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Simplifying Intermodal Via Technology

Nov 14, 2017

We’ve seen the increased use of technology used in trucking over the years with Transportation Management Systems, GPS systems, driver cameras, and, most recently, Electronic Logging Devices. What about intermodal freight? It used to be that using intermodal shipping methods meant a lot of work for many people in many departments. Everything from tracking where your shipment was, determining when it would arrive at its final destination, ensuring security of your freight, and sorting through invoices after goods had completed their journey. Today there are many advancements making intermodal shipping a much easier process for all involved. So, what types of technologies are these?

Intermodal Technology.jpgTracking and Barcode Technology are employed to generate up-to-the-minute container tracking information. Barcodes and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are scanned and uploaded to populate detailed track and trace data in TMS systems throughout the intermodal journey. Other tracking and status information is collected through GPS-enabled tracking devices installed on intermodal containers and trailers. This combined information allows shippers to have continuous visibility of locations and load status for each shipment while in transit. These technologies also prevent the loss of freight when being transferred from one mode to another.

Environmental Monitoring and Control is important to ensure food and drugs maintain freshness while enroute. These measures aid in compliance with drug supply regulations for lot-level product tracing and prevention of food recalls due to spoilage or contamination. Advanced environmental sensors installed in containers and warehouses also make it possible to monitor temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration levels throughout the shipping process.

Refrigeration Containers and Insulated Blankets further protect temperature-sensitive shipments while in transit. The blankets can help maintain temperatures during shorter journeys while refrigerated containers are best for longer shipping distances. Remote control of environmental factors is now possible through wireless connectivity to these specialized containers providing an additional layer of protection for loads requiring even tighter environmental regulation.

Digital Cameras are being used more frequently during shipping container inspections and to verify security seals are in place. These previously manual processes used to result in shipment delays and wasted fuel. These newer methods help keep freight on schedule and are better for the environment.

Electronic Billing Systems use digital cameras to record unit numbers and match them with billing data. This automation eliminates manual paperwork checks and prevents shipping delays while increasing accuracy.

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) allows tracking of shipments as they move across various modes of transportation throughout their journey. There’s no need to collect information and organize it from multiple sources, since it’s all organized in one place for quick and easy reference at a moment’s notice. TMS help businesses make better decisions for their businesses. Not only that, they provide your accounting department with easy access to all the information they need to confirm invoices for processing.

Smartphone Apps put important shipment data at your fingertips whenever and where you need it. These apps also provide electronic point of delivery confirmations, GPS tracking information, and more. They also provide timely, accurate data at a low cost with the device you already use – no additional specialized hardware required.

As you can see, technological advancements are increasing the efficiency of intermodal freight shipping while simplifying processes for businesses as well. If you’re considering intermodal for your next shipment, or would like to learn more about these technologies, contact American Group by phone at 866-553-6608 or email at We’re here to make your intermodal Shipping.Simplilfied®.