Posts about intermodal - Page 1

State of Freight

Posted by Danielle Wentworth on Aug 11, 2021 10:34:56 AM

State of Freight Overall

  • Not enough truck drivers in the market to handle capacity
  • Until the driver market increases, we will see capacity crunch.
  • Drivers are seeking lanes where amenities are available (parking, showers, …).
  • Industries are not able to maintain adequate inventory - lots of spot orders.
  • Truck carriers are trying to give assets to their established customers, so new customers are being turned down


  • Smaller carriers are handling more loads, but it's not enough coverage to make up for larger carriers not handling amount of loads they have in the past
  • Freight has always been more difficult to secure in the Northeast, but now more than ever
  • Rates have increased substantially - customers will be paying more
  • Tolls have also increased substantially for trucks. 
  • Many accessorials have increased, along with FSC, adding to the overall rate increase. Tank cleaning, steaming and driver detention are the ones with the largest increases
  • Paying more does not guarantee capacity
  • Drivers are dictating more today where they want to go
  • Compartment trucks are extremely difficult to secure and carriers not investing in this equipment - it is expensive and has more temperature issues
  • Kosher and food grade loads are also extremely difficult to secure. Most kosher & food grade equipment is already in use
  • Dedicated is preferred by some carriers, but only if they have trailers. If too much dedicated business is serviced, it removes overall trailers for all customers
  • Carriers need to go to certain locations to keep their system in balance
  • Texas and Louisiana lanes are easier to cover rather than Georgia, North Carolina & South Carolina - drivers make more money on longer hauls
  • CSXT secured Quality, one of the largest carriers in the country, for servicing their yards and this took away capacity to companies


  • Securing available railcars for lease has been more difficult than just as little as six months ago
  • Rail rates increase each year, there is very little room for negotiation
  • Fuel surcharges (FSCs) have increased each month. CSX has gone from $0.11/mile in January 2021 to $0.33/mile in August 2021

What TRT is doing 

  • We are in the process of leasing additional railcars
  • Asking customers if they can supply their own railcars for pick-up of product
  • Identifying any customers that can take rail rather than trucks and converting when we can work it
  • Clean railcars coming back from shop are earmarked for a fleet so they are not used carelessly
  • Continuing daily Unconfirmed Loads meetings for trucks where we prioritize customers. Salesperson and customer input and cooperation is critical
  • Cold calling new carriers for any capacity
  • Customers are looking for their own trucks which is showing that customers are starting to get involved in securing their loads
  • Keeping terminals stocked with product is key
  • Investigating terminal options for lanes/products that make sense and have the biggest impact on easing capacity
  • Creating a survey for drivers to complete as they leave TRT to understand their experience and what amenities they would want
  • Distributing weekly demurrage reports for our railcars, so we can remind our customers to keep them moving
  • Carriers added additional driver training locations. They believe enrollment will increase once bonus unemployment benefits run out. Until new drivers enter the market, there will be a capacity crisis
  • Follow-up conference calls with our carriers
  • Exploring intermodal rates again for the lanes over 1,000 miles
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Topics: trucking industry, Freight Imbalance, railcars, intermodal