Rail executives see intermodal growth as infrastructure investments continue

By: | Issue #634 | at 11:42 AM | Channel(s): Intermodal  Rail  

Rail executives see intermodal growth as infrastructure investments continue

Leaders of North American railroads look to a solid future for intermodal activity, with their companies investing in infrastructure and expanding service offerings to accommodate growing volumes.

Thanks to the Obama administration’s war on coal, railroads find they can rely less and less on moving what has long represented a significant profit center for many, so they increasingly are turning to intermodal as a revenue generator.

Rail leaders appear to be remaining confident about future intermodal sector growth despite