Transitioning from road haulage to intermodal transport

Due to CO2 requirements, intermodal solutions are becoming more prominent in today's supply chain. 

This article addresses the following:

✔ Environmental advantages - Reduce CO2 emissions.

✔ Cost-effectiveness - Save on transportation costs and explore economies of scale.

✔ Consider time implications - Assess transit times and potential delays.

✔ Increased capacity and better network coverage - Handle larger freight volumes efficiently.

Why should you consider changing from road haulage to intermodal transport?

Published: August 03, 2023

Intermodal transportation, which combines multiple modes of transportation such as road, rail, and sea, has gained popularity in recent years due to its cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits. If you're considering changing your long-distance road haulage operations in Europe to intermodal transportation, here are some key points to consider:

CO2 reductions 

Intermodal transportation is generally considered more environmentally friendly than relying solely on road haulage. It helps reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion by shifting some of the freight volume to alternative modes of transport, such as rail or sea, which are typically more energy-efficient.

Cost benefits

Intermodal transportation can often be more cost-effective compared to long-distance road haulage alone. By utilizing different modes of transport, you can strive for supply chain optimization, which will reduce fuel costs and potentially benefit from economies of scale.

Time considerations

While intermodal transportation can offer cost savings and CO2 reductions, it's essential to remember that transit times can become longer compared to road haulage alone. Delays can occur during transfers between modes of transport or due to schedule variations. It is essential to assess the lead time requirements and evaluate the impact on delivery times.

Increased capacity

Intermodal transport allows larger freight volumes to be transported than relying solely on trucks. This can be particularly beneficial when you have high-demand routes or need to transport goods over long distances. To know more about managing capacity and order peaks, you can read this SmartTalk article.

Network coverage

Intermodal transportation networks across Europe have been expanding, offering better coverage and connectivity between different modes of transport. This ensures smoother operations and seamless transfers between trucks, trains, and ships.

Infrastructure and logistics considerations

Switching to intermodal transportation may require assessing the existing infrastructure, such as nearby rail or sea terminals, and evaluating their capabilities to handle your freight. Additionally, you'll need to consider the logistics involved in coordinating the transfer of goods between different modes of transport, including handling, documentation, and potential delays.

News, trends & developments

Not only logistic service providers claim that intermodal transport is the way to reduce carbon emissions. Recently, the European Clean Trucking Alliance (ECTA) published a paper highlighting the importance of intermodal transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. 

How to move forward

Remember, each company's situation is unique, so conducting a thorough analysis of your specific requirements, including cost structures, customer demands, and operational considerations, can be tempting. 

However, with an open mind and the right approach, it's not as complicated to start going intermodal as often perceived. 

If you are considering going intermodal but don't know where to start, call us, and we will help you get started.


Want to know more about carrier management?

Ask about carrier management, other SmartWay Logistics services, pricing, implementation or anything else.

Our experts are ready to answer your questions. Or, check out our leaflet or give us a call (+31(0)30 - 82 00 800).

Our services

Carrier management is an integrated part of the control tower functionality of SmartWay Logistics; with our in-house experts, we can give you advice on a consultancy basis or coordinate the carrier process on your behalf.