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Multimodal Transport

Multimodal Transportation

Multimodal transport is a very interesting approach that solves a big part of cargo mobility problems.

Combining private and state transport in a multimodal transport system offers the opportunity to capitalize the best rates and transit time possible.

As many understand, multimodal transport refers to a transport system usually operated by one carrier with more than one mode of transport under control or ownership of one operator. It involves the use of more than one means of transport such as a combination of truck, rail car, railways, aeroplane or ship in succession to each e.g. A container line which operates both a ship and rail system of double stack trains.

Train - Road in Fortec BV

Road - Ship Multimodal Transport in Fortec BV

Road Multimodal Transport in Fortec BV

Air Cargo Multimodal Transport in Fortec BV
  • coordinated and planned as a single operation, it minimizes the loss of time and risk of loss, pilferage and damage to the cargo at trans-shipment points.
  • The markets is psychically reduced by faster transit of goods; Reference to Globalization challenge, the distance between origin or source materials and customers is getting to be insignificant thanks to the development of multimodal transport.
  • The burden of issuing multiple documentation for each segment of transport is reduced to minimum.
  • The consignor / consignee has to deal with only the MTO (multimodal transport operator) in all matters related to the goods transportation.



From individual cartons through pallets to containers, reduced handling gives savings in labor, packaging and damage costs. Risk of damage reduces when commodity is handled only two times, regardless of the number of mode changes. Packaging designed for specific mode, container, swap-body etcetera ensures less damage due to broken stowage. Cargo loss is eliminated or greatly reduced to no pilferage or excessive movement in the transport module.


Road haulage: large modern trucks help to increase load capacity, reduce fuel charge and environmental damage due to the increased number of axles, lower emissions and air suspension systems. Improved efficiency in engine, gearbox and axle design gives faster highway speeds.

Rail transport: full train loads, for example, container trains on scheduled services operate of large “jumbo” and wide body jet aircraft together with increased range. The decline of aircrew members with the increase of computer assistance helps reduce labor costs. Especially, designing automated cargo terminals help to minimize human input and reduce much cost.

River transport: nowadays, larger vessels with lower crew numbers and the computerized engine management systems help to increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Moreover, the invention of labor saving cargo-handling devices also improves vessel turnaround time.

>Deep sea vessels: there are huge savings are made through an increase in ship size, for example, 6,000 TEU post - Panamax vessels have a 21% cost advantage over 4000 TEU Panamax vessels. However, as larger ships can only be filled and utilized by increasing transshipment of boozes, which means increasing cost, it should be considered carefully when choosing this method of transportation.

Hub & spoke system: is precondition to ensure employment of larger vehicles on the main leg. Additional costs through longer distances via the hub are compensated through less transport costs/ units and through better service in time.


The multimodal transport operator maintains his own communication links, coordinates interchange and onward carrier smoothly at trans-shipment points.

Reduce burden of documentation and formalities

The burden of issuing multiple documentation and other formalities connected with each segment of the transport chain is reduced to minimum.

The increasing success of road transport is resulting in ever worsening conditions also due to the dominance of trucks in freight transport. Transport by truck is unavoidable over very short distances but in middle and long (international) transport distances other modes may be used. The switch from road to environmentally friendly modes of transportation may be achieved by raising structural costs and charges of the road freight sector as well as by the enhancement of intermodal/ multimodal transport.


In many cases shipping lines regard multimodal transportation (i.e. carrier haulage) as an optional and supplementary service for their customers if they insist upon it. But container shipping lines offer more and more door-to-door-container transport. They organized the whole chain and offer a single freight document and a single price. At present, in Western Europe, about 70% of sea containers go inland under the responsibility of the shipping line.

There are many commercial reasons which promote the engagement of shipping lines in port and land operations:

Economics of scale at sea: concentration on hub ports, economic ship size, high service frequency

Influence on haulage costs: lower inland transportation costs, realization of necessary sea freight, scale effects inland transportation.

Efficient utilization of the carrier owned container station: higher charges for cargo storage, increase in revenue by improving slot-ratio.



The savings in costs resulting from these advantages are usually reflected in the through freight rates charged by the multimodal transport operator and also in the cost of cargo insurance.


The consignor has to deal with only one multimodal transport operator in all matter, relating to the transportation of his goods, the settlement of claims for loss of goods, or damage to them, or delay in delivery at destination.

Contact our Fortec BV experts for more