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Intermodal 101:Door to Door Rail

Intermodal 101:Door to Door Rail

Intermodal 101: Door to Door Rail

For people who have not shipped via Intermodal in the past, utilizing rail controlled, door to door offerings can be an effective way to familiarize yourself with it.

Typically, an Intermodal shipment requires coordination of a drayman to handle the pickup, a railroad to move the shipment from origin ramp to destination ramp and another drayman to handle the delivery to the consignee.  This type of shipping usually results in an affordable transportation option for the shipper, though it can be daunting for a shipper. If the shipper lacks experience, coordinating these pieces can feel too risky to justify adding intermodal into their shipping process. In this case, the railroads have another option.

One of the options a shipper might utilize is “Door to Door” shipping on the railroads.  This option allows a shipper some of the advantages of shipping Intermodal, but the rail company is responsible for coordinating the details. The shipper is responsible for dispatching one party, the same as they do for an over-the- road (OTR) shipment.  There are several reasons that a shipper might find this advantageous.

First, the shippers’ operational system already allows them to set up a shipment with one carrier and one party to pay. A “Door to Door” shipment with the rail is a natural fit for that system, because it is only one party to pay.

Secondly, using “Door to Door” simplifies the monitoring of authority and insurance requirements to one party.

Finally, “Door to Door” reduces complications in accessing intermodal equipment, as the railroads have access to empty equipment from loads moving into the area a shipper is looking to ship from.

In the next installment, we will discuss more of the benefits and drawbacks of using the railroad “Door to Door” products.


Check in on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month for more information on intermodal and how it can benefit you!