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There are many different types of transportation and various shipping modes available to shippers today to help move goods all over the world. But sometimes, one shipping mode is not enough. Perhaps, your goods are going a long way from another part of the world by ship or aircraft. To reach the final destination, freight needs to be moved over the road, air, or ocean. In a nutshell, shippers often need to combine transportation modes in order to get their goods to the right place. Logistics companies define two ways of such combination: intermodal transport and multimodal transport.

What is multimodal? Multimodal transport meaning

Multimodal transport is a combination of several shipping modes like the truck, rail, ocean, or air to deliver freight to its destination. Multimodal shipping suggests all of your freight movements are handled under a unified bill of lading, even if different carriers are moving it.

What is the difference between multimodal and intermodal transport?

Both intermodal and multimodal transportation suggest refers to using two or more shipping modes. However, there is a list of differences between intermodal and multimodal transport. When you ship intermodal, a different carrier is responsible for each part of your transportation. Consequently, you have several separate shipping bills and reports from each link in the chain. When using multimodal transport, all of your shipments are signed under a single bill of lading. Both transportation methods have benefits and drawbacks, and here we will dive deep into multimodal.

What are the benefits of multimodal transport?

Multimodal transport can benefit many businesses that ship large amounts of freight on a regular basis. The main reason why companies prefer multimodal is that it requires less time and effort. All the shipments are under a single bill and are usually managed by an external party. Other than saving money and time, there are many reasons your company should choose multimodal transport when planning your next shipment, including:

Time savings

Since in multimodal transportation one shipping provider handles the entire process, you'll only have to communicate and get a report from one company. This ensures less worrying about the shipment, and faster transit times, which eventually result in higher productivity.


It may seem like picking carriers with the lowest price is definitely a more profitable option. However, the lowest price is not always the greatest deal. Intermodal transport involves not only different contracts and carriers but also multiple shipment insurances. A much easier logistics coordination within multimodal can help you save a significant amount of money on transportation.

Less worrying

When a single carrier handles your freight from door to door, it ensures easier communication and efficient tracking. It delegates a larger piece of responsibility and liability to the company coordinating your logistics.

Easier Communication

When companies ship through multimodal transportation, they handle all shipping updates, delays, and interactions through one provider and contract. This gives shippers ease of mind and simplifies the process of communicating between different contacts and carriers. Essentially, when you have one person responsible for the entire transportation chain, it's much easier to just focus on the business and not spend time bouncing from one call to another.

Faster Transit Options

Due to new restrictions on truck drivers on driving hours and other regulations, some longer-haul shipments are not as fast as they once were. The combination of different transportation modes under one contract lets you have a piece of mind and balance transit time. That way, you avoid drivers driving too long and therefore bypass shipping delays. Giving companies more options for their shipment gives you control and flexibility over the loading and unloading process.

Multimodal transport services with PLS

Ultimately, multimodal transport helps guarantee consumers on-time deliveries and true cost savings. Whether you are shipping by air, rail, or barge, multimodal shipping can be a solution for you. Check our multimodal solutions!