Each day, all types of cargo are being transported as trucking companies work around the clock to meet critical delivery deadlines. Two types of exchanges that continue to make the process seamless and efficient are intermodal and transloading shipping. These have unique distinctions that center on how goods are packaged and shipped. Here is what you need to know about both options. 

A Guide to Intermodal vs. Transloading Shipping


This type of cargo transport uses two or more shipping methods. Goods that are placed in containers are transferred from a road carrier to a rail carrier. The process usually starts with the containers being loaded on a chassis that is picked up by a trucking company. After arriving at a rail yard, the containers are unloaded and put on a train.


The federal gross vehicle weight limit for containers is 80,000 pounds. There are also intermodal weight distribution requirements that include 34,000 pounds for a trailer and chassis, 12,000 pounds for axles, and 34,000 pounds for steer tires. While intermodal transport times will vary, the process typically includes the time on truck transit, a day of freight on the same Class I railroad and truck, and two to three days if the freight needs to be interlined between two Class I railroads. 


Transloading is the method where trucking companies ship products or goods that are not housed in containers. Goods are loaded onto a truck and taken to a transloading facility, where they are moved to a rail car. A pallet may be used to transfer products to a truck reefer container and then pulled out for loading onto a train.

While transloading has the same 80,000 federal maximum for gross vehicle weight as intermodal, there is one main distinction. This shipping method allows for an additional 2,500 pounds to be loaded due to the truck not using containers or a chassis. For starting point to destination pairings, time frames are also more flexible because of fewer restrictions on intermodal ramp locations.


Since 1976, Pioneer Transport VA in Chesapeake has provided superior trucking services throughout Hampton Roads, PA, North Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic region. This licensed, insured, and bonded cargo transportation company is 100% committed to affordable pricing, project transparency, and meeting deadlines. To learn more about their services, call (757) 966-2780 or visit the website.