The Intermodal Transport System in Nigeria has remained a seismic means for the transportation of freights. As the name suggests, it is a process involving the movement of weighty and voluminous goods using more than one transport means such as truck, rail, airline, ship from the shipper to the consignee. It is a chain process that begins with a truck being loaded with goods, moved to a rail, to the port, and back to the truck in order to complete the process. There are four key defining functions of the intermodal transport chain namely;
1) Composition: This involves the process of assembling goods at a terminal that offers an intermodal interface between a local and a national/international distribution system. Packaging and warehousing are also integral parts of the composition process.
2) Connection: This is a process involving a consolidated modal flow. A typical example is a freight train, container ship or fleets of trucks between two or more terminals that occur over national or international freight distribution systems.
3) Interchange: This is the point at which major intermodal functions occur, as they provide productive continuity within a transport chain.
4) Decomposition: Freight that has reached a terminal close to its destination must be separated and transferred to the local or regional freight distribution system.
With the Intermodal Transport System in Nigeria, there’s a high level of guarantee that your goods will not be manipulated by third parties and there’s also greater safety. The key elements of an intermodal transport system are; infrastructure, new technology, transport operators, the external business environment, regional location, management of containers, operations of container terminals, deregulation, availability of logistics services, and security. Nigeria, although the most populous and heterogeneous country in Africa is sadly operating a uni-modal transport system as 90-percent off freights are transported by road. Therefore, there is a need to fully harness the intermodal transport system as this will greatly improve freight transportation in the country, as well as reduce traffic congestion, thereby ensuring safe movement of goods from shippers to consignees.