What to Consider When Shipping Intermodal?

What to Consider When Shipping Intermodal

Intermodal freight shipping occurs when you use various modes of transportation (truck, train, ship, plane) to have your freight arrive at its destination. One of the main benefits of intermodal freight shipping is that each mode of transportation is used for the part of the shipping journey that it is best suited. If your shipment’s destination is over 750 miles away, you realize the significant benefits of using intermodal shipping.

What to Consider When Shipping Intermodal?

Today, intermodal shipping continues to grow. With driver shortages, unstable fuel prices, and new government policies restricting driver hours on the road, intermodal shipping is even more attractive.


One of the first things to look at is, where are your shipper and receiver physically located? The U.S. rail intermodal network covers a large portion of the country, however there are some regions that may not be intermodal friendly. Some of these areas would include, much of Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Oklahoma. Even though an area may have rail service, every rail yard or ramp may not be an intermodal facility. If a shipper or receiver is more than 100- to 150- miles from the nearest rail ramp, the dray cost could prohibit that lane from being cost effective.


Do your shippers and receivers have some flexibility with their shipping or receiving hours? Rail movements can be less than precise at times, for various reasons, which could include but are not limited to:

  • Weather,
  • An originating train not having enough freight to meet tonnage requirements resulting in delays by a few hours or a day or two,
  • Longer than expected interchange times, which is when containers switch from one railroad to another. This is usually a two-day process, but can take longer.

Delivery Date

Something else to keep in mind is that any shipments that require a guaranteed delivery date and or time, would certainly not be a good fit for moving via intermodal. Again, because rail and dray schedules are not set in stone and each require a varying amount of flexibility in order to be effective.

Cannonball Express Transportation

Since 1970, Cannonball Express Shipping Company has been providing top-of-the-line service at a reasonable rate. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, we provide nationwide refrigerated LTL services, as well as, local delivery services.

Nationwide Shipping Company Services:

  • Refrigerated LTL deliveries in the lower 48 states
  • Refrigerated Cross dock

Local Shipping Company Services:

  • Redelivery Services
  • Truckload & LTL Capabilities
  • PUP
  • Cross dock
  • Transload
  • Warehouse and Distribution capabilities from multiple Omaha Locations