What is Multi-Modal Freight?

If you’re relatively new to the import/export business, there will be freighting terms that you may need explaning. And one of the most commonly queried is multi-modal freight. So, what is multi-modal freight? And could it benefit your business?

Everything You Need to Know About Multi-Modal Freight

What is multi-modal freight?

Multi-modal freight refers to the way in which cargo is transported. Rather than a straight door-to-door arrangement, whereby your goods are collected and delivered in a single truck. In multi-modal freight, items that are not time-sensitive may be transported in a variety of ways. These include the rail network and ferries, as well as road.

Our most common multi-modal approach is the combination of rail and road. This means that your cargo travels into the UK unaccompanied via the rail network and is collected by Plexus Freight for the final leg of its journey.

How does multi-modal freighting work?

Under a multimodal shipping arrangement, you take out a single contract with a freight forwarder, like Plexus Freight. We then arrange the transportation details. The route the goods take and the form of transport they use is down to us. So, as a customer, you only need one house bill of lading. There’s no additional paperwork for you to worry about. And no need for additional communication. It should be a very simple process.

What are the benefits of multi-modal freight transportation?

The main benefit of selecting multi-modal freighting is cost. Rail and sea transportation are often cheaper than other forms. But they’re obviously not as flexible as road haulage. By combining the two, you get a door-to-door service, but with reduced costs.

Are there any negatives to multi-modal freight?

Every freighting option has its downsides. With multi-modal, your deliveries can be subject to delays that are entirely out of the freight forwarder’s hands. With rail deliveries, this can be caused by problems on the tracks. And sea freight carries its own potential problems. But with goods that are not time sensitive, the cost benefits can outweigh the potential negatives. And despite the potential delays, better routing can reduce transit time.

We wouldn’t recommend multi-modal freight for time-sensitive cargo.

On which routes does Plexus Freight operate multi-modal shipping services?

Theoretically, multi-modal transport options can be used on all of the routes operated by Plexus Freight. But we usually employ multi-modal delivery between Italy and the UK, and Spain and the UK. These are our busiest routes. So, we use multi-modal freight to increase capacity.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all freighting solution. Your business has its own needs. But if you’re looking to reduce your costs and you’re not working with time-sensitive cargo, then multi-modal freight might be a good option for you.

If you’d like to find out more about European multi-modal freight, please contact Plexus freight today.


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