Multimodal transport refers to a combination of at least two means of transport. This results in an integrated transport chain where the strength of each alternative is utilized. Main characteristics of multimodal transportation are transshipment terminals that allow efficient cargo handling between short-distance and long-distance traffic as well as application of standardized and reusable loading units. However, combined freight transport can be organized in different ways. In general, trucks cover short distances between the loading area and the transshipment point respectively between the place of arrival and the recipient. Long-distance haulage is conducted by other means of transport such as train, ship or even plane.
In a Multimodal Shipment, the shipper has one contract of carriage, which covers all modes of transport from origin to destination, whether that is a door-to-port, port-to-door or door-to-door. This equates to one carrier for a one journey. This contract of carriage is with 1 carrier, whether that is a steamship line or international freight forwarder/NVOCC. The steamship line/ocean carrier or international freight forwarder/NVOCC issues a Combined Transport Bill of Landing.