Intermodal, not Long-Haul

Intermodal, not Long-HaulIn January 2014, SupplyChainBrain published an article entitled, “Intermodal Thrives, While Long-haul Trucking Dives.” In the article, the author details how after years of struggle to match the service levels of long-haul trucking, in October 2013 intermodal saw an all-time high for total revenue movements in the U.S.—with all indications pointing to the upward trend continuing.

The recent uptick in growth can be attributed to an increased recognition of the benefits of intermodal transportation, namely cost savings, environmental benefits, and highway safety results. The benefits extend to the shippers, who see lower rates combined with more predictable pricing, as well as the flexibility of loading and unloading goods in a dropped trailer environment, which generally reduces handling costs. Increasingly, shippers are recognizing that this cost savings outweighs the speed by which they can move their goods via long-haul truck.

The experts also weigh in in favor of intermodal’s growth: the Federal Highway Administration estimates intermodal transportation will increase in popularity as traditional over-the-road freight networks are less able to meet demand, and he ATA calculates intermodal will grow an average of 5.1 percent a year until 2018. With years of recession finally falling away, the shift makes sense, according to Ryan Bouchard, an analyst with Avondale Partners: “The message of less costly and more efficient movement is resonating with clients.”

In addition to the benefits to customers and business, drivers are also beginning to realize the perks of driving intermodally—from being home and spending most nights and weekends with their families, to showering daily (without worrying about a shower ticket). As independent business owners, intermodal drivers are also able to control maintenance costs by working with familiar shop/mechanic, and running round trips—without waiting or deadheading for a backhaul.

With pay grossing $2500 to $3000+ per week with the right work ethic, drivers can earn a living—while having a life.

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