Intermodal and Transmodal Connectivity

Intermodal and Transmodal Connectivity

Connectivity within freight transport systems can either involve intermodal connectivity (between modes) or transmodal connectivity (within a mode):

  • Intermodal Connectivity. A port container yard is a major form of intermodal connectivity by allowing containers to be transloaded between maritime transportation, trucks, or rail (on-dock rail terminal). A transloading facility allows moving containers between rail and road. Many rail terminals are connected to ports and act as inland terminals for maritime transportation.
  • Transmodal Connectivity. For maritime transportation, the transshipment hub is the major form of transmodal connectivity, allowing to connect maritime shipping networks, such as between deepsea and feeder services. Locations such as Singapore, Dubai, Suez, and Panama are major transshipment hubs. Less common, is the thruport, a facility allowing to move containers between different parts of a rail system. This can be done because of a change in ownership (different carriers operating different networks) or a gauge change, such as over the Eurasian Landbridge. The last form of transmodal connectivity involves a cross-docking facility (or a distribution center) that moves cargo from different road distribution services, a common strategy for distribution systems involving retail activities.