Every mode of transport has its strengths and weakness in absolute as well as relative terms. These strengths and limitations put challenges and opportunities before surviving and growing in a competitive environment. Furthermore, challenges before the transportation industry have further been intricate in the last two decades, mainly due to growing awareness about the alluring contribution of logistics and supply chain management for sustainable growth of the corporate enterprises. That is why after realizing their limited strengths and emerging challenges, various modes of transport have started cooperating to pool their recourses and facilities to have a win-win in the situation to all while meeting the service expectation of their customers. The beginning of the state of the art transport technology has given the impetus to the concept of multi-modal transportation, emphasizing the coordination of two or more modes to transport. The multimodal transport system has been defined as the carriage of goods by at least two different modes of transport based on a multi-modal transport contract from one country to another country. Multimodal describes a shipment that takes several different means of transportation – road, rail, ocean, air, – from its point of departure to its point of destination. In Multimodal transport system, one transport document, and one rate and through liability are used. Multimodal transport, an old concept is a term used to describe the linking of transport responsibilities, documentation and liability in the movement of goods (by land, sea, and air) using the existing infrastructure. This linking results in improved transport efficiency and provides the user with a single point of responsibility and greater cost transparency The ultimate aim of multi- modalism is to enable faster movement of goods from the seller to buy more efficient through faster transit at reduced costs. Multimodal transport brings benefits by enabling exports to be placed in the market places of the world at a reduced cost and so be more competitive. Likewise, costs associated with imports will be reduced thus leading to reduced foreign exchange outflow and cheaper imported goods, Multi-modalism is all about:
Coordination of the different modes of transport
Coordination of documentation
Coordination of the commercial and physical aspects of the commercial transaction between the buyer and the seller.
Thus multi-modal/ intermodal transportation is the use of more than one mode of transport for the movement of shipment from the origin to its destination. Intermodal systems are joint, point to point through transportation services involving two or more modes regularly. In this system, intermodal operators use multiple modes of transport to take advantage of the inherent economies of each and thus provide integrated service at the lowest total cost.