Intermodal markets: Building steam

There’s a reductive and naive story about intermodal in which it grew faster in the 1990s and 2000s and eventually reached a level of equilibrium. Shippers were moving as much freight by intermodal, which was slower and less responsive, as they wanted, and anyway the railroads didn’t want to let

By |July 22nd, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Intermodal markets: Volumes on track, service slips

Tight trucking capacity continues to boost intermodal volumes out of Southern California, where volumes have recovered to a much greater extent than in Chicago, New York/New Jersey, or Savannah, Georgia. Most of the blank sailings on the eastbound trans-Pacific lane are behind us; container volumes at West Coast ports should

By |July 1st, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Intermodal markets: grinding upward

Intermodal volumes continue to improve, down 10.6% year-over-year but beating the trailing four-week average as they have in prior weeks. But keep in mind that 2019 was a weak year for freight markets and a soft year for intermodal volumes: The mode is well into a multiyear volume decline that

By |June 3rd, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Intermodal markets: Volatility out of L.A.

Intermodal volumes are improving, but they’re still double-digit percentages below 2019 levels, which was not a great year for the railroads. Because volumes are low and intermodal capacity is easy to secure, tender rejections are insignificant — intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) are taking all of the contracted freight they can

By |June 1st, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Intermodal markets: Signs of life?

Intermodal volumes were stronger than their four-week trailing average in week 20, though still down 14% compared to the same period in 2019. Air pockets remain in containerized freight networks — there will be soft periods on a lag to demand going forward — but it seems clear to us

By |June 1st, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Intermodal markets: CSX’s trucklike service

After markets closed this afternoon, CSX reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2020, giving us a look at how eastern rail intermodal networks are performing (tomorrow western railroad Union Pacific reports). There are a couple of things that jumped out at us: CSX successfully sold domestic intermodal

By |April 22nd, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|