Intermodal Transportation Prepares for a Surge


Intermodal transportation prepares for a surge in freight volume due to the driver shortage, increased demand, heightened government regulations, environmental issues and the damaged highway infrastructure.

Intermodal and rail, once considered slow and undependable, are now defined by proficiency, economy and sustainability. Rail has regained transportation market share because it has the capacity, safety and rates that shippers are searching for. Through intermodal transportation, shippers realize the benefits of combining transportation modes for custom freight solutions. (Check out this to learn more: Shippers Turn to Intermodal for Savings).

Intermodal transportation is one solution to rising over-the-road (OTR) rates. Intermodal transportation enables shippers to take advantage of lower rates, a standardized transit schedule, flexibility with loading and unloading, and reduced handling costs. The cost savings intermodal transport provides shippers outweighs the speed of traditional OTR transport.

In 2011, intermodal container volume set a record with 12.4 million moves, surpassing 2007’s record year by nearly 4%. “Rail will be even more important to the national supply chain and rates will keep pace with inflation through 2016,” said Tony Hatch, ABH Consulting.

Cost and capacity are critical components to transportation management, so shippers are willing to trade lead time in order to gain space and price. Supply chains are better at accurately forecasting and responding to demand, which allows companies to arrange longer transportation moves.

Intermodal is an opportunity for shippers to leverage the efficiency of rail transport. Rail cars have been redesigned to handle bigger loads and specialized cargo. Companies who chose to apply intermodal transport to their transportation strategy will find improved efficiency, cost reduction and reduced environmental impact.

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