Client Portal Login

Please Login to use Client Portal


Become an Agent

The "American Dream" Program

Credit application

Apply now!

Four Myths of Intermodal Shipping – Debunked

Sep 12, 2017

Considering using intermodal transportation to reap the many benefits it offers? You may have heard some of the myths that were once true. To aid you in your decision, let’s look at the four most common myths around intermodal shipping. Once you’re armed with updated information, you’ll be equipped to move forward with your shipping plans!

Intermodal - Myths.jpgMyth #1 – It’s slow

A major component of intermodal shipping, rail transportation used to be a significantly slower way to move freight. Although it used to take two weeks for a shipment to travel coast to coast, today it only takes seven to eight days to complete this journey. The shortened timeframe is a result of improved infrastructure and equipment plus less distractions and delays than trucking, such as traffic and weigh stations.

Myth #2 – It isn’t as reliable as other options

A series of mergers in the rail industry during the 1990’s gave intermodal a reputation of being unreliable. Now, delivery times are significantly more reliable than ever before. The causes for this improvement include an expanded network and schedule, plus the use of intermodal containers that eliminate delays caused by the loading and unloading of individual items in a shipment. These variables and more, that previously impacted delivery schedules, are now kept to a minimum in intermodal shipping. In fact, most intermodal service levels are consistently above 95% for on-time delivery.

Myth #3 – It lacks transparency

You may have heard that tracking intermodal shipments is difficult. With today’s intelligent transportation management solutions and related technologies, that simply isn’t true. Actually, many intermodal containers are now equipped with tracking devices that allow your logistics provider to provide you with real-time updates on the location of your freight at any point along its journey. If you are shipping perishable items in a refrigerated container, new technologies also allow the monitoring and remote adjustment of container temperatures throughout the haul to accommodate weather conditions as needed while in transit.

Myth #4 – It has greater risk of damage or loss

Some think that shipping via a combination of rail and truck increase the chances of damage or loss to freight. This may have been true in the distant past, but things have changed and it isn’t the case any longer. The use of standardized freight containers for intermodal transportation means that once you pack your shipment, it remains locked until it reaches its final destination. This is much more secure than shipments that are packed and unpacked along the way. There’s also a lower risk of damage as a result of accidents and weather. The use of GPS tracking devices also reduce the chances of your shipment getting misplaced in transit.

As you can see, things have changed significantly in intermodal shipping. There’s no longer the need to be concerned about it being slow, unreliable, difficult to track, or higher risk. Considering intermodal for your next shipment? Contact American Group by phone at 866-553-6608 or by email at We’re here to help you select the best shipping method to meet your shipping needs for Shipping.Simplified®.


Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=''>zhudifeng / 123RF Stock Photo</a>