01 April, 2022


Freight often takes multiple modes of transportation to move from its origin to its destination. Multimodal transport logistics takes this complex intermodal process and simplifies it by having a brokerage oversee the contractual obligations between shippers.

The simplest supply chain involves working with one shipper that gets freight to its destinations using a single transport mode. However, manufacturers and warehouses are not typically located near customers. A product may travel across the country, through several countries, or around the world. These supply chains rely on intermodal travel where the freight passes between shippers that provide land, sea, air, and rail transport services.

Managing each shipper and contract becomes a daunting process for customers. Also, they may miss opportunities to find additional cost savings or not hear about new shipping regulations until it is too late. Instead, many companies are switching to multimodal transportation in supply chain management. Multimodal transport involves intermodal shipping processes yet involves using a brokerage to oversee shipping management.

Read on to learn more about this transportation solution.


Multimodal brokerage involves having 3PLs decide on which shippers to use so the shipment travels over rail, air, sea, and land. The brokerage manages each carrier as well as all transportation documentation. If any problem arises with the supply chain, the brokerage handles the problems with the carrier so its client can continue to focus on taking orders and making sales.

If the client needs to communicate with someone regarding where a shipment is in the transportation process, it contacts the brokerage directly instead of each shipper. The brokerage addresses all concerns about the freight to satisfy its client’s issues.


Using multimodal transportation options may help to reduce shipping costs as the broker proactively evaluates carriers that can perform the transportation work to meet contractual deadlines. The 3PL instantly adjusts which carriers to lower shipping rates as well as addresses any transportation slowdowns that may occur.

Another benefit to a multimodal brokerage is that it handles any changes to freight shipping regulations, tariffs, or mandates for international and domestic shipments. It stays up to date with all shipping protocols between countries. The brokerage helps ensure that multimodal freight continues to move efficiently through the supply chain process and helps avoid costly fines related to shipments not following transportation laws.

A brokerage also provides a way to centralize all the transportation management work. All documentation and communication passes between the brokerage to the client and to each subcontracted carrier. Everyone has the same understanding on how the specific supply chain operates and stated deadlines. The brokerage instantly responds to issues and provides communication to the client to keep it in the loop with the situation.


If a company doesn’t have the manpower to handle the multimodal freight management, or it is looking for additional cost savings between carriers, it may decide to have a brokerage handle this type of intermodal transportation process. With a brokerage, the client deals with a responsible and reliable company that is responsive to all supply chain concerns.

When deciding on a brokerage, look for a 3PL that is well-versed in the industry. You want a company that has a vast network of partner carriers so you can draw on its best resources. The brokerage should also have a stellar track record regarding its reliability and accountability. Lastly, verify that the 3PL practices proactive communication between carriers and your company to provide transparency into your supply chain processes.


Here at WSI, we provide brokerage transportation services for companies that require national and international shipping solutions. We excel in providing third-party logistical strategies tailored to every customer’s supply chain needs. We offer full logistical support from start to finish so our clients reap the cost savings when shipping their freight to any location.

Reach out to WSI to learn more.

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