Buyers operating in this global market require their goods at the right
place, at the right time and at the right price. Multimodal transport,
which provides the opportunity to manage the transport chain more effectively
through the integration of all modes of transport under a single transport
document, is helping countries respond to this growing demand for just-in-time
The term "multimodal transport" is often used loosely and
interchangeably with the term "intermodal transport". Both
refer to the transport of goods through several modes of transport from
origin to destination. The term multimodal transport, however, is appropriately
used when the operator who organizes the international transport takes
responsibility for the entire transportation process, covering all modes
On the international scene, the search to reduce costs and improve
customer service has resulted in the integration of not only the transport
chain, but all activities in the supply chain, including transport.
Aided by the revolution in information technology, multimodal transport
operators in North America, Europe and a few countries in the ESCAP
region have applied the principles of logistics to manage the flow of
products and information along the supply chain.
However, developing countries in the ESCAP region are still taking
steps towards removing the remaining hurdles to the development and
expansion of the multimodal transport industry and have yet to address
the logistics issues.
ESCAP initiatives to assist countries in this area include the following: