Notwithstanding the sluggish state of the intermodal industry, the Intermodal Association of North America is moving ahead full steam with its biennial intermodal conference.

Last year, the industry expanded a robust 14.1 percent, but it will grow at best between 3 percent and 4 percent this year, said John McQuaid, IANA president.The four-day conference, which started Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco, addresses truckload strategies, intermodal service and growth and intermodal's role in third-party logistics, among other issues. Some 650 attendees including railroad company officials, steamship line executives, U.S. stack train operators, intermodal marketing companies and shippers are attending. The organization also holds another event every year in March.

During this conference, all panel presentations will be extemporaneous, an approach that has been well-received in recent years, Mr. McQuaid said.

"In the main panels, we've gotten away from scripted presentations. We've turned them into dialogues in which there is an exchange of views among the presenters," he said. "People find that to be much more informative and


Speakers include executives from consulting firms, intermodal rail and trucking concerns, port officials, public transportation planners, retailers, warehousing companies, logistics companies and the media.

In addition to the main panels, the conference features several focus groups concerning equipment issues, terminal-handling equipment, changes in the employment market, freight transportation planning, chassis pool management, future freight business practices, logistics and infrastructure, industry success stories and advanced maritime technologies, among other issues.


CONFERENCE: Intermodal Association of North America Summer Intermodal Conference, sponsored by IANA.

PLACE: Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco.

DATE: Aug. 27-30.

ATTENDEES: Approximately 650 railroad company executives, steamship line operators, U.S. stack-train affiliates, intermodal marketing companies, long- haul truckers and shippers, among others.

TOP ISSUES: Meeting the challenges of service and growth, equipment utilization, truckload intermodal strategies, assessing the necessity and the role of intermodalism in third-party logistics.