Intermodal 101: The Importance of Load Securement
We have discussed several main reasons for shipping via intermodal previously, but there are also a few areas of concern that you should be aware of before shipping with intermodal.
As you know, intermodal involves loading a trailer or container at a shipping point, and unloading that trailer or container at the consignee. Obviously though, intermodal has some level of rail service between these events. That challenges your shipment will face must be accounted for prior to tending a shipment for intermodal service.
First, there must be greater load securement when shipping via intermodal. Though the actual transit on the rail is typically much smoother than transit over the road, the trailer or container must be loaded onto the flatcar to get it moving. This typically involves a crane, which picks the unit off the chassis and places it on the flatcar, later it is removed from the flat car in the same fashion and loaded back on a chassis for delivery. These movements place increased demand on the securement of the lading in your shipment that are not necessarily evident in over the road service. Crane service is the direction everything is heading right now, though there are still some older methods of loading flatcars that place even greater stress on securement devices than the crane service does.
To mitigate this, each rail has guides on their website on how to properly secure your shipment. They will also be happy to speak with you on the phone, via email, or even come for a visit to make sure your shipment will travel as securely as possible. You must take the time to get load securement done correctly to be able to enjoy the many benefits that intermodal shipping provides.
In our next installment, we will discuss transit times and how you might be able to find a couple of extra days within the transit of a shipment to make the extended time more palatable.
Check in on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month for more information on intermodal and how it can benefit you!