A multimodal transport system integrates different geographical scales from the global to the local. With new modal and intermodal infrastructure development, regions have growing accessibility to the global market. The above figure represents a corridor within a multimodal transportation system composed of a set of gateways and hubs (A, B, and C) where regional and local transportation networks converge. Depending on the geographical scale being considered, the regulation of flows is coordinated at the local level by distribution centers (the first or the last link between production and consumption), at the regional level by intermodal terminals, or the global level by gateways, which are composed of major transport terminals and related activities.
A gateway or a hub can have a modal and intermodal convergence of functions; particularly if it is the interface between several modes. The regional multimodal network converges at major gateways allowing linkages with the international transportation system through a maritime / land interface. Port cities are the main agent of that function, but air transportation is also prevalent. Containerization has particularly developed the maritime / land interface. It ensures flexibility of shipments, and several ports have opted for this multimodal transportation technology to keep and consolidate their primacy within their respective regions. At the regional level, intermodal terminals, some forming satellite terminals (when directly linked to a major gateway or hub) or inland ports are connecting and servicing the hinterland. Intermodal terminals E, F, G, and H are satellite facilities of gateway A and inland ports B and C. Some modal segments can be competing or complementary. For instance, intermodal terminal G is jointly serviced by inland terminals B and C.