Especially when it comes to international transportation, different terms such as unimodal and intermodal related to transportation processes come into play. This can lead to confusion about which transport service should be preferred. Just take a look at the rest of the content to learn about shipping models such as single-mode or multi-modal transportation, their differences and in which situations they can be used.
What is Unimodal Transportation?
Unimodal, also known as single-mode transportation, is completed using only one of the transportation activities carried out by land, air, sea or rail as its name suggests. One of the most well-known examples of the unimodal transportation type carried out with a single mode of transportation and vehicle is home-to-house transportation. To make it even more simple; Full Truck Load (FTL), which means full truck load transportation, is among the transportation services within the scope of unimodal.
What is Intermodal Transport?
In the intermodal system, which is known as multimodal transportation, unlike unimodal transportation, more than one transportation type is used in the transfer process of the same goods. This type of transportation, also known as combined transportation, is mostly preferred in international transfer processes. For example, transferring a container to the train after being transported by ship and then transporting it to its destination by truck is considered one of the most common examples of intermodal. Partial transportation, which is used especially in international piece freight transportation and enables the transfer of different loads at the same time, is considered within the scope of intermodal.
What are the Differences Between Unimodal and Intermodal Transport?
- Unimodal is mostly preferred for short distances and intermodal for long distances.
- Unimodal is generally used in urban or intercity transportation, and intermodal is used in international transportation.
- While the customer base of unimodal transportation is mainly individual customers, the audience of intermodal transportation is mostly corporate customers.
- Unimodal often costs less, but can reach a higher cost depending on the intermodal distance and the tools to be used.
- There are many more logistics companies providing unimodal transportation services, but transportation companies that provide intermodal transportation services are generally few and very large.
Which Mode of Transportation Should You Choose?
The most basic answer to this question determines the length of the distance you will receive transportation service. Whether you want to receive corporate or individual cargo transportation services, regardless of its type, choosing intermodal transportation for short distances can be disadvantageous in all aspects. On the other hand, as the distance increases within the same country or between countries, intermodal can prevent unimodal transportation in terms of advantages in many aspects from cost to time. For this reason, you may prefer unimodal, corporate and long-distance transportation or intermodal transportation in individual and short distance transportation services.