Shipping international cargo isn’t always as simple as transporting from point A to point B. At times, there are other modes of transportation used when shipping international containers between locations. For example, if you were shipping a container from the Far East, let’s say from Qingdao, to a European port, let’s say Antwerp. The issue with shipping an ocean container from Qingdao to Antwerp is that North America is in the middle. So in this case, the container might be offloaded at a port on the West Coast, let’s say Long Beach, and then transported across the US via truck or rail to an East Coast port, let’s say New York, and then transported across the Ocean to the destination in Antwerp. This is referred to as a landbridge, although spelling it as land bridge is also acceptable.

In addition to the landbridge, there is also a microbridge involved sometimes. Let’s say you are shipping from Qindao to Chicago. The ocean freight container would be shipped to a West Coast port, Long Beach for example, and then transported via truck or rail to Chicago. That is why a microbridge is different than a landbridge. For shippers, it might be important to understand the difference between the two.

Intermodal containers are ideal if you container will be shipped across multiple forms of transportation like ocean, truck or rail. Different types of intermodal containers include collapsible ISO, refrigerated containers, tank containers, and insulated containers. If you are shipping across a landbridge, an intermodal container is probably being used.