Multimodality and intermodality

11. 05. 2022

We all use different means of transport in our everyday lives. So we travel in a multimodal way, sometimes even in an intermodal way. It is the same in freight transport. In the following blog post, we will tell you what these two terms mean and why an intelligent mix of different modes of transport is crucial for success.

People (and goods) travel multimodally when they use different modes of transport. We thus combine different modes of transport in our everyday lives, for example when we take the train to work, cycle to the bakery and use the car for our weekend trip to the countryside.

In the area of freight transport there is no difference. When a logistics company like the Rail Cargo Group, uses different means of transport for the transport of goods - train, truck, plane, cargo ship - we talk about multimodal transport.

Multimodal transport: transporting goods within a time window using different means of transport.

Multimodality is thus the basic option for the user to use different means of transport. Intermodality adds to this option the possibility to switch between different means of transport within a transport chain.

In intermodality, several means of transport are used consecutively within a transport chain.

A person is therefore travelling intermodally if he or she first cycles to the station to go to work, then takes the train and then changes to the bus.

Of course, this combination also exists in freight transport. Here it is possible that the freight is taken to the loading station in a container by truck, then transferred to the train and then transported onwards by ship.

Transports are thus combined with each other and unite the advantages of the transport modes rail and road as well as water and air in one transport chain. However, it is the decisive mix that counts.

Intermodal transport: several modes of transport are used consecutively within a transport chain

The optimal choice of transport mode

In order to optimally combine and use all the advantages of different modes of transport, the choice of transport mode is crucial. Whether rail, road, water or air. Each mode of transport and each type of container, such as containers, swap bodies, semi-trailers, MOBILER, brings its own advantages.

At Rail Cargo Group, we combine freight transport on the ideally suited modes of transport and link rail with land transport as well as sea and air freight. With maximum efficiency, we develop logistics solutions from the pick-up point to the dispatch point to the customer.

From small or medium-sized businesses to major industrialists - even if someone does not have their own siding (connecting railway).

In addition to our intermodal offerings, we also focus on special container solutions such as our MOBILER containers, which enable particularly rapid and uncomplicated transhipment between truck and train.

The mix makes the difference

An efficient multimodal transport chain means that the high traffic density on the roads can be avoided and CO2 emissions can be reduced. After all, the EU's goal is to shift 30% of road freight transport over 300 kilometres to rail by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050. Efficient and environmentally friendly freight transport corridors are crucial to achieving this goal. Especially as we have to face some challenges in logistics to push multimodal transports in the coming years. Bottlenecks in freight terminals, the increasing shortage of terminal capacities and long waiting times at borders, especially at the Schengen borders, require - in addition to suitable infrastructure - maximum service quality.

Rather than the possibility of using the best means of transport in each case, a variety of offers is a prerequisite. With our TransNET, our network of TransFER connections, combinations and individual routes from Europe to Asia, we open up markets in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe and accompany customers to growth markets such as Turkey - and also far beyond, as far as China. We thus ensure environmentally friendly, intermodal logistics solutions with international door-to-door services via our nationwide TransNET and a wide selection of - individual - TransFER connections.