Intermodal, multimodal and combined transport – what are the differences?

Intermodal, multimodal and combined transport are concepts that fulfil a fundamental role in the logistics industry.

They are used every day throughout the supply chain. Until recently, they were often confused with each other or even treated as identical. However, there are significant differences. This mistake can be very costly, so we have prepared a comparison to dispel any doubts.

Dear Customer, we have created this blog with you in mind, so that You can benefit from our knowledge and use the information we have gained for the development of Your business. We hope You find the following article useful!

What is intermodal transport?

Intermodal transport is defined as transport carried out by at least two modes of transport and using one and the same load unit. For example, using a container or semi-trailer. This principle applies to the entire route. This means that there is no need to reload the goods themselves when changing modes.

This type of transport can be classified by:

  • range
  • the type of units used
  • the nature of the means of transport used.

Advantages of intermodal transport

This mode of freight transport is gaining an increasing number of supporters. This is because of the many advantages it offers. The main reasons for choosing intermodal transport are:

  • reduced risk of cargo damage due to the lack of handling
  • greater resistance to weather conditions
  • lower accident rates
  • the possibility of transporting heavy loads over long distances
  • environmental aspect.

Intermodal versus multimodal transport

Multimodal transport is an extension of the intermodal option and is the most common way of transporting freight. Through the multimodal option, goods are transported door-to-door using at least two modes of transport, but unlike intermodal transport, there is the possibility of reloading when changing modes. Importantly, the number of branches does not affect the number of transport contracts – it remains one.

Multimodal transport - what is the reasoning behind this mode of freight transport?

Multimodal transport leads the way among all available modes of freight transport. In the logistics industry it is appreciated because of, among other things:

  • the relatively short transport time
  • favourable price
  • the possibility of transporting goods to distant destinations
  • high efficiency.


Combined transport - what makes it different from other transport options?

Combined transport, also known as combined transport, is a form of intermodal transport. In this case, goods are transported using more than one mode of transport. Goods are transported by rail, inland waterway, sea or coastal road along the entire route. In turn, road transport is responsible for the final distribution.

Combined transport can be divided into:

  • accompanied transport – transport with a vehicle and driver using another mode of transport
  • unaccompanied transport – transport without driver.

What are the strengths of combined transport?

As with the other modes of transport, combined (mixed) transport also has a number of advantages, which make it the preferred mode of transport for many people. What are the benefits of combined transport?

  • reduced transport costs
  • reduced delivery time
  • reduced risk of cargo damage during transport.

New opportunities at Matex Transport Logistics

In our company, we are constantly striving to develop and deliver solutions to our Customers that respond to their needs. Dear Customer, Your needs are our solutions, so we invite You to learn more about our rail and air transport services now. We have the expertise to advise You on the right way to transport your goods when placing a transport or shipping order.

We will recommend the mode of transport that will be the most advantageous option for You and Your business. We believe that it is by putting the Customer’s well-being first that we have become a leader in the transport industry while setting new standards in it.

Would You like to entrust us with the transport of Your cargo? Get in touch with us!