"That's really where a lot of the intermodal growth is coming from," says Schneider's [Steve Van Kirk]. "They used to say 'just move it to the warehouse and from there 111 load it onto a truck, instead of the raiL'" Now, he says, customers are willing to let them ship it directly to a customer. "It will be cheaper and on time."
Soft Economy Means Hard Savings G d f d Good news for domestic shippers in a bad economy. ti hi i b d B Y B R I A N S C H I A V O J obless claims reach a 16-year high.” all domestic volume was up an impressive 6.7 modals to see double digit increases in their “The Dow Jones Industrial Average percent. The soft market, it seems, is causing own reefer businesses. drops another 500 points.” “Con- companies to reconsider transitioning their “At this point, there really are no large over- gress refuses to bail out the faltering highway freight to intermodal shipping. the-road reefer carries like there is in the dry auto industry.” “There are a number of reasons to do so,” freight arena, where you have large carriers Over and over again corporations are bom- says Steve Branscum, group vice president like J.B. Hunt and U.S. Express—there are barded with sour news regarding the U.S. of consumer products for the Burlington smaller players, but we are taking business economy and how a long and sustained reces- Northern and Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), Fort from all of them,” says BNSF’s Branscum. sion is imminent. Worth, TX. “Among them are highway con- However, amid the cries of economic di- gestion, driver recruiting problems, the fact Fueling The Fire saster, there is some good news, at least for that consumers are eating in more and even Another reason that companies are switch- shippers in the food and beverage industry. the environment. Companies are looking for ing to intermodal is the high cost of fuel. This is a great time for domestic intermodal ways to reduce their carbon footprints.” “What we’re hearing from our customers shipping, as well as for companies that export Another reason is diminishing capacity on now is that a combination of high fuel costs their goods overseas. the part of truckload carriers. As the economy and less demand for their products is forcing According to the Intermodal Association of continues to tighten, more and more trucking them to look at intermodal as an alternative North America (IANA), domestic intermodal companies are realizing that they can’t turn a to over-the-road shipping,” says Steve Weiby, shipping had its best performance this quar- proﬁt and are closing their doors. vice president of transportation for C.H. Rob- ter since the second quarter of 2004. This was “The shippers we’re dealing with, huge inson Worldwide Inc., a third-party logistics lead by a strong 10.5 percent rise in domes- Fortune 500 companies, are reducing their company located in Eden Prairie, MN. “They tic containers, which according to the IANA, carriers to a level they can manage,” says Rich can save money in longer haul lanes on fuel made this quarter
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