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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Domestic intermodal loses share of short-haul moves, FTR says


Domestic intermodal is garnering a slightly smaller share of revenue movements totaling 1,000 miles or less, according to FTR Associates’ April “Intermodal Monthly Update” report. A recent FTR study shows domestic intermodal equipment moving less than 1,000 miles accounted for 42 percent of total North American domestic equipment moves, a 1 percent decline.

In the fourth quarter, shipments of 48- and 53-foot domestic trailers and containers moving less than 1,500 miles decreased 1.2 percent even though such movements increased overall, according to FTR, which based its report on Intermodal Association of North America data.

“Given the recent emphasis placed on shorter-haul markets by major intermodal players and the eastern railroads, these results are somewhat surprising” said FTR Senior Consultant Lawrence Gross in a prepared statement.

FTR’s study also shows domestic intermodal’s share is “particularly weak” in the 1,000-to-2,000-mile range, which accounts for a lower percentage of overall movements compared with the 750-to-1,000-mile and 2,000-to-2,500-mile ranges.

“We believe this is because most moves of between 1,000 and 2,000 miles involve more than one railroad, and the need to interchange impedes intermodal’s ability to compete,” said Gross.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/20/2010