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What is an intermodal truck driver? Ins and outs of the job

An intermodal driver standing in a railyard wearing a high-visibility safety vest, with semi-trucks and orange shipping containers in the background.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Are you looking for a truck driving job that allows you to put your family first and get home more often, without sacrificing pay in the process? Becoming an intermodal truck driver may be the right role for you.

Keep reading to learn more about what intermodal truck driving is and what makes it a great opportunity for drivers.

What is an intermodal truck driver?

The term "intermodal" refers to using two or more modes of transportation to move freight from one place to another, such as rail and truck. While trains take care of the long distances, intermodal drivers handle the first and final leg of delivering freight.

At Schneider, our intermodal drivers use company-owned chassis to drop off and pick up containers at various rail yards across the country.

How often do intermodal drivers get home?

Intermodal driving jobs are typically either local or regional configurations.

  • Local intermodal drivers usually stay within a few hundred miles of a certain city and get home every day. These drivers work in markets with major rail hubs, and some even stay within the same city.
  • Regional intermodal drivers deliver to and from customers and rail yards throughout a specific area of the country. They typically get home weekly or several times a week.

What are the benefits of becoming an intermodal driver?

Still wondering ‘is intermodal truck driving worth it?’ See if these benefits would make it a good fit for you:

Frequent home time

One of the most significant advantages of being an intermodal truck driver is the opportunity for more regular home time.

Drop-and-hook freight

Most intermodal freight is drop-and-hook. This means you’ll spend more time moving and less time waiting at loading docks.

Earning potential

As of May 2024, intermodal company drivers at Schneider currently earn between $1,490 - $1,820 a week. They have the potential, based on a number of factors, to earn up to $100,000 per year.

Unique equipment and work environment

Intermodal drivers work with specialized equipment (chassis) and travel to unique work environments (railyards).

Are there additional requirements needed to become an intermodal driver?

On top of the standard steps to become a truck driver, aspiring intermodal drivers should also consider the following:

Experience requirements: Many companies, like Schneider, require previous driving experience for intermodal positions. This could be as little as three months or up to a year, depending on the job.

Specialized training: At Schneider, for example, intermodal drivers receive specialized training at major rail hubs. This allows them to get used to the unique work environment and gain experience with Schneider’s intermodal equipment.

Additional endorsements: While not always a necessity, having a Tanker and HazMat endorsement can be useful. These qualifications allow drivers to haul a wider range of freight, which can lead to more intermodal opportunities.

Ready to become a Schneider intermodal truck driver?

If getting home more often and hauling drop-and-hook freight interests you, explore Schneider’s selection of intermodal driving jobs. 
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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