6 Multimodal Shipping Myths Debunked

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In the world of shipping and transportation, many multimodal shipping myths are still surprisingly prevalent today. Today, the most pervasive of these will be addressed in terms of how this shipping method works with an LTL to intermodal transportation approach.

Using Various Freight Tactics to Reduce Costs & Streamline Management

1. Multimodal Shipping Is the Slowest Form of Shipping

It stands to reason that multimodal shipping sounds slower. After all, it involves more legs and touchpoints. However, it’s not true and is one of the big multimodal shipping myths of today. According to the American Group, “A major component of intermodal shipping, rail transportation used to be a significantly slower way to move freight. Although it took two weeks for a shipment to travel coast to coast, it only takes seven to eight days to complete this journey. The shortened timeframe results from improved infrastructure and equipment plus fewer distractions and delays than trucking, such as traffic and weighs stations.” 

2. Multimodal Means Less Transparency/Visibility

This is one of the big multimodal shipping myths that just is not true at all. Any shipping method can lack transparency or end-to-end visibility. It all depends on the carrier, LSP, 3PS, drivers, and more. Many factors can affect openness and visibility, and multimodal shipping is no more susceptible to these than any other method. The best way to avoid this issue is to ensure delivery compliance by using real-time status updates and an automated system for managing shipping orders. 

3. Delivery Time Is Never Guaranteed

Again, this one of the multimodal shipping myths is just not based in reality at all. Many factors can impact the delivery time frame and whether a shipment is received on time, regardless of whether it uses multimodal shipping or not. When working with shipping that utilizes multiple means of transport and requires various parties to be involved, the key is knowing what is and is not offered and guaranteed by each party. Automation in logistics and communication updates is one of the best ways to stay on top of orders. 

4. Multimodal Always Involves Multiple Carriers Too

As a multimodal shipping myth, this all comes down to misunderstanding similar but very different terminology. Multimodal refers to one carrier. Intermodal refers to two or more. It is as simple as that, but such a misconception can distort how multimodal shipping is viewed and turn them off the idea. But even still, the right systems can overcome the barriers, and knowing what is involved with your chosen multimodal approach will help avoid confusion and misunderstanding along the way.

5. Multimodal Shipping Freight Is More Susceptible to Damage

At touch value, this would make sense since more touchpoints increase the risk of damage, but it is another multimodal shipping myth. However, as all the other tales addressed so far, it does depend on several factors. The carriers will take as much care as possible with every order because damaged goods affect their bottom line and reputation. They will be as careful as any other shipper and are going to take all steps needed to protect the freight load.

6. Multimodal Freight Settlement Is More Complex

This is the final of the multimodal shipping myths to address as it is a prevalent one that, again, simply is not true. It is the same carrier. There are just multiple modes and methods used to transport your freight from Point A to Point B. Chances are; you won’t even see any impact on the costs or changes in general processes and requirements at all. Automated freight settlement and similar automation can make any shipping methods more streamlined and easier to follow and smart choices for managing shipments. 

Overcome These Shipping Myths With the Right TMS

With these common multimodal shipping myths now debunked and the misconceptions cleared up, it is easy to see why this shipment method is a valid and popular option for a wide range of freight. The best way to overcome issues with transport and shipping, regardless of the method used, is to utilize an Advanced TMS as that is the only way to manage multimodal shipping effectively.

In January 2020, Cerasis was acquired by GlobalTranz, a leading technology and multimodal 3PL solutions provider. To learn more, please read the press release. If you are a current or prospective Cerasis customer, we invite you to reach out to us to learn how our combined capabilities can deliver new services, solutions and enhanced value to your supply chain. To learn more about GlobalTranz, please visit www.globaltranz.com.

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