Intermodal connects the global supply chain of stakeholders — railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry — moving billions of dollars in cargo every day. The North American intermodal market, estimated at $40 billion, is the largest in the world.
Watch "What's in the Box" and learn more about the intermodal supply chain.
Intermodal Freight Transportation is defined as the movement of cargo in shipping containers or trailers by more than one mode of transport (rail, ship, or truck). Each year, a fleet of more than 34.5 million containers circling the globe are responsible for moving more than half of a billion shipments between shippers and customers worldwide. It is estimated that about 95 percent of the world’s manufactured goods at some time travel in a container before they arrive in the hands of the customer.
Modern intermodal container shipping and the global intermodal supply chain are relatively new transportation innovations, having only been demonstrated as a feasible concept 60 years ago. This container, also referred to as a "box," has fundamentally changed how the world’s businesses conduct trade.
The industry connects a number of freight stakeholders. At $40 Billion, the North American Intermodal Market is the largest in the world. It relies on a fleet of more than 700,000 chassis to move the domestic and international containers moving on its network.
ABOUT THE RESOURCE CENTER
The goal of the Intermodal Freight Resource Center is to provide a clearinghouse for educational content, industry information, economic data, and research and reference materials related to the intermodal industry. The IFRC is an organic project with curated content from IANA’s members, industry stakeholders, and the general public.
The information made available on the IFRC is provided for educational purposes and has been compiled from new material and existing content with permission from various sources as indicated. If you would like to provide feedback, request future resources or would like to use material found on this site, please contact us at: IFRC@intermodal.org.
Intermodal Factbook: An Introduction to Intermodal Freight provides an overview of the intermodal industry and the role of IANA.
To learn more about the intermodal industry, read IANA’s Intermodal Factsheet.
Need to know an intermodal industry term? IANA’s Intermodal Glossary can help.
Learn more about the extent of the intermodal system by viewing IANA’s map of the North American Intermodal Rail System and the North American Intermodal Facilities Directory.