Intermodal Shipping

Intermodal Shipping

News, data and analysis of the various factors that are driving the continued expansion of intermodal shipping activity around the globe.

Steady growth in the number of road freight carriers is leading to greater traffic congestion and costly delays in the delivery of goods to end-users in business and consumer markets. Governments and regulatory bodies are introducing costly, stringent regulations to reduce vehicle emissions. Intermodal infrastructures are improving, along with other advances in technology for managing complex supply chains that operate across various modes of transportation.

All of those factors are compelling many companies to use an intermodal combination of sea, road and railways to transport their goods on longer routes, rather than depend on a single mode of transportation. The cost-reduction benefits are significant for shippers, buyers, freight forwarders and other stakeholders in the supply chain.

 

 

 

Commentary

What does the term “Industry 4.0” mean for logistics and supply chains? Logistics 4.0 has recently emerged as a move to smart transportation and logistics, enhanced sales and operations planning, and dynamic logistics network configuration.

News & Analysis

13 Feb 2020
Non-asset intermodal providers want railroads to be more lenient on container charges and late fees when bidding for shipper business in order to become more competitive with the likes of J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
11 Feb 2020
Railroads are more conciliatory in negotiating contract rates than a year ago, hungry to recapture freight lost to trucking. One logistics executive called the railroads’ stance “a complete 180 from last year.”
06 Feb 2020
There are no positives to be found in the Intermodal Association of North America’s latest market report, which shows year-over-year volume fell 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 4.1 percent for the full year, with declines in all types of containers.
05 Feb 2020
Amid weak intermodal volumes in 2019, the JOC Domestic Intermodal Savings Index shows spot and contract savings are lower than historical averages, although the year closed stronger for shipper savings on the spot market.
29 Jan 2020
Railroads and intermodal providers say there will be more volume in 2020 than last year, although shipper demand will not fully recover until the second half of this year.
UP to resume service on nearly 60 lanes it cut in 2018
28 Jan 2020
Union Pacific Railroad will resume service on nearly 60 previously eliminated lanes beginning Feb. 1, a move it linked to its precision scheduled railroading operation, but others said was designed to win back lost market share.
27 Jan 2020
Despite stiff truck competition, East Coast ports have taken aggressive steps to capture more intermodal cargo and spend significant capital to build out rail infrastructure.
21 Jan 2020
The migration of North American import cargo from west to east has been accelerating, a trend that could have negative implications for Inland Point Intermodal (IPI).
17 Jan 2020
Dedicated contract carriage, final-mile service, and a digital marketplace helped carry J.B. Hunt through a tough fourth-quarter intermodal and trucking market.
10 Jan 2020
The intermodal picture at the start of 2020 is lackluster because the trucking market isn’t on the verge of a major rebound unless there is an economic catalyst.
07 Jan 2020
The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement may speed the processing of goods at US borders, but won’t necessarily speed transportation at the congested Mexican border, experts warn. That will require further investment in infrastructure and technology.
02 Jan 2020
Union Pacific Railroad has been suffering technical issues with its gates at Chicago’s Global 4 terminal, causing major congestion and delays in cargo deliveries.
02 Jan 2020
After an unprecedented volume decline in 2019, continued excess trucking capacity, further transitioning to precisions scheduled railroading, and slowing economic growth portends another difficult year for the US intermodal market.
31 Dec 2019
US intermodal, particularly domestic volume, has a tough road ahead given low spot truckload rates that will continue to push freight to the highway, but the sector could see some improvement in the second half.
06 Dec 2019
IHS Markit points to a “modest upturn” in the US economy, with consumer demand keeping freight in motion.
26 Nov 2019
Barring a major turnaround in December, BNSF Railway and CSX Transportation will record their lowest annual intermodal volumes this year since 2016, and two other Class I railroads could possibly join that list.
20 Nov 2019
Asset-monitoring technology will help Canadian Pacific and intermodal shippers to locate and better utilize the railroad’s chassis pool.
15 Nov 2019
The divide sharpens between those who see looming recession in freight numbers and those who see sustained, albeit slower, US growth.
11 Nov 2019
In the heart of what is supposed to be peak season, rail container traffic is not only much slower than a year ago, but also behind 2017 levels as well — and truck seems sluggish, too.
07 Nov 2019
Unless the Los Angeles-Long Beach ports attract more cargo, they could wind up stuck with a hefty bill for the intermodal corridor’s bond debt, a report says.
05 Nov 2019
As spot intermodal rates begin to save shippers more money than earlier in 2019, shippers are seeing reduced savings on contract business.
31 Oct 2019
Top intermodal providers had few positives in describing the current state of the market with little to no seasonal uptick in container volumes on rail.
16 Oct 2019
J.B. Hunt Transport Services said its intermodal volume was flat in the third quarter, a positive given the 4.5 percent decline in total intermodal volume across the industry.
10 Oct 2019
Two refrigerated intermodal carriers, Marten Transport and KLLM Transport, have acquired 53-foot containers as US Class I railroads have been disincentivizing intermodal trailer use.
08 Oct 2019
Despite weak intermodal volume in the third quarter, there is a glimmer of hope for rail shippers as a sequential bump in truckload spot rates have provided additional cost savings.
03 Oct 2019
Intermodal volumes did not recover in the third quarter, prompting questions of what railroads can do to win back shippers, other than waiting for a recovery in trucking.
30 Sep 2019
YRC Freight is building its own fleet of domestic containers — to reach 600 by year’s end — for use on BNSF Railway lines connecting West Coast ports with the US heartland.
Growth forecast for ocean, intermodal sectors
19 Sep 2019
Freight volumes and rates in the US ocean, intermodal rail, and trucking sectors will see flat to low-single-digit percentage growth in the fourth quarter and into 2020 as retailers burn off inventories, according to speakers at IANA’s annual conference.
18 Sep 2019
A conflict of interests among supply chain stakeholders involving how best to manage chassis usage at ports and rail hubs continues to harm productivity, with no immediate solution on the horizon.
12 Sep 2019
Schneider National says it’s not worried about Amazon purchasing branded 53-foot containers because the intermodal provider believes only a small group of companies have the scale to insource.
11 Sep 2019
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index has gone negative for the first time since March 2017, a signal that in addition to spot rates, contract rates are starting to suffer as well; intermodal prices are also expected to go negative in October.
11 Sep 2019
The US intermodal industry is currently in the midst of a down cycle after volumes and rates surged in late 2017 and early 2018, but there are opportunities for railroads to accelerate the potential rebound if they are able to take advantage.
09 Sep 2019
The Journal of Commerce has learned Amazon has acquired 53-foot containers, signaling an intention to tender intermodal volume directly to Class I railroads without an intermediary and marketing itself as an end-to-end supply chain solution for small retailers.
04 Sep 2019
The partnership between Canadian National Railway and Cosco was instrumental in propelling Prince Rupert from a bulk port to a major Asian gateway for US and Canadian cargo owners and forwarders.
04 Sep 2019
Union Pacific Railroad has dropped its plan to levy fines against trucking companies for canceling or missing ingate reservations to enter intermodal ramps in California, Oregon, and Washington.