April 17, 2014

Shippers spurn all-truck for rail intermodal

Shippers are increasingly abandoning all-truck movements for their freight in favor of rail intermodal (trailers and containers atop rail flat cars), reports the Journal of Commerce.

Journal of Commerce trucking editor Bill Cassidy writes, “Supermarkets and shopping malls don’t have rail sidings, truckers love to point out, but the intermodal industry is moving steadily closer to the store floor.”

Increased investments in improved port transfers and the growing fleet of 53-foot long domestic containers are creating what shippers call more “seamless” transportation — hence the move to intermodal, says the Journal of Commerce.

The Association of American Railroads reported last week that through the first 46 weeks of 2010, total intermodal loads are up 14.8 percent over a similar period in 2009. 

The Association of American Railroads reports that through the first 46 weeks of 2010, total intermodal loads (trailers and containers atop rail flat cars) are up 14.8 percent over a similar period in 2009.

Intermodal loads on Class I railroads doubled from some 6 million in 1990 to more than 12 million in 2007. Although the economic downturn saw intermodal loads retreat to fewer than 10 million in 2009, they have resumed their upward climb, according to AAR statistics.