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5 best intermodal trucking companies

Intermodal trucking integrates shipping, railroads and trucks to offer shippers a seamless freight transportation solution. This article profiles the top trucking companies specializing in intermodal shipping. They provide reliable scheduling, competitive rates, and exceptional support services for shippers and drivers alike.

Quicklook: Best intermodal trucking companies

  • Best for company culture: GP Transco
  • Best for long-haul reefer needs: Holland Enterprise
  • Best for oversized hauls: Cummings Transport
  • Best for container drayage: Gulf Winds International
  • Best for intermodal trucking: Schneider National 

Best intermodal trucking companies

Though we won’t get into all of the details regarding trains, planes, and automobiles, that is the core of what an intermodal shipping company revolves around. Below we’ll list some of the best intermodal trucking companies in the U.S.

GP Transco

GP Transco logo

Named the Chicago Tribune’s Top Workplaces 2021, GP Transco is a 16-year-old trucking and logistics company that puts its workers and customers first. This young intermodal trucking company has appeared in the Inc 500, Crain’s Fast 50, and more.

Best for: Company culture 

Headquarters: Joliet, Illinois


  • Brokerage service
  • Warehousing and distribution
  • Expedited services
  • 24/7 dispatch


  • Nearly an $80,000 base pay with full benefits
  • Drivers are not tax-liable
  • All trucks are from 2019 or forward
  • Fully modern approach to the trucking industry
  • Third highest paying carrier in the nation

Disadvantages: GP Transco is still young and figuring out its footing in the industry

Holland Enterprise

Holland Entreprises Inc

A family-owned intermodal trucking company specializing in refrigerated freight, Holland Enterprises is based in Fargo, North Dakota. Because their specialty is long-haul refrigerated freight, they make it known that all of their equipment is under three years old, which in the world of reefer trucks is somewhat key due to their need for maintenance and food and safety protocols.

Best for: Long-haul reefer needs

Headquarters: Fargo, North Dakota


  • Long haul reefer
  • JIT delivery
  • Sells cabs and reefer trucks after three years

Employees: A fleet of 350 trucks with 230 employees


  • Load tracking on website or phone support with the use of Omnitracs
  • Used to coast-to-coast loads
  • Average haul length at 1,600 miles
  • Just-in-time delivery 
  • All equipment is well-maintained and younger than three years old
  • Drivers are paid for layover and detention


  • Little to no work-life balance
  • Orientation for the company seems to be unpaid
  • 41 crashes in the last two years

Cummings Transport 

Cummings Transport 

Mixing their love of the past and the present, Cummings Transport is a company that loves the oversize hauls of large freight. Specializing in coordinating logistics solutions, this company has over 100 years of joint experience, and they’re ready for any commodity shipping loads.

Best for: Oversized hauls

Headquarters: Bakersfield, California


  • Hazmat
  • Foodstuffs
  • Farm equipment


  • Benefits program for small to medium-size businesses 
  • Save 15% to 25% on LTL shipping costs
  • Partnered with major carriers supporting all territories
  • Perfectly positioned and prepared for all oversize hauls
  • Ready for heavy hauls
  • Extended beds available


  • Only works in flatbed hauls
  • Only available in the contiguous US
Gulf Winds

Gulf Winds International

Founded in 1996, Gulf Winds International is a 3PL provider specializing in drayage, transloading, and fully domestic freight services. Gulf Winds International keeps its Christian faith clear in its value statement, bringing a more family-friendly face to the intermodal trucking industry.

Best for: Container drayage

Headquarters: Deer Park, Texas


  • Container drayage
  • Transloading
  • Truckload
  • Warehousing
  • Domestic transportation


  • Trackable shipments with gwiTrack
  • Drivers and owner-operators and show live updates with gwiMove
  • Instant access to pertinent documents like the bill of ladings


  • Heavily rooted in religion 
  • May not be some clients’ first option

Schneider National


A 3PL solution with over $3 billion in managed assets yearly, Schneider National is a full-service company for businesses, shippers, and carriers alike. With nearly 6,500 drivers who’ve never been in any incidents, Schneider keeps your goods in great hands. With a network of over 50,000 carriers, there is nothing that Schneider National can’t handle.

Best for: Intermodal trucking 

Headquarters: Green Bay, Wisconsin


  • Though no current union for the company at large, there is a union for carriers, making sure their rights are protected and fair labor practices are adhered to
  • The safest of any of the companies in this list, and one of the safest in the world.
  • 190+ locations worldwide

Disadvantages: If you’re looking for the personal homegrown touch of a smaller company, Schneider National is not for you.

What is intermodal trucking?

Intermodal shipping refers to the transportation of freight using multiple modes of transportation. It usually involves shipping containers that can easily be transferred between ships, trains, and trucks. 

Some key things to know about intermodal shipping:

  • It typically involves standardized steel shipping containers that can be easily transferred between different modes of transport without having to unload and reload the cargo.
  • Common modes used are ship, rail, and truck. The containers are transferred between ships, trains and trucks during their journey from origin to destination.
  • It combines the long-haul capability of ships with the flexibility of trucks for shorter distances and access to inland locations. Rail also offers intermediate distances and cost savings over trucking alone.
  • Intermodal provides shippers faster transit times and lower freight costs compared to single mode shipments. The containers don’t have to be unloaded and reloaded when changing transport methods.
  • Specialized equipment like cranes, container ships and trains, container yards, and lifting equipment allows intermodal containers to be transferred efficiently between transport modes.
  • Integrated scheduling, tracking and communication between the modes enables seamless transfers and coordination. Logistics companies often provide end-to-end coordination.

Essentially, intermodal shipping leverages the strengths of different transport modes for an efficient door-to-door shipping solution using standardized containers. It is popular for international freight movements involving ocean and inland transportation.

What to consider with intermodal trucking

When choosing an intermodal shipping company, you should make sure its fleet or carriers have the type of trucks you need, and services the territories you support. Secondarily, you should make sure your intermodal trucking company has relationships with other types of transportation systems. 

In most cases, drayage or intermodal trucking happens when a shipper finds that something is more cost-effective with one mode of transportation when shipping, yet a trucker still needs to get it to or from said mode of transportation.


All intermodal trucking is OTR, and the goal is to get a shipment to its next transportation destination. OTR shipping is notoriously long, and in intermodal trucking, an OTR shipment could end up being JIT, or extremely time-sensitive.

Time on the road

Most intermodal shipments happen on a local route, which means short OTR runs between the rail or shipyards and warehouses. Because of these shorter hauls, intermodal truckers can make it home in time for dinner.

Damage in transit

Because of the nature of shipping with rail, boat, or air, packages are generally handled with as much care as you’d find at an airport, but when shipping on pallets, all of this is handled by the freight teams. Once freight is in the containers, no one handles it again until it’s being unloaded, so intermodal shipping is considered the safest mode of transportation.

Consider your intermodal freight options

Intermodal trucking is a great way for shippers to get the best bang for their buck and operators to not put too much wear and tear on their rigs. If you prefer shorter routes, and to eat at home, looking into intermodal trucking companies is a great idea for new or old truckers.


What is intermodal trucking?

Intermodal trucking is the drayage part of intermodal shipping, which is the shipment of freight by two or more modes of transportation.

What transportations modes are used with intermodal shipping?

Intermodal shipping uses road, rail, air, and sea.

Is intermodal shipping expensive?

Intermodal shipping is used to either cut costs, or because of necessity, so the costs vary.

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