Domestic intermodal gains market share

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Domestic intermodal transport gained significant market share against trucks in the second quarter of 2009, a recent analysis by FTR Associates shows. Intermodal’s share of U.S. long-haul (550-plus mile) movements of international and domestic containerized freight edged up by 0.1 percent to a level of 12.4 percent from the first to the second quarter.

But when movements of international containers are excluded, the market share represented by intermodal movement of domestic equipment (domestic containers and trailers) increased by a solid 0.3 percent to a level of 6.5 percent. The analysis is contained in the August issue of FTR’s Intermodal Monthly Update.

“The performance of the domestic intermodal sector is extremely impressive given the current economic conditions,” says Lawrence Gross, senior consultant for Nashville, Ind.-based FTR and principal author of the Intermodal Monthly Update. “Although the level of domestic intermodal traffic has declined, the decline has been less severe than the truck’s, resulting in increased share. Domestic share has been increasing quite steadily since the third quarter of 2007.”

Gross says this analysis provides evidence that domestic intermodal’s value proposition continues to resonate with shippers. “With intermodal speeds and reliability hitting all-time levels, shippers have more incentive than ever to take advantage of the superior economics that intermodal offers in many instances,” he says.