The journey of your freight usually doesn’t end at the port. That’s why you often need a combination of transport modes to get your cargo from A to B. Inland transportation — moving goods over land via truck, train, and barge — is a key partner to ocean shipping and an important element in efficient logistics. 

In this article we cover the different types of inland transportation and their advantages. First, let’s take a closer look at what inland transportation means.

What is inland transportation?

Inland transportation covers all transport activities that go between ocean ports and inland facilities such as a warehouse. It includes transport by road, rail, and inland waterways.

Combining two or more forms of transport is known as intermodal transport. Your cargo stays in the same shipping container throughout its journey — making it easy to transfer from one mode of transport to another.

What are the different modes of inland transportation?

There are three main modes of inland transport:

  • Road freight: This is when goods are moved via road in large vehicles or trucks. It’s ideal for delivering containers over short to long distances across various geographic areas. You can find out more in our article on road haulage.
  • Rail freight: Trains can accommodate your hauling needs at a higher capacity – and is perfect if you need to move your cargo fast.
  • Inland water transport: Inland water transport by barge can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution. Your freight can access areas that are not accessible by large vessels.

Note that inland transportation does not include air freight.

What are the key advantages of inland transportation?

There are many advantages to combining inland transportation along with ocean freight shipping in the one booking:

  • Single point of contact: With one partner from start to finish, you can forget about getting in touch with multiple suppliers and coordinating handovers.
  • Simplified billing process: When booking inland transportation with Maersk, you won’t get separate bills — everything will be included in one integrated invoice.
  • Door-to-door services: You can book your cargo from warehouse to warehouse and ensure flexible and transparent end-to-end logistics. And of course, you’ll be able to track your inland transport logistics all the way.
  • Save time: You can easily add inland transportation during the ocean freight booking process or at a later stage. Our team will find the best route and mode of transportation for your cargo, getting your goods to their final destination with fewer handovers.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the benefits of intermodal transportation, check out our article on six reasons to choose ocean and inland integrated transportation.

How do I book inland transportation?

Inland transportation can be booked in combination with ocean transport. Once you register for an account with Maersk and start a new booking, you can choose whether your origin and destination locations are at the port terminal or an inland facility. If you choose the latter, Maersk will handle your inland transportation and pick up/deliver your cargo at your chosen location. It’s that easy!