What is Intermodal Transportation?

BulkTainer® Intermodal Transportation services use two or more modes or carriers to transport freight from shipper to consignee. It’s a shipping strategy that began in 18th century England, and in the 1950s, the steel intermodal transportation container was standardized based on design specifications from the US DoD. Today’s BulkTainer® intermodal transportation services often include further specializations, such as using BulkTainer ISO tanks for liquid chemicals, allowing carriers to transport liquid chemicals between trucks, railcar trains, and ships without handling any actual cargo. When considering different strategies, shippers want to balance cost and service, and intermodal is often an effective solution to meeting those goals.

The Intermodal Transportation Process

A typical path for an intermodal freight transportation process is rail, truck, ship, truck. Truck transports between rail logistics terminals and ocean ports are a specialized form of trucking referred to as drayage and are often handled by specialists. An example of this process could look like this:

  1. A truck brings an empty container to a shipper
  2. The container is loaded with freight and taken to the railyard by truck
  3. The container is put on a train and moved to its destination region
  4. The container is put on a truck, delivered to the consignee, and unloaded
  5. The container is ready for reuse with another load

When You Think Intermodal Transportation, Think CLX Logistics

We’re proud to be the largest intermodal transport company and provider of domestic, door-to-door, intermodal transportation service for the bulk liquid chemical market. With up to thirty percent cost savings compared to domestic tank truck shipments of hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals, CLX Logistics has been helping companies, including those in the chemical sector, increase performance and reduce costs with intermodal transportation for more than twenty years.

Our intermodal shipping containers specialize in bulk ISO tanks, and our large fleet is ready to transport your bulk liquid chemicals. We provide this intermodal transportation solution from the shipper’s plant to the consignee—with comprehensive tracking and monitoring—all on a single bill of lading. As one of the most trusted intermodal transportation companies, our fleet of specially built, lightweight ISO tanks, containers, and chassis serves all of North America, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Benefits of Our Intermodal Transportation

With intermodal transportation from CLX Logistics, you get modernized, transparent, and sustainable transportation networks that offer flexibility and consistency you and your customers can depend on.

  • Save Up to 30% Compared to OTR Chemical Shipments
    CLX Logistics helps chemical shippers cut costs by up to 30% on bulk liquid chemical deliveries across the United States with a state-of-the-art intermodal transportation network.
  • Alleviate Driver Capacity Constraint Issues
    Whether drivers are falling ill, a region has been wracked by storms, or any other situation that would cause capacity issues, intermodal eliminates these concerns while keeping costs low.
  • Forward Storage Solutions
    Remove time constraints from the equation with pre-filled ISO tanks at your destination, ready and waiting to be sent to customers in the region at a moment’s notice.
  • Reduce Your Overall Carbon Footprint
    Effective use of railways dramatically reduces the environmental impact of bulk liquid chemical transportation by a factor of four compared to over-the-road.
  • Manage Orders Through a Single Point of Contact
    CLX Logistics provides comprehensive bulk liquid chemical logistics and intermodal supply chain macro and micromanagement to ensure you and your customers get the best rates without compromising from coast to coast.

Consistent Quality, Capacity, and Safety at Lower Costs

CLX Logistics provides comprehensive tracking and monitoring from the manufacturing plant to the final consignee, all detailed on a single bill of lading. Our specially-built, lightweight ISO tanks, containers, and chassis are all designed to safely and efficiently transport bulk liquid chemicals throughout North America, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Want to Learn More About Intermodal Transportation?

rail fleet transportation

Environmentally Friendly Transportation

With fuel-efficient locomotives and lightweight ISO tank containers, we leverage modern freight railroad technology to deliver exceptional service at better rates while mitigating the effects of climate change. Sustainability studies show freight railroads in the US can reach an efficiency of more than 470 mpg per ton of freight, making rail a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of transporting freight over land.1

Freight Rail: Moving Miles Ahead on Sustainability,” Association of American Railroads,