You must’ve come across the term intermodal brokers at least once while dealing with your cargo shipments. Ever wondered what it actually means or rather who they are? This blog will guide you through the depths of understanding intermodal brokers, their roles, and the benefits of making them a part of your business. Not just this, by the end of the piece, you’ll also gain enough insight into intermodal containers and the advantages of intermodal transportation. Let’s begin!

Who are intermodal brokers?

Intermodal brokers are individuals or companies who work with shippers, freight carriers, or consignees to facilitate the movement of goods from one location to the other. An intermodal broker is responsible for completing logistical services between various modes of transportation such as sea, rail, road, and air. Intermodal brokers ensure that the shipping goes as planned and on time, ultimately leading to the success of a supply chain.

These brokers play an important role in connecting the shipping logistics industry. And it’s a good idea to involve them in your business if you, as a shipper, want the management of your shipping logistics to be hurdle-free or simply want to eliminate handling big consignments. While they take care of your overall shipping and intermodal logistics, you can focus on improving your business.

Let’s look at the many roles and responsibilities of intermodal brokers in our next section.

Role of intermodal brokers in freight transportation

Inter-modal different providers , each provider and a different contract.

The role of intermodal brokers doesn’t just stop at facilitating the movement of cargo via different modes of transportation. The responsibilities are much more than that. They are responsible for:

  • Negotiating contracts for their clients.
  • Making sure those contracts have everything that’s required and successfully execute them.
  • Arranging customs documents and other fees for international cargo.
  • Keeping in touch with their clients and frequently updating them.
  • Tracking the shipment and resolving any issues that may crop up during the process.
  • Timely delivery of cargo to their clients, and
  • Get clear client communication and payments.

Additionally, they play an important role in coordinating with logistics companies and establishing routes to make sure the supply chain is smooth and secure and leads to a hassle-free delivery.

You’ll often find your intermodal broker suggesting to you which intermodal transportation method to opt for based on the type of cargo you have. That’s because, it’s essential to know how you can make your cargo shipment quick, simple, and efficient. It’ll only help you save time, money, and frustration at the end of the day.

Also read: What’s drayage fees

Having an experienced broker can help you achieve this. They’re skilled enough to analyze the supply chain and give you the best solution.

Now that you’ve clarity on the role of an intermodal broker. This is a good time to revisit the concept of intermodal shipping. You must’ve, at some point, wondered what it is and how it even works. So, here’s a quick run-through.

How does intermodal shipping work?

To understand how intermodal shipping works, let’s look at an example. Say, you have electric scooters to transport from Hamburg to Mumbai. The journey of your shipment begins with a truck that brings in an empty container for pick up. Once the container is loaded, it’s taken to the terminal where the container is loaded onto a ship. Here, your intermodal broker takes up the entire responsibility until the shipment reaches the final destination — Mumbai.

In Mumbai, the cargo container is moved from the port to the rail yard. From there, it’s moved to the domestic inland location. Once it reaches its destination, the cargo container is again placed on a truck before it’s finally delivered to the consignee.

What we see here is that your cargo, i.e, the electric scooters, moves through different modes of transportation (road, sea, and rail) from the pickup location until the final destination. Since it’s an intermodal freight transport, there are several contracts between the buyer and seller and also the transport service providers.

intermodal transportation

Intermodal shipping involves multiple forms of transportation and thus, it’s critical to have a meticulously planned transit route. It’ll only help you avoid delays, save a couple of dollars and eventually, improve your relationship with your business associates.

Benefits of Intermodal transportation

Did you know, that choosing an intermodal method of transporting your cargo has many long-term benefits for your business? We’ve curated a list of these advantages for your easy understanding. Here it is:

