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In a large country like Canada, it’s essential to manage transportation efficiently. Intermodal transport, which involves at least two different shipping methods, is therefore widely used. What are the benefits associated with intermodality?

Reduce Costs by Using the Most Appropriate Modes of Transport

From one province to the next, the same modes of transport aren’t necessarily used to organize an intermodal shipment. For example, in Quebec, the freight transportation infrastructure is well suited to intermodal transport. The railway is very well developed there – much better than in all the other provinces in Canada. And since the price to transport freight by rail is among the lowest, using rail as much as possible during shipping lets you significantly reduce transportation costs.

Shorten Delivery Times

Thanks to intermodal transshipment stations, such as the one in Richmond that opened in 2007, carriers have a centre accessible by road and rail equipped with storage and truck-train transshipment services. This type of facility helps reduce travel times and time lost due to congestion, as well as transportation costs.

Take Advantage of the Benefits of Each Mode of Transport

Relying on intermodal transport lets you take advantage of the benefits of each mode of transport used:

  • With road transport, service is fast, and door-to-door delivery is possible
  • Using rail or maritime transport lets you reduce shipping costs over long distances.

In addition, intermodality helps better meet the expectations of the senders and recipients by offering increased reliability of service, in particular through predetermined schedules.

Decongest Busy Arteries

By limiting road transport, intermodality lets road carriers focus on shorter trips. This avoids the labour shortage for long distances, a recurring problem in Quebec that has been accentuated by the gradual retirement of the baby boomers.

For two years now, CSX has had an intermodal terminal in Valleyfield and combined road, rail, and maritime container transport – a real asset for those who want to use intermodal transport to send containers to the United States. Previously, every company had to go through Montréal, which created major bottlenecks in the sector.

Reduce Greenhouse Gases

In line with the will of the Ministry of Transport, certain municipalities wish to encourage intermodality for ecological reasons: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, consequently, to fight climate change. For example, at the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield terminal, it’s estimated that moving containers and products from road to rail will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 122,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Given the long distances to be covered, transportation is a major challenge in Canada, and controlling shipping times and prices requires excellent management of the different modes of transport. With intermodality, it’s possible to better meet the expectations of the senders and recipients while reducing transportation costs by shortening delivery times and decongesting the busiest arteries.