What is multimodal logistics? How do you optimize it?

Most logistics are multimodal, but its optimization is a lesser-known concept to many. Find out about how to make effective use of resources in multimodal operations.

What is multimodal logistics?

In supply chain, moving an item from one point to another requires more than one form of transportation—airplanes, ships, trucks, and vans, for example.

Multimodal logistics simply refers to the process of moving items with different modes of transportation.

How does multimodal optimization look like?

When transporting with only one mode, for example, trucks, optimization could include considering the different types of hubs and load capacities. 

However, when it comes to multimodal logistics, the complexity increases.

Apart from intermodal considerations, logistics providers need to know which mode is the most strategic. This is not so straightforward as connecting information is not always clear. Providers also need to account for many changing conditions—such as delays, cancellations, and sudden increase in demands.

Imagine a shipment is delayed.

The items are now at a port. They are urgently needed in a factory next week. The ocean freight (ship) that they were scheduled on has already left.
Should they be put on the next one by the same provider? More cost-effective on a different provider? Maybe faster on a truck instead?

Even for service providers with their own network, how can they be sure that their combination of connections is the most optimal?  Even if they are, communicating all essential information to service partners accurately and in real time is challenging.

Multimodal optimization means making every decision confidently, knowing that each and every step you take is the most cost-effective connection—that you reach your items within the window period.

Multimodal technology

Reliable technology gives you operational visibility in real time. You can easily prepare for possible delays or cancellations.

Enable connections with your existing partners or vendors. The right technology can also facilitate future connections through recommendations on potential partners that help your business grow.

Multimodal technology also supplies you with insights based on current data. Plan your logistics for what is coming before it happens. More importantly, you can now dedicate more resources to making your operations leaner.

Interested in creating more visibility in your multimodal operations? Book a demo today.