Types of Intermodal Terminals
An intermodal terminal, or hub, is a logistics platform specialized in cargo transportation. This system involves the transfer of loading units from road to rail. By utilizing intermodal terminals, customers can reduce logistics costs and have faster, safer, and better transport services. An essential aspect of the intermodal terminal is the cargo units’ transfer and temporary storage of goods.
Intermodal hubs feature a large yard and dedicated equipment to ensure the proper execution of the transportation process. Using one or more internal rail tracks, freight trains are let into the operational area of the terminal where intermodal units can be easily handled and moved from one destination to another. An intermodal hub’s key objective is to be a structured trans-loading facility that mainly transfers the contents of maritime containers into domestic containers or truckloads.
In addition, cross-docking commonly occurs in the last segment of the retail supply chain. And finally, warehousing is a standard function within intermodal transportation. These hubs consist of both efficient and environmentally sustainable global movement of all types of unitized goods!
With the increasing popularity of long-distance maritime container shipping, port terminals are the most effective intermodal terminals regarding traffic, space consumption, and capital requirements. The port terminal’s primary purpose is to transfer cargo between ships and land. Furthermore, a container sea terminal connects the marine and inland circulation systems. The terminal is the middleman between containers waiting to be loaded on another ship! Barge terminals are connected to major deep-sea ports with scheduled barge services. Barges can use common docking areas at the maritime container terminal if the main port is overcrowded, which is a highly convenient tactic. Although barge-to-barge terminal container services are possible, they are not very common.
Rail terminals are linked to ports. A rail terminal can be moved directly from the dock to a railcar using the terminal’s equipment. A satellite terminal is a facility located at a less jammed site that performs activities that have become too expensive or inconvenient for the maritime terminal. A load center is a standard intermodal rail terminal controlling a regional market area and can take the form of an inland port. Containerized rail traffic also requires rail operations as freight moves from one rail network to another. This can be done by switching carriers and trucking containers from one terminal to another. The satellite terminal, the load center, and the transmodal terminal are inland ports. The terminal clearance is the main difference between an on-dock and a near-dock rail facility.
Distribution centers are another intermodal terminal that predominantly includes trucking to support the transmodal operations. A transloading facility mainly transfers maritime containers into domestic containers or truckloads. In distribution centers, shipments are palletized as part of the transportation process because many containers are floor-loaded. In addition, cross-docking commonly occurs in the last segment of the retail supply chain. This strategy consists of unloading goods from inbound delivery vehicles and loading them directly onto outbound vehicles. Warehousing is a standard function performed by distribution centers and typically acts as the hedge within supply chains.
Northstar provides cost-effective and high-quality services to customers daily. Our network of terminals strategically located at major east coast ports allows us to handle shipments originating and destined for all points in North America. Northstar Transport Services has the flexibility to provide service from low volume to high volume customers with the same value-added service customers expect. We offer a systematic approach to ensure customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. Check out the services we provide here!