The use of rail freight in intercontinental transport is becoming more and more popular. The industry that includes multimodal transport based on rail transport is also developing.

The transport of goods by freight trains is valued for the good balance between short delivery times and reasonable prices. However, it is not always possible for railways to efficiently handle the entire connection, and signing multiple contracts with different forwarders to handle de facto one transport involves inconveniences, such as the distribution of liability among several entities.

The service comes with help multimodal transportwhich involves the use of more than one means of transport. Usually multimodal forwarding, in addition to railways, it uses:

  • road transport,
  • road and sea transport,
  • road and air transport,
  • road and river transport.

The first two variants are the most common.

The Golden mean

The key to success multimodal transport is its flexibility - both the route and the route are adapted to the individual needs of the customer means of transport necessary for the smooth conduct of the transport operation.

When creating a freight transport plan, customers primarily pay attention to the delivery time. In case of multimodal transport based on express freight trains from China the entire chain related to the implementation of the door-to-door service takes about 20-22 days. This will start shorter than what freight forwarders specialize in shipping goods by sea. High load capacity is also important in this context - trains are able to load several dozen wagons filled with containers. What's more, they run up to 4 times a week (both ways), which significantly improves the throughput of cargo transport. This is what highlights the role of this form transport as a golden mean.

Multimodal transport with the use of rail freight forwarding also has other advantages. It should be noted, for example, that it bypasses restrictive regulations concerning road transport in the intermediate states. As you know, some countries have restrictions on truck traffic on specific days of the week.


Railway forwarding guarantees a high level of safety. This is because freight trains are much less sensitive to weather changes and faults than freighters. In addition, rail routes pass through countries with a low degree of risk, unlike ships whose route requires crossing the Persian Gulf.

The railway route from China runs through Russia, Belarus, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. These are countries with a fairly stable political and economic situation, and trade with the use of railways has been going on without major disruptions for many years.

New possibilities

Choice multimodal transport allows to open up to trade in goods with the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This solution may be safer, faster than choosing road transport and at the same time gives you the opportunity transport of more goods.

Trains also reach more exotic destinations such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Georgia. These are interesting markets, offering very low prices for products of proven quality. Moreover, the products of this area are becoming more and more popular among European consumers. In particular, this may be the case in the food industry - the import of food via express freight trains takes place quickly enough to avoid spoilage.

The course of transport

The use of containers may turn out to be a very convenient solution. Remember that on the eastern border of Poland, the track spacing changes and the change of bogies is time-consuming. Therefore, the most optimal solution is to move containers between platforms without having to open and reload them. Containers are successfully used in sea freight, as well as in multimodal transport due to the high time savings.

Another option is - as is the case with rail and road transport - placing the means of road transport on another means of transport. This can mean transporting a truck on board a freighter, or by rail - the latter option is more popular. Then the means of road transport is only responsible for transportation do loading station and with end station to the place indicated by the importer. We can use whole trucks here, as well as only semi-trailers or exchangeable containers.

Optimization - a good choice

Multimodal transport is more and more often chosen by entrepreneurs due to its high optimization potential. The use of railways here helps to reduce both the delivery time and its costs, and at the same time allows for the maximum simplification of all procedures: forwarding takes place on the basis of one contract, and only one entity is responsible. This developing branch international transport enables far-reaching personalization of the service - which makes it more and more popular among customers.