  • Cost-efficient: You ideally choose intermodal transportation when you’ve got long-distance shipping. Since it uses multiple modes of transport, it cuts down the overall cost and also uses lesser resources. For example, rail and road carriers require less fuel than air and sea. You’ll also find that the shipment price is lower when it’s consolidated into larger shipments.
  • Carrier choice: The next advantage you have with intermodal transportation is that you get to choose your choice of carrier at every stage of the shipment process. Since intermodal containers fit each mode of transport easily, it’s a smooth transition between the transport type. It ultimately reduces the effort and cost of transferring the box from one mode to the next.
  • Secure: With the growing popularity of intermodal transportation over the years, it has proved itself to be reliable and secure time and again. You can eliminate direct handling and managing of your cargo and best to hand it over to an intermodal broker. Moreover, with the use of intermodal containers, your cargo is sealed at point A and is only unpacked at the final destination.
  • Environment-friendly: The environmental effect intermodal transportation has is way lesser. To begin with, intermodal transportation is fuel-efficient, it leverages the efficiencies of each mode of transport which leads to a reduction in air pollution. Intermodal transportation thus helps reduce the overall carbon footprint during a shipment process.

Manage your cargo with intermodal freight brokers

With the container logistics industry expanding, we see the popularity of intermodal container brokers at an all-time high today. And this is good news for a shipper like you.

These brokers help you save time, money, and energy. As your business grows, it’s obvious that your workload increases too. Intermodal brokers are here to help you manage your cargo more efficiently and make sure it reaches its destination on time. So, while they are taking care of the management of your cargo logistics and supply chain, you can sit back and build your business relations.

Read more on shipping container brokers here.

Find intermodal freight shipping containers on xChange

If you’ve opted for intermodal freight transport, there’s nothing better than getting your hands on intermodal containers. Yes, to ensure, a quick, safe, and efficient transfer of your cargo across different modes of transportation, intermodal containers are your best choice.

Container xChange offers a variety of intermodal containers of different types and sizes. We have an array of containers from standard to special intermodal boxes ready to put to use.

The most popular containers that you can find on xChange are the 20ft, 40ft, and 45ft containers. You can use them to move your cargo smoothly both domestically and internationally. And it doesn’t end here. You get these boxes at the most industry-competitive prices and that too at your fingertips in just a few clicks.

We also have special intermodal equipment that you can choose from reefers and double doors to pallet wide and tanks, tap on the container that best suit your demands. And you’ll thank us for the price you get to buy them for!

How intermodal brokers lease intermodal containers on xChange

Now that you’ve got an insight into the benefits of intermodal brokers and intermodal containers for your business, here’s how xChange can help these brokers lease the right container at the right time and at surprisingly lower prices.

xChange is a neutral online marketplace to lease, buy or sell containers. We deal only with certified members and all of them go through a mandatory vetting process before they join our platform.

This resolves the trust issue for you of finding a certified company for all your container needs. You can rest assured that the containers that are sourced are only from genuine companies.

Your intermodal broker can lease containers for you on our platform in a much simpler and faster way. How you may ask? Well, the presence of 1000+ members across 2500+ locations globally and more than 10,000 containers on the platform, makes the process of finding containers a cakewalk.

The xChange platform sees 10k+ transactions happening monthly – now this says something! We’re one of the most trusted spaces solving all your container logistics needs.

After becoming a member of xChange, you can search for the container you specifically need, get the results within seconds, and also check the profiles of companies you want to deal with.

Here, you can negotiate and close deals directly with the member company and there is no involvement of a third party. The best thing is, it’s a commission-free platform and all costs are stated upfront – giving you the upper hand. So, it’s a win-win for you, huh!

Don’t believe what you just read? Check it out for yourself. Click the banner below and our support team will take you through the marketplace in action. And of course, they’re always available to help you through any queries you might have.

Intermodal brokers: Common FAQs

What intermodal shipping stands for?

Intermodal shipping stands for the movement of cargo or freight using two or more modes of transportation. With intermodal transportation of cargo, you can effortlessly transfer intermodal containers between ships, trucks or trains.

What is the difference between a freight forwarder and a freight broker?

The difference between a freight forwarder and a freight broker is that a freight forwarder handles the cargo directly, they are usually involved in storing, packing, and shipping cargo. A freight broker only coordinates the logistics connection between the shipper and carriers. This doesn't involve the handling of the cargo.

What is intermodal freight broker?

Intermodal freight brokers can be individuals or companies who work with shippers, carriers, or consignees to facilitate the movement of goods across locations. A freight broker is responsible for completing logistical services between multiple modes of transportation and ensures the shipping leads to the success of a supply chain.

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