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July 3, 2023

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46 Journal of Commerce | July 3, 2023 Beyond the Docks: From Inland Ports to Transloading Special Report staffing has remained unchanged." Intermodal providers have cracked down on the issue of box detention as container turns have fallen consid- erably. In 2019, an average container handled at 2 to 2.5 revenue moves per month. In the first quarter of this year, the average container handled only 1.5 moves per month, a record low, according to an analysis of data from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and PIERS, a sister product of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global. As a result, IMCs must purchase more containers to handle the same number of loads, raising their costs. IMCs believe detention penalties incentivize shippers to speed up the loading and unloading of cargo, increasing the number of loads a container handles per month. Paul Svindland, CEO of STG Logistics, said the high percentage of shippers admitting to incurring detention is consistent with what his company witnessed in the first quarter. STG Logistics owns nearly 15,000 containers after it acquired the former XPO Logistics inter- modal division. Still, Svindland said fewer ship- pers are incurring detention as the year has progressed. "If you're talking about the first quarter, yeah, in January, February we had some of that for sure," he told the Journal of Commerce. "We had some of that non-transportation revenue, accessorial fees in the first quarter, but I would say by April, it had basically gone away." Svindland said shippers who con- tinue to detain containers should talk to their domestic intermodal partners about leasing a pool of containers. Just as truckload carriers such as Knight- Swift Transportation lease trailer pools to shippers, Svindland said ship- pers might be able to procure contain- ers for a small daily fee in 2023. "If a shipper needs a container pool, now is the time to ask for it because probably 15% of [domestic] containers are idling, so if you're a big IMC, why wouldn't you do it?" he said. "You're stacking boxes any- way, wouldn't you rather have them at a customer location?" JOC email: twitter: @arijashe centers are still at capacity. "We've emptied out our ocean containers, but now the problem is we're not getting the domestic inter- modal boxes unloaded fast enough and incurring detention on inter- modal equipment," the shipper told the Journal of Commerce. "I don't see it going away as our model projects over the next four weeks, we're still going to be sitting on close to 1,000 trailers or containers in the network, partially because of the inventory being so full." One shipper in the Intermodal Service Scorecard survey claimed that intermodal providers were "obsessed" with accessorial fees, citing how there were "depart- ments created specifically for these charges, yet customer service MANY DOMESTIC INTERMODAL ship- pers detained containers in the first four months of this year, incurring penalties that can range from $150 to $300 per day, as companies tried to clear out overstocked warehouses of excess inventory, according to the Journal of Commerce Intermodal Service Scorecard survey. As shippers scramble to shed unwanted inventory, many reported that they've held onto 53-foot domestic containers too long. In total, 82.6% of shipper respondents admitted to incurring detention fees this year more than once, according to the survey, conducted between March 1 and April 30 via SurveyMonkey. Among those with at least 100 shipments per week, 95% admitted to recurring detention penalties. The scorecard is based on a survey of 113 shippers and intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) in North America. One apparel shipper, who asked not to be identified, said his com- pany has slowed the unloading of boxes because its distribution Upwards of 80% of shipper respondents admitted to incurring detention fees more than once this year. Ari Ashe / Journal of Commerce Sitting in detention Shippers holding onto intermodal boxes longer amid warehouse reshuffling By Ari Ashe "If a shipper needs a container pool, now is the time to ask for it."

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