Multimodal Transport Planning and Management

There are many challenges when transporting goods from long distances, especially if it crosses oceans and national boundaries. To improve your operations, it is essential to be knowledgeable about multimodal transport to make the right decisions regarding this critical aspect of a company’s supply chain.
Multimodal transport is also known as combined transport; it is the transportation of goods involving at least two types of transportation. To better understand the scope of multimodal transport, the United Nations definition offers a more detailed perspective: “International multimodal transport” means the carriage of goods by at least two different modes of transport on the basis of a multimodal transport contract from a place in one country at which the goods are taken in charge by the multimodal transport operator to a place designated for delivery situated in a different country…
Normally, even if multiple carriers are involved, this is under the control of one carrier, called the multimodal transport operator or MTO. The carrier is usually not the owner of all the transport facilities utilized. In the United Nation’s definition, the transport is across countries so different laws complicate matters.
To have a basic knowledge of multimodal transport, the manager involved is advised to study the following issues:
Cargo consolidation. This is when smaller shipments are put together to save on transport charges and also to improve security. What usually happens is that the freight forwarder tries to fill up a container load with cargo from different companies to reduce freight expenses.
Shipping arrangements and services. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of different shipping arrangements and services. Study what is most suitable for your type of cargo and delivery needs. Making the right shipping arrangement could mean not only significant savings but also quicker delivery and better condition of the goods on arrival.
Freight quotations and payment procedures. It is critical that you understand freight quotations and how to do job costing, so you can choose the best price for your shipment. Know the payment procedures for the transport services.
Cargo handling equipment. Know about the different cargo handling equipment used in ports and ships. Note that yearly, thousands of container vans are reported lost at sea because of negligence in handling or securing the containers. Included in this category is also determining the type of vehicles that will best handle your cargo.
Legal aspects of multimodal transport. A large part of legal complications are due to the multinational nature of the transport. There are different laws in each country. Not only that, it is also difficult to pinpoint the legal liability.
Cargo handling, packaging, procedures and documentations. You must learn how the cargo is handled to determine the proper service for your cargo. Other important things to learn are the right packaging to protect cargo and to indicate how it should be moved. Finally, you must know the necessary procedures and documentations relating to the cargo.
BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts an excellent seminar on the topic. Contact them at (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.

Click here to view details of the seminar: Multimodal Transport »

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, July 1, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.