Roadibility ''Home Run''

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Regarding your Feb. 2 editorial, "Roadable, Reliable," your observation that "The transfer of freight should not be accompanied by the off-loading of accountability" is a flat out home run.

It sharply and concisely addresses the issue. The name of the game in intermodal always has been "cost avoidance" as a means to enhance the goal of achieving profitability. I have experienced the "gotcha" approach to shifting equipment repair costs that the railroads and steamship lines play with motor carriers whose drivers, perhaps less conscientious and thorough in their walk-arounds when picking up equipment at rail and port terminals than they should be, often miss even obvious defects.

One question I always like to ask rail or steamship line executives is: How comfortable would you feel with your spouse and children doing 60 miles per hour on a highway between a rail-owned piggyback trailer and a marine container on a steamship line''s chassis?

It is regrettable that in the 15 years since I first became associated with freight intermodalism, the industry continues to lack the imagination, will and courage to resolve this public safety issue. Government involvement seldom, if ever, is a panacea.

John A. McQuaid

Industrial Packaging Alliance

of North America

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