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3 Key Trends Happening in Intermodal Transportation

May 16, 2017

At ContainerPort Group, Inc., we’re dedicated to keeping up with trends and developments within the intermodal transportation industry, and we look forward to opportunities to relay this information through posts on our blog.

With the industry past the first quarter of the year and well into the second, we feel it’s a good time to take a look at various intermodal transportation industry trends worth noting so our readers can discover what lies ahead.

ELDs Fuel Concerns About Capacity

In December 2017, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) will be mandatory for most motor carriers and truck drivers. Until the mandate takes effect, ELD usage is voluntary, and some carriers have experienced mixed results in productivity.

  • According to financial services provider ATBS, fleets have experienced a 10% to 20% drop in miles run after implementing ELDs.
  • ELDs, coupled with stringent Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, could leave drivers stranded with no ability to move the truck until their next 14-hour work window. Drivers who violate HOS rules could face stiff fines and/or termination.
  • The cost of ELDs, estimated at around $500 annually per truck, coupled with reduced productivity, could lead to even higher driver turnover as the cost of doing business increases, particularly for owner/operators.

Ongoing Rate Surge

According to Avondale Partners’ analysts, pricing for intermodal is expected to be more robust than the previous year, with this being largely due to the price of diesel fuel having recovered from its previous lows.

As Avondale stated, "The current level of demand and pricing will produce a positive year-over-year comparison for the next nine to ten months." In fact, intermodal rates recently saw the biggest gain in more than four years.

Some other key insights about the surge:

  • Rates increased for the sixth month in a row in March of 2017, with a 4.8% increase compared to March 2016, as stated by the Cass Intermodal Price Index.
  • According to the Cass index, this March growth was the second largest year-over-year increase since January of 2012.
  • Implementation of ELDs could eventually fuel a rate surge as high as 10% to 20%.

Tonnage Increase Projected

According to the American Trucking Association, intermodal tonnage is projected to increase by 5.5% per year into 2019, and 5.1% into 2025. For businesses within the intermodal transportation industry, this obviously presents great opportunities.

With this influx projected to be on the way, intermodal companies that can keep up with the demands of client shipments will be in demand, with clients surely favoring organizations with a nationwide network, like that of ContainerPort Group.

Our company facilitates client needs across many regions of the country, with locations in nineteen major cities, so we look forward to helping companies with their coming needs.

Contact ContainerPort Group Today

As you can see, the intermodal transportation industry trends that are developing are quite exciting. Be sure to stay current on our blog to discover insights about new trends, in areas like container trucking and warehousing, as they occur.

And if you’re interested in implementing intermodal transportation services into your business, reach out to our team today. We’ll be glad to talk with you!