Intermodal transport involves the use of two or more means of transport to move goods and services from place of production to the place of consumption. For example, moving tea leaves from fields to factories and from factories to ports for export. It can combine road, rail and ship or plane in transporting goods from the place of production to where they can be consumed.
Intermodal transport in US is evolving in various aspects including economic evolution, changes in technology, and changes in management. Changes like use of containers is making transportation easier and secure than placing goods in their own packaging to the ship. Containerization protects goods from bad weather, from robbery and it is easy to locate goods and loading and offloading is faster. Break-bulk allows goods to be placed into the cargo without putting them into containers. They may be in boxes or bags such that each unit is placed individually, making it time consuming during loading and offloading. Because each unit is placed individually, it is easy to recognize and theft is encouraged.
Evolution of intermodal transport is enabling containerization to change with technology as new innovations are made. In future, there is change of technology such that the use of cranes in offloading and loading another mode is avoided by using containers which are stacked to rail or trucks in case of roads and ship wagon. This saves time, and labor that normally handles or operates cranes and other lifters.
Government plays a major role in ensuring efficient marketing by formulating policies that are easy to follow and comply with. This will have a positive impact on the country’s infrastructure and national productivity in general. Before deregularization, the government used to liberalize the modes of transport such that it owned most of the modes and the design of trucks, ships and plane was entirely Government decision. However, through intermodal many of the private companies are allowed to own containers which they can lease or use them. One firm can issue one ticket or use one bill of lading to transport goods or passengers which is only verified at terminals. Thus through government decision of not controlling transport there is efficiency in transport leads to higher returns that contributes to national income. The Government has a role of providing security which is both physical and technologically monitored equipment around the terminals to curb theft of containers.
Political stability, economic factors such as tariffs and legal requirements promote trade within the country and other countries. Security in a country also promotes trade between countries.
Containerization and intermodal transport have promoted growth of business that leads to the development of a nation. Improved infrastructure, information systems and technology and management levels facilitate efficient intermodal transport of the country.