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Intermodal Freight Networks

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The intermodal freight network is a system for transporting consolidated loads including swap-bodies, semi trailers, and containers. The mode combines at least two modes of transportation. This mode relies on the collaboration of the various transport modes including rail and road as it combines their specific strengths into an independent system. 

Modeling Intermodal Freight Networks

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Modeling of the freight network requires the development of cost and delays models for the network configuration. For effective operation, three basic models have been identified.

Pont to Point Network

The network serves the flow of cargo between two intermediate terminals. In this case, the origins could be independently linked to destinations, or loads could converge at two points where they are consolidated. This mode does not use intermediaries between the points. The mode relies on frequency to minimize costs.

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Trunk Line Collection/Distribution Network

This mainly consists of origin and destination terminals. In this case, the loads are moved between trunk terminals. When loads arrive at the local terminal, they may be shipped directly or placed in the stacking area of the terminal. This mmode relies greatly on the delivery rates and time intervals.

Hub and Spokes Network

The key feature of this network is the central node and the peripheral nodes. The central node is directly connected to peripherals and loads can enter or leave the network. When passing through the hub the load units can either remain on the same vessel for example a train or can be changed between shuttle trains.


The intermodal network is very economical because the economic sense of a transport chain is improved by using various modes in their most productive way.

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