How to improve your bottom line through Intermodal Shipping


  Price sensitivity is always at the top of a transportation specialists’ agenda. While service and safety are always important, cost savings are always the great equalizer. For those that work in the “truckload” market, fighting for well-priced carriers is a constant battle. Shippers feel this pain all of the time and often yearn for any solution that can help keep costs down.   Intermodal shipping is one of the simplest ways to accomplish this goal. While it takes a level of expertise to navigate, putting your freight on the rail can provide a massive reduction in transportation cost. 

     So why doesn’t everyone ship via intermodal? Most of the time, navigating the multiple steps required to complete an intermodal move can seem daunting if you do not have the experience. While some rail providers will provide a “door to door” quote for you to alleviate this pain, the savings you find on the rail can often be wiped out by the high cost of drayage on either end of the move. Working with a partner like ARL can benefit shippers both because of the relationships we maintain with the rail companies and the asset-based fleet that runs primary drayage across the United States. 

     The other barrier to entry comes down to timing. The transit times are slower and if your freight urgently needs to get to its destination, the rail would not be the best option. In this situation, a couple of factors need to be weighed. Are there any ways you can plan to have the freight ready a few days earlier? Can you share the savings with your business partners to allow for a more flexible time frame? Presenting these types of win-win scenarios are the basis for long term partnerships. 

    If a shipper decides to use intermodal shipping, where should they start? The easiest answer to this question is an experienced logistics professional. Even when shippers have been shipping via intermodal for years, there are often little nuances that can provide savings. This mode of transportation relies on efficiency above all else to provide its benefits. Because of this, it is important to have contacts that have relationships at all levels of the process. There will be three companies that will be responsible for completing the move: the drayage carrier at the origin, the rail company, and try drayage company at the destination. You should look for a partner that can provide unique relationships at all three points to maximize the cost savings you are sacrificing delivery time for.

Are you looking for intermodal drayage services? Contact ARL Network to learn more!

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