Digital Edition

February 3 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 95 First-Quarter Intermodal Market Report Special Report 30 The Journal of Commerce | Februar y 3 2020 Intermodal suffers as shipping market share shis to the US East Coast, because shorter East Coast hauls are less competitive with trucking. Brian Karczewski / US INTERMODAL VOLUME is expected to rise in 2020 off a retreat in demand last year, but shifts in the domestic economy, trucking market, and international ocean shipping patterns will make it more difficult for railroads to secure new business. Trucking capacity in the United States remains abundant, and rates are competitive with intermodal, providing shippers little motivation to use the rails. Industrial weakness could keep this dynamic in place through much of 2020. Mean- while, the gradual shift in import market share from the West Coast to East Coast poses a problem for intermodal because, although ports have invested in rail connections, truck rates are very competitive for shorter hauls. There has been very little hope for intermodal coming out of its weak 2019. North American volume ended the year down 4.5 percent compared with 2018 in the worst year for intermodal since 2016, according to data from the Associa- tion of American Railroads (AAR). Intermodal train speeds were 3.3 percent faster than in 2018, indicating a marginal improvement in service, but were 1 percent slower than in 2017. However, logistics providers note that statistic doesn't capture the delays to load and unload containers, which can be frustrating for cargo owners. Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at commer- cial transportation research and intelligence firm FTR, said it's not Stiff competition Outlook for intermodal largely uninspiring aer poor 2019 By Ari Ashe

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - February 3 2020