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For an intermodal trip taken by a truck driver, they will start their run by heading to the rail yard to pick up a container.

Between the first and last mile of a trip, intermodal containers are traveling hundreds to thousands of miles by rail. Because of this, carriers will typically go to a rail yard to outgate the container, which is the common industry term for leaving the rail yard with a container.

For a delivery trip on the DrayNow app, the carrier will be heading to the equipment location to pick up a loaded container. After outgating that container, the next step would be heading to the warehouse to get the container unloaded.

For a pickup trip, the carrier starts out by picking up an empty container at the equipment location. After outgating, the container needs to be loaded at the next destination.

Since a trip to the rail is almost guaranteed for any intermodal load, carriers will need to be registered with the rail attached to the trip. Registration is done at the gate on arrival, and there are also apps out there that can assist carriers in locating the container at the rail.

Carriers need to make sure that they’re heading to their container location well before the appointment time for the trip. The appointment time is for the shipper/consignee, so carriers arrive at the rail yard earlier to pick up the container. Getting there early also ensures that there is a time cushion in case any problem arises at the rail, like a missing container or damaged chassis.

Before leaving with the container, carriers should make sure to inspect the container and the chassis, which holds the container. This is to ensure there is no damage to either that could lead to problems on the road or at the next destination.

When all of the other steps of an intermodal trip are completed, the truck driver will usually end up needing to go back to the rail yard, this time to ingate the container.

Picking up the container from the rail yard is the most important part of the trip. Knowing where to go and what to look out for will help every carrier have a successful intermodal experience.

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