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.





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

09 Nov 2022
The aggressive moves by intermodal providers to keep business with lower pricing come after North American domestic intermodal demand fell 10 percent between March and September.
08 Nov 2022
US transportation companies with cash on hand are acquiring asset-based truckers and non-asset freight brokers alike to add services and shipper customers and build network density.
31 Oct 2022
A refusal by some truck drivers to call at congested rail ramps in Toronto and Montreal has caused the clogs to extend back to Vancouver, where rail container dwells are on the rise again after improving in September.
31 Oct 2022
The JOC Intermodal Savings Index shows intermodal contracts saved shippers a lot of money in the third quarter, but spot rail rates saved very little, especially on short hauls in the eastern US.
28 Oct 2022
Hub Group and Schneider National sidestepped questions about intermodal contracts for 2023, a far different approach than the two companies took a year ago when the pricing power was on their side.
26 Oct 2022
While US intermodal shippers are pleased service has improved, some don’t need the service reliability they sought earlier in the year because of elevated inventories and fears of an economic recession.
26 Aug 2022
The US Surface Transportation Board has given CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Port of Mobile more time to reach an agreement with Amtrak over the restart of a Gulf Coast passenger service.
05 Aug 2022
The Port of New York and New Jersey saw a decline in rail volumes in the first half of 2022 as intermittent container embargoes at railroads and low trucking rates pushed shippers off the rails.
04 Aug 2022
Intermodal discounts declined in the second quarter both sequentially and year over year as shippers were able to negotiate lower spot and contract truckload rates with motor carriers.
18 Jul 2022
Retailers are beginning to pare back bloated inventories, but manufacturers are adding stock as they search for the elusive ‘golden screw.’
15 Jul 2022
Union Pacific is temporarily shifting some domestic intermodal traffic from Lathrop to Oakland, a move that may present opportunities for BNSF and the truckload sector to capture market share on routes to the Gulf Coast and Southeast.
13 Jul 2022
The new White House port envoy says because private sector transportation providers and cargo interests operate independently, the US supply chain is fragmented and a bottleneck that surfaces in one sector spreads quickly to others.
22 Jun 2022
Despite softening spot rates in some modes, overall supply chain costs are rising, with higher interest rates putting more pressure on inventories, according to the CSCMP State of Logistics report.
25 May 2022
Domestic containers have been idling in a Norfolk Southern terminal in eastern Pennsylvania because of a chassis shortage, but the railroad said it is delivering new equipment to the region and repositioning chassis from other markets to deal with the disruption.
17 May 2022
Amid supply chain gridlock throughout the US, the Port of Houston has signed an agreement to investigate the potential use of an electric rail shuttle system for inland container movement.
19 Apr 2022
J.B. Hunt Transport Services said there is more intermodal demand than available capacity, and it downplayed the likelihood of an imminent freight recession.
01 Apr 2022
US Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel said China’s dominance in container and chassis manufacturing is the direct result of the Communist government’s support for the sector.
14 Mar 2022
The sudden increase in fuel-related shipping costs caused by the war in Ukraine is already changing how shippers plan to move goods within the US, forcing them to consolidate shipments and even change modes.
11 Mar 2022
Trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) volumes have been fading away for years and may be nearing the end game as a “tidal wave” of new private 53-foot containers enters the US domestic intermodal system, according to JOC analyst Lawrence Gross.
02 Mar 2022
As container lines pull back on inland point intermodal (IPI), US importers are rethinking their landside delivery plans and containerized freight is moving further inland before being deconsolidated.
04 Feb 2022
Intermodal contracts saved shippers more money than ever in Q4, but they saved much less money on the spot market due to surcharges in California.
06 Jan 2022
While most shippers are concerned about whether there will be enough chassis and fluidity in railroad terminals in 2022, they are also bracing for a steep increase in contract rates.
05 Jan 2022
Increases in spot truckload rates to Chicago from eastern US ports are outpacing rate hikes off the West Coast, as the spot market enters 2022 at record price levels amid “extraordinary” demand.
28 Dec 2021
Domestic intermodal shippers who want to use BNSF Railway to send cargo in 53-foot containers will have one fewer service option come Jan. 1, has learned.
27 Dec 2021
The Port of Long Beach’s project to move over one-third of its container volumes to rail received a boost from the US Department of Transportation through a $52 million grant.
14 Dec 2021
The diversion of freight from intermodal rail to truck adds miles to import shipments, significantly increasing costs, the Cass Freight Index finds.
02 Nov 2021
While contract intermodal customers are realizing huge savings using rail this year, spot intermodal rates are not the bargain they were earlier in 2021.
01 Nov 2021
Norfolk Southern will cut the free time for importers to pick up ocean containers at more than two dozen smaller-market terminals, while also raising storage fees.
26 Oct 2021
UP is grading domestic intermodal customers on dwelling of equipment, street turns of containers, and use of appointments using a four-tier monthly report card.
20 Oct 2021
Supply chain disruption is slowing economic growth, but “postponed” demand is expected to reemerge in 2022, keeping US freight capacity tight and transportation pricing high.
15 Oct 2021
A flood of imports into the Pacific Northwest is boosting spot truckload rates out of Seattle as shippers facing delays and intermodal container shortages seek new routes for freight moving inland.
12 Oct 2021
Union Pacific Railroad will test semi-automated cranes at its Global IV terminal in Chicago next year, hoping the new equipment will improve fluidity through there.
11 Oct 2021
Tiger Cool Express is pursuing the purchase of a shuttered Union Pacific refrigerated warehouse to help develop a new cold chain intermodal hub in the Pacific Northwest.
27 Sep 2021
Union Pacific Railroad is limiting how many domestic containers it will take out of Chicago, Kansas City, and Memphis to the West Coast to address terminal congestion in its intermodal network.
22 Sep 2021
Chassis providers warn that only the easing of import volumes, and the resulting reversal of rising dwell times, will relieve tightness in equipment supply as production capacity is maxed out.