Combined Transport

Combined Transport – Simple Explanation and Examples

In the logistics and transportation industry, Combined Transport refers to the method of moving goods using a combination of different modes of transport, such as road, rail, sea, and air, within a single shipping journey. This approach is designed to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact while ensuring timely delivery. (aka Multimodal Transport)

What is Combined Transport?

Combined Transport, often called intermodal transport, involves the use of at least two different modes of transport to move freight from the point of origin to the final destination. The primary aim is to leverage the advantages of each mode of transport, such as the cost-effectiveness of rail, the flexibility of road transport, the vast capacity of sea freight, and the speed of air transport.

Example: A container shipped from China to Germany could travel by sea to a major European port, then continue its journey by rail to a central hub before being transported by truck to the final delivery location.

Key Features of Combined Transport

Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

Combined transport allows for the selection of the most suitable transportation mode for each segment of the journey. By doing so, it maximizes efficiency and helps in cutting down costs. For instance, sea and rail are generally more cost-effective for the long-haul portion of a shipment, while trucks offer greater flexibility for last-mile delivery.

Environmental Benefits

Utilizing rail and sea transport for the majority of the distance can significantly reduce the environmental footprint compared to relying solely on road transport. These modes are more fuel-efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions per ton-kilometer.


Combined transport provides greater flexibility in route planning and can help in avoiding bottlenecks such as congested ports or roadways. It also allows for optimized use of different infrastructure capabilities.

Examples of Combined Transport

1. Importing Electronics from China:

  • Sea Freight: The goods are transported from a Chinese port to the Port of Hamburg.
  • Rail: From Hamburg, the containers are loaded onto a train and transported to a central European distribution hub, say, in Germany.
  • Road: Finally, trucks are used to distribute the goods to various retailers across Germany or neighboring countries.

2. Exporting Agricultural Products from the USA:

  • Road: The products are collected from various farms and brought to a regional collection center.
  • Rail: From the collection center, they are transported by train to a major US port.
  • Sea: The goods are then shipped via sea to their destination in Europe.
  • Road/Rail: Finally, they are distributed to various markets by road or rail depending on the infrastructure available at the destination port.

Considerations for Combined Transport

Logistics Coordination

Combined transport requires careful planning and coordination among different carriers and logistics providers. The scheduling and transition between modes need to be seamless to avoid delays and additional costs.

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance can become more complex with combined transport since it involves multiple jurisdictions with their own regulations. Proper documentation and compliance with each country’s import/export regulations are vital.

Infrastructure and Handling

The effectiveness of combined transport greatly depends on the availability and condition of the supporting infrastructure, such as ports, railroads, and intermodal terminals. Additionally, handling equipment and facilities must be in place to easily transfer goods between different modes of transport.

Tracking and Visibility

To ensure efficient operations and manage risks, it’s essential to have systems in place that provide real-time tracking and visibility of the cargo across all modes of transport. This helps in proactive decision-making and timely troubleshooting in case of any disruptions.

Benefits of Combined Transport

Cost Savings

By choosing the most economical transport mode for different segments of the shipment, businesses can save significantly on shipping costs.

Reduced Transit Times

Combining different transport modes can also lead to reduced transit times, especially when connecting different geographic regions efficiently, like the Eurasian land bridge for Europe-Asia trade.

Enhanced Reliability

Using a mix of transport modes can also enhance reliability. For instance, if one mode is disrupted due to weather or other unforeseen conditions, the cargo can be rerouted through another mode, minimizing delays.

Improved Sustainability

Efficient combined transport strategies contribute to environmental sustainability by minimizing the carbon footprint compared to relying solely on road transport.


Combined Transport offers significant advantages in terms of cost savings, efficiency, flexibility, and environmental sustainability. However, it also requires careful planning, coordination, and consideration of various logistical and regulatory factors.

If you’re looking to optimize your shipping strategy and leverage the benefits of combined transport, eezyimport can help. Contact us today for expert assistance with your customs and logistics needs!


Combined Transport – FAQ


What are the main advantages of using combined transport?

  • Cost savings through the selection of the most economical transport modes for each segment.
  • Increased efficiency by leveraging the strengths of various transportation methods.
  • Environmental benefits due to reduced carbon footprints.
  • Enhanced flexibility and reliability in route planning and cargo handling.

How does combined transport impact customs clearance?

Combined transport can make customs clearance more complex as it may involve multiple jurisdictions, each with its own regulations. Proper documentation and compliance with the import/export rules of each country are crucial for a smooth customs clearance process.

What are some common examples of combined transport?

  • Importing Electronics from China: Utilizing sea freight to transport goods to a European port, rail to a central distribution hub, and road for final delivery.
  • Exporting Agricultural Products from the USA: Using road transport to a regional collection center, rail to a major port, sea freight to Europe, and road or rail for final distribution.
eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

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