boat will further decrease the price of these goods to the finished consumer, and keep to stimulate interest in the use and development of increasingly bigger and more efficient intermodal freight networks. This effectiveness will come through the integration of new systems which have constantly enhanced containerized shipping throughout its history. 21st-century technologies like satellite navigation for shipping, GPS tracking for containers, and higher computer power within the ports to process the vast quantities of information that go along with managing tens of thousands of containers every day, will continue to contribute to the development as well as the greater efficiency of intermodal cargo. Despite all of this technology, the most important component to this efficiency remains the lowly shipping container.