Knichel News

Intermodal VS Truckload

train-2-1514221.jpgIt's always a good idea to delve into the differences between various modes of transit because it simply makes sense to give yourself options. It is fairly easy to slip into complacency and just keep shipping the same way each and every time. But doing so could be costing you money. Since we just discussed the intermodal value proposition last week, let's take a look at some of the differences between motor carrier and intermodal shipping

The Differences:

  • Pricing. Typically less expensive than truckload, intermodal pricing excludes fuel and is quoted as dollars per load, whereas motor carrier pricing is quoted as cents per mile and can include fuel. There is often the ability to get intermodal volume contractual pricing which can lock in long term pricing - if you ship a certain amount of volume on a consistent basis.
  • Fuel Efficiency. Intermodal is roughly 2 to 3 times more fuel efficient than motor carriers overall.
  • Environmental Factors. Going hand in hand with fuel efficiency, intermodal has a smaller carbon footprint than motor carrier shipping. 
  • Transit Time. Typically intermodal is not as fast as motor carrier shipping, especially if compared to team services. It can be comparable though depending on the lane, but it's best to add a day or two to your transit time if moving intermodal.
  • Vendors Used. Motor carrier moves are often handled by one vendor, however door to door intermodal moves can have as many as four vendors.

There are several more differences which are listed in our Ultimate Intermodal Guide, along with some things to keep an eye out for when shipping intermodal. If you haven't already downloaded our guide, feel free to do so here:


Download our Intermodal Guide


Here's a recap of our most informative intermodal posts, in case you missed them!