Multimodal transportation and its peculiar features

Multimodal transportation is the delivery of goods that is realized step by step by at least two vehicles. The quantity of variants is not limited. It’s also important that only one logistics company deals with all steps of delivery.

Usually, multimodal transportation is used on international routes, when one vehicle is not enough. But such kind of transportation is also relevant inside the country.

Peculiar features

Multimodal transportation is often confused with intermodal one. They also use a few kinds of vehicles, but some companies take part in transportation. Moreover, only one package of documents is arranged during the multimodal transportation. Speaking about intermodal one, we see that every logistics company arranges separate documents.

The main advantage of multimodal transportation is the convenience of arrangement for the customer. The client cooperates with the one company that is responsible for the cargo.


It’s rather difficult to organize the delivery by different vehicles. It’s necessary to take into account many factors from road quality to climatic conditions.

  1. Analysis of the characteristics of the goods. Specialists pay attention to the sizes and peculiarities of the items, their storage, and transportation requirements. Also, this step includes a choice of appropriate vehicles.
  2. Planning of the route. Specialists estimate available roads that will be used after a partial truckload.
  3. Document arrangement. This step is the most important as a missed document or mistake in its completion can cause difficulties.
  4. Analysis of risk. Some force-majeure situations can occur, and specialists must solve problems quickly. Thus, it’s better to think about how to act in case of emergencies.
  5. Packaging of goods and their loading. Usually, special containers are used. Unification of the item can optimize the process of goods overloading.

Kinds of transportation

The main peculiar feature of multimodal transportation is the usage of a few kinds of vehicles. It allows increasing efficiency thanks to the best characteristics of each vehicle.

Four main kinds of vehicles are used:

  • Automobile. The main advantage is an opportunity for door-to-door delivery. A truck can be located in the marine port and loaded with cargo. It’s the most suitable way for delivering goods between the closest points. Such a variant is always included in multimodal transportation.
  • Railway. This type is the cheapest one. Vehicles don’t depend on weather conditions and guarantee a high safety level. Railway transport is used to deliver almost any kind of cargo.
  • Water. Such a method is used for delivering goods to the other continent. The method has a serious disadvantage. It is suitable only for long transfers while it takes lots of time. Moreover, there is a risk of damage or loss. 
  • Aviation. Air transport offers the quickest delivery thanks to the usage of the shortest way. But the cost is too high.

The choice of the transport depends on the kind of cargo. Also, you need to take into account how far the destination point is and what peculiarities of the shipment’s origin and destination are.