Intermodal share drops

FTR Associates reported Feb. 10 that intermodal market share declined by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 after steady increases for the previous three quarters.

The fourth-quarter 2010 share was 1.7 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2009. FTR measures intermodal market share as a percentage of total seasonally adjusted U.S. dry box-type cargo movements moving 550 miles or more via intermodal or highway.

“The early August peak in international intermodal movements propelled intermodal to a market share record in the third quarter” said Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant. “But some of that volume was traffic that normally would move later in the year during the fourth quarter, resulting in the small share decline as the end of year approached.”

Gross indicated the future for intermodal is bright. “We believe this is just a pause in the long-term trend towards increasing intermodal usage,” he says. “Our projections show that truck capacity will begin to tighten significantly once we emerge from the winter doldrums, due to a combination of economic factors and government regulations. This will help take intermodal share to new heights over the course of 2011.”

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