4 Reasons to Incorporate Multimodal Transportation Into Your Supply Chain Strategy

Written by Johnny Yip
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3 minute read

In today's hyper-connected world, global businesses demand agile and efficient solutions for moving goods across continents. The traditional paradigm of solely air or ocean freight often needs to deliver a balance of cost, speed, reliability, and sustainability. A multimodal strategy offers a blend of different transport modes, including ground, ocean, and air, creating optimized movement of goods.

Multimodal is a transformative force in supply chain management. Here's why:

  1. Cost Optimization: While airfreight excels in speed, its premium price tag can dwindle profit margins. Multimodal leverages the cost-efficiency of ocean transit, delivering substantial savings compared to pure air, while optimized trucking routes further enhance cost competitiveness.
  2. Speed and Predictability: Traditional ocean freight, while budget-friendly, suffers from lengthy transit times. Multimodal capitalizes on the swiftness of trucks and the reliability of fast-boat ocean services, reducing delivery times by 1-2.5 weeks on average. This translates to faster product cycles, improved customer satisfaction, and a decisive edge in today's fast-paced markets.
  3. Enhanced Resilience: Global supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions caused by unforeseen events. Multimodal offers a diversified network of options, with alternative gateway/solution pathways through ground and ocean routes. This agility enables businesses to navigate bottlenecks and maintain a seamless flow of goods.
  4. Environmental Stewardship: Sustainability is paramount in an era of climate consciousness. Multimodal reduces carbon footprint significantly compared to both air and ocean freight alone. Optimized multimodal routes reduce congestion and infrastructure strain while minimizing packaging waste through containerized intermodal transport.

End-To-End Visibility with Multimodal

Multimodal provides a clear view from origin to destination as your cargo seamlessly transitions between trucks, trains, ships, and planes. This isn't just tracking; it's dynamic control. Each touchpoint becomes an opportunity to optimize, whether it's consolidating shipments for cost savings, deconsolidation for faster delivery, or repackaging for efficient onward travel. It happens within a single transaction, so you ditch the patchwork of providers and piecemeal updates.


A Proven Success Story

Leading logistics providers have embraced multimodal, experiencing firsthand the power of this approach. Their utilization of fast-boat services and optimized trucking routes translated into significant cost savings and faster delivery times for shipments from Southeast Asia to the US. 


Learn how Expeditors transformed our customer's supply chain strategy using a multimodal approach in our Case Study.


Contact a logistics expert to see how multimodal can fit your supply chain management strategy.



Blog was originally posted on February 14, 2024 7 AM

Topics: Supply Chain, Ocean, Ground Transportation, Air Transportation

Johnny Yip

Written by Johnny Yip

Johnny is the Senior Director of global Air Operations at Expeditors. He is responsible for the global air operations, air gateway, carrier partnership, and driving strategic development for air product. He started his career at Expeditors in 1994 as a night operations agent for our San Francisco office, where he processed air export shipments. His success in that role led him to soon thereafter be promoted to Air Export Operations Manager. In 2002, he transferred to Expeditors Asia Regions and spent 16 years in Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. He was responsible for the growth and development of the Air product in the North and South Asia region. In 2019, he relocated to our headquarters in Seattle.

3 minute read