The putative recovery in rail intermodal volumes hit a snag as the number of containers of all sizes moved in the U.S. fell slightly week-on-week.
The surge in contracted truckload volumes related to consumer food-hoarding has not translated to a meaningful increase in rail volumes essentially because railroads are not in a good position to participate in grocery store restocking. While some food does move by intermodal, and refrigerated intermodal represents a specialized segment of that mode, the balance of railroads’ capacity and their networks are designed around the upstream food supply chain: bulk grains and the like.
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John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.