Posted in Eco Friend
February 25, 2022

Trucking Industry Gaining Share Over Transport By Rail


Intermodal rail transport is quickly losing its market share to the trucking industry despite its ability to offer better pricing combined with the associated environmental benefits. Freight transport via intermodal rail was down almost 12% during the first 6 weeks of 2022 compared to the same period last year in 2021. Intermodal transport is responsible for transporting shipping containers long distances using rail cars with the addition of truckers being used to drive these containers to the rail yards as well as for their final delivery when the containers reach their destination.

This decline in 2022 can be seen as the volume of transports via rail dropped during the second half of 2021 with an otherwise strong volume in overall freight shipments. Individuals and companies nowadays are shipping more frequently over highways compared to by rail. This is primarily due to the shortages in labor, equipment and warehouse availability across all supply chains resulting in delays that are wildly unpredictable.

While the shift from railway to heavy haul trucking is still relatively modest, estimates have shown intermodal transports losing just over 1% of their market share to the trucking industry since the beginning of the covid pandemic. Despite this small loss in percentage, the result is still many tens of thousands of shipping containers every week just sitting and waiting, unable to be loaded onto trains.

The Big Issue

One of the biggest issues overall and a problem across all industries is the shortage of available shipping containers. This has caused increased delays for freight shipments needing to travel via intermodal transport. Toward the end of 2020 and throughout the first half of 2021, intermodal shipments were actually doing quite well. Delays in the processing of these shipping containers started building up in the ports on the west coast and at the key Chicago rail yards. This created many issues and quickly became overwhelming for many shippers.

Delays quickly developed as more and more shipping containers started entering the rail hubs. This in turn created a lack of available shipping containers further exacerbating the already congested rail hubs. All of these delays and issues started causing rail carriers to begin limiting their container volumes going into Chicago until the congestion could be cleared up. Many shippers ultimately decided it would simply be faster and more beneficial having a more reliable transit time if they transported their freight using truckers. With all the delays by rail, the additional costs and higher C02 emissions associated with transporting goods via truck proved well worth it for some companies. This desire to shorten delivery times continues to increase as the ongoing delays with getting these shipping containers out of the ports has become a huge problem.

The covid pandemic has definitely exposed the fragility of our US logistics industry. These bottlenecks in manufacturing coupled with all the shipping delays have resulted in massive pile ups of cargo sitting not only in the port terminals but in the rail yards and warehouses as well. Shipping containers and truck chassis are critical pieces of equipment that just aren’t readily available right now and are creating super long backlogs in all the distribution centers.

Using A Transport Company To Move Your Cargo

For companies and individuals struggling right now to get their transport needs met, another option is to use a transport broker to get your freight hauled to its destination. These companies are able to provide more options and can help you move anything from heavy equipment transport, oversized loads, boats, and even provide car transport services. Based on the details and requirements of your shipment they can quickly reach out to thousands of available carriers around the country and secure a driver for you that would be willing to pick up your shipment. The nice part is that they will provide you with a list of available rates and shipping options to choose from that best meets your needs. With things so chaotic right now in the supply chain, one of the great benefits to using a transport company is their expertise and ability to maneuver this industry and find a solution to getting your cargo delivered.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

Dr Prem Community Writer February 25, 2022 at 01:58PM

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