Today, the use of intermodal transportation by shippers is on the rise. Why is that? There are a number of reasons for using intermodal shipping, including the following:
- It is more energy efficient to use rail transportation.
- Moving freight costs less when “going green” in intermodal shipping.
- A better value proposition than highways is provided in many rail corridors.
What Shippers Want
Truck capacity is challenging, to say the least. Some of the reasons today involve the following:
- Hours of service on the road are being restricted by newly implemented government policies
- Increased fuel prices
- Driver shortage
If there is a way for shippers to improve service and cut costs at the same time, they are all for it. The intermodal products of today could be the solution to the shippers’ problems.
So how can shippers improve the strategies of their logistics through the implementation of intermodal? How do they go about it?
First and foremost, the lanes must be analyzed. Intermodal cost savings will have more opportunity the longer the haul. Determine which areas of the country loads are going out of and coming into.
Within the above stated geographical zones, define and view the rates – i.e., movement miles, build miles, loaded miles, revenue miles, total miles, empty miles – that are relative to the rail ramp pair locations. Exactly where intermodal fits into the needs of the shippers can be determined with this information.
Intermodal Transportation Business Benefits
Certain questions arise when logistics strategies are examined and plotted. Questions like the following:
- What is the value proposition?
- How can this benefit my business?
To help answer those questions, here are intermodal shipping’s most significant benefits (though there are more):
- Safety, capacity, and reliability advantages – More access is available by shippers to standardized transit schedules and equipment. As freight is moved to intermodal, companies realize the opportunity to provide additional savings by streamlining their reverse logistics.
- Environmentally friendly – By going intermodal, the carbon footprint produced by shippers can be significantly reduced. As an example, 19.8 pounds of carbon dioxide per 110 miles is produced by trucks; whereas only 5.4 pounds is emitted by trains. So, using trains for at least part of the trip will benefit the atmosphere and the world.
- Lower costs – Aspects that shippers can take advantage of include the following: more predictable pricing, lower rates, and the flexibility of unloading and loading goods in a dropped trailer environment. Handling costs can be reduced by the latter.
Turn to STC Logistics For Help with Intermodal Transportation
Would you like to find out what intermodal transportation could do for you or your company? The experts at STC Logistics can introduce you to a number of plans for handling your global or domestic transportation needs including transborder transportation. We also can advise you in areas such as distributions and rollouts, packing and creating, installations, technology, fulfillment and warehousing, and more.
Our mission is to deliver flexible, superior solutions for the logistics requirements of our clients. We are committed to providing the most efficient and effective solutions and logistics and technology – without limiting destination, size, or weight.
For successful companies, the primary differentiator from competitors may be the efficiency of their supply chain. An uninterrupted supply chain adds value to the company because it determines the pace at which other operations can press ahead. A bottleneck in the supply chain can have an adverse impact on the company’s brand, revenues, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
More small, mid-size and enterprise level companies are realizing the numerous benefits by outsourcing supply chain management and logistics to a 3PL provider. A 3PL partner has the logistics advantages, including expertise, technology and network connections, to ensure that the warehousing and transportation component of the operations moves in the right direction.
A 3PL provides businesses with reliable logistics solutions that include the following benefits:
Wide Network of Resources
By working with a 3PL provider, a business can take advantage of a vast network of resources and carriers. This enables providers to execute each step along the supply chain efficiently and cost-effectively through leveraging assets, relationships and industry knowledge and experience. It results in lower overhead and quick service delivery because of the international 3PL provider availability of resources that in-house operations cannot match.
Save Time and Money
More businesses find that they can save both time and money by outsourcing their logistics to third-party logistics providers. Generally, these companies provide warehousing, transportation (ground, air, rail and sea), proprietary technology and integrated operation services.
Business owners and executives can tailor the 3PL provider services to meet market demands and customer needs. The right logistics service provider has a global network in place to handle paperwork, customs documentation, billing, audits and staffing necessary to efficiently move goods where they need to go for the lowest cost.
Industry Expertise and Experience
3PLs should have knowledge of industry best practices when it comes to packaging, transporting and storing goods in an organized and cost-effective manner. Service providers stay up-to-date with the latest advances in technology, manufacturing and logistics. They have state-of-the-art applications, supply chain transparency, transportation management and inventory control.
Scalability and Flexibility
Three key benefits to outsourcing logistics has to do with the flexibility to scale space, transportation and labor, especially if you experience a sudden spike in demand. Firms that have seasonal variations in their business can plan their budgets accordingly and adjust inventory, space and other resources up or down when needed. Businesses looking to grow and expand into other markets have in place the logistic infrastructure to support their strategic initiatives with incurring increase in costs.
Best Practices and Optimization
Cloud computing, proprietary systems and other technology platforms make it easier to outsource logistics. Smart, transformed companies understand the value that a reliable, accurate and timely supply chain has on the business. Reliable third-party logistics companies have proven cost-effective systems geared to move a large volume of goods and ensure that they get to the location on time.
Economy of scale allows 3PLs to build a network and provide the resources businesses need to be flexible and scalable and ensure important needs are met. Third-party logistics providers have the latest technology, industry knowledge and systems to make sure that customer shipments arrive in top condition, at the right place, at the right quantity, and in the right time frame.
The third-party logistics firm should provide the customer with transparency, access and the ability to track everything the client needs to know through an interface, data warehousing, advanced reporting and customer-facing web portals.
Companies of all sizes can benefit from working with a 3PL provider. Choose a 3PL provider that has the system, financial capabilities and expertise to deliver the requisite services to make operations more effective and efficient.
STC Logistics offers international and domestic freight services. To learn more about our shipping options, click below!