Social media

International Forwarding Association Blog » Intermodal transport in Europe » Benefits of using combined transport for freight forwarding in Europe

Benefits of using combined transport for freight forwarding in Europe

Multimodal transport combines the advantages of the various transport types

The infrastructural development in the European countries is a continuous ongoing process. It includes possibilities of using road, rail, inland waterways, sea and air transport.

The European network of transport services takes advantage of each type of transport.

Road transport can reach to every destination which has a road infrastructure.  The water transport is the cheapest type of all. The air transport is fastest.

The combined transport services used for international freight forwarding combine the advantages of the different types of transport, by combining road and air transport or road and water transport, for example.  Depending on the route, a certain type of transport is suitable for parts of it, and another type of transport is a more appropriate choice for the remaining distance.


What multimodal transport is


Freight forwarders can offer multimodal transport within Europe, in which one of the transportation means is passive and is used to transport the one carrying the cargo or the goods, which is called the active one. More than two types of transport can be combined.


Factors which contribute to the increase in the share of multimodal transport in Europe


The freight forwarding service methods offered by the member companies of the European network for logistics services are constantly being improved. Furthermore, the processing of the information related to the transport offered by the freight forwarders is also improving.

The information can be obtained in real time because of the modern tracking systems used from the groupage services and for the other logistics solutions.


Advantages of the combined transport offered by the forwarders throughout Europe


As we already pointed out, the combined freight forwarding services is based on the advantages offered by the different kinds of transport used. This leads to a number of advantages both for the freight forwarders Europe and for the customers.

First, the best cost efficiency is achieved by combining the transport modes in line with the specific characteristics of the route.

The combined freight forwarding services reduce the length of the route which results in decreased environmental pollution.

Combining the different transport types for the freight forwarding services allows for the cooperation between the member companies of the Freight forwarders network. This allows for the customers to receive optimal delivery terms and prices for the delivery, which can be achieved by the cooperation between the member companies of IFA.


Types of combined logistics services

Depending on the types of transport used, the logistics solutions and the combinations of two or three transport modes, the combined freight forwarding services there are different kinds of combined transport.

The combined freight forwarding services can be two types depending on the transport documents accompanying the consignment. The cargo can travel with different transport documents for each transport mode used, or with a general transport document for a combined freight forwarding service.


The multimodal transport modes used enable the standardisation of the member companies of European logistics.

The member companies of the European logistics network can use standardised solutions at a full extent when combining transport solutions. This is easy due to the cooperation between the partners in the network.  Standardisation includes: standardised vehicle and transportation means, loading and unloading equipment, and standardised cargo units.