Intermodal transport’s share of U.S. long-haul truck traffic reached a record high of 13.5 percent in the first quarter, according to a recent analysis by FTR Associates.
Both total intermodal movements and movements of domestic intermodal equipment reached new market share highs, according to the firm’s May “Intermodal Update” report.
“This marks the fourth consecutive share increase for intermodal,” said Lawrence Gross, senior consultant for FTR and principal author of the report. “The sector was hitting on all cylinders during the first quarter. Domestic sector market share resumed growing after a pause in the fourth quarter of last year, continuing a solid upward trend that began as early as third-quarter 2007.”
Meanwhile the international sector continued to recover from its downturn, with international intermodal shipments growing faster than overall long-haul truck. Gross expects that intermodal growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
“The stars are aligning for what could be an acceleration in intermodal share growth,” he said. “Active truck capacity is coming into balance with demand, and even a modest increase in freight demand could lead to shortages of truck drivers and, hence, truck capacity, resulting in more opportunity for intermodal. Increases in fuel prices and the continued rebound in international shipments will also aid share growth.”
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