Intermodal makes gains in December: FTR

BLOOMINGTON, IN – Intermodal loads made some positive gains as 2016 came to a close, FTR’s December Intermodal Competitive Index shows.

The index — tracking factors like truck capacity, fuel prices, rail service and intermodal rates — was in “reasonably positive territory”, the analysts say, and rates are expected to improve in the coming months. That said, there could still be some downside risks later in the year, depending on any trade policy changes made by the recently elected administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“About half of all North American intermodal volume depends, to a certain extent, on our international trade. This includes cross-border movements and import/export movements, both in international containers and as transloaded cargo in domestic containers and trailers,” says Larry Gross, an FTR partner. “As of today, we have not programmed in any potential effects from changes in U.S. trade policy, but such alterations could have a profound negative impact on intermodal prospects. Most damaging would be if we got into a tit-for-tat trade conflict with one or more of our worldwide trading partners, a prospect we still consider unlikely as of now.”

Details are available in the February edition of FTR’s Intermodal Update.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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