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What Is Multimodal Freight Transport?

Q: What is Multimodal Freight Transport?

A: Multimodal Shipping describes the contractual arrangements, rather than shipment mode.

Most international freight door to door shipments are either intermodal or multimodal. Although they sound like a shipment mode, they are both really a combination of other modes. By using shipping containers, shipments can easily move from one form of transport to another. The mode used for pickup and dropoff is usually road, although rail or barge modes may also be used. The modes used for the main transit is either ocean or air.

Under a multimodal shipping arrangement, the shipper has one contract of carriage with the forwarder. That is, there is only one house bill of lading. This arrangement cuts down on other paperwork as well and requires less communications too – including for shipment tracking. The other benefit of multimodal freight is that it should also result in better routing and a shorter transit time.

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