Multimodal transport

In today's world, multimodal transport is a basic element for moving goods from one place to another using different vehicles so that, the merchandise reaches its destination quickly and safely with a single transport contract.  

Multimodal transport

Related topics

Airplane, ship, truck, intermodal transportrail transport

What is multimodal transport?

Multimodal transport is the coordination of different modes of transport used to move materials or goods from one side to the other, through a transport contract.

Multimodal transport can be domestic or for companies wishing to move their goods or materials.

In global framework, multimodal transport can be intermodal, where different types of vehicles will be used to transport the load, or combined transport that will use the same chain of vehicles to move the load.

History of the multimodal transport

Multimodal transport concept is not really new. As early as the 17th century, a well-known French writer described how his horse-drawn carriage was placed on a boat and lowered into the Rhone River for 400 kilometers to avoid the rough roads of the roads of that time. However, modern multimodal transport was born with railways.

Characteristics of multimodal transport

Among the most common characteristics of multimodal transport we can mention the following:

Types of multimodal transport

Among the most used types of multimodal transports we can mention:


Multimodal transport implies that, for goods to be transported, it is necessary to use different means of transport in order to reach their final destination, which is previously established by contract. This being the case, the execution of the same shipment may require different transport modes such as, for example, ship, vehicle or train and all this through a single contract.

This possibility makes the whole process simpler on a commercial level, without having to involve intermediaries. This is where the importance of multimodal transport largely lies.

Another important aspect of multimodal transport is that its means of transport can be adapted to short or long distances depending on the type of cargo and its destination. In this sense, there are large or small transports that can be used in a multimodal transport so that, the merchandise can leave or arrive at its destination combining land cargo vehicles by road to take the merchandise from the warehouse to the port, or railway terminal and other larger ones such as ships or railroads that can transport more cargo over long distances.

Advantages of the multimodal transport

The advantages of multimodal transport include the following:


Among the disadvantages of this service, the following can be identified:


An example of multimodal transport can be maritime transport of goods. Since a cargo ship cannot enter small ports because of its size to receive the goods. Then, it proceeds to make use of rail or road transport to cargo ports that have their own rail terminal. This is done through a single contract which will include rail or road transport plus ship transport and transfers of goods from one transport to another.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Multimodal transport. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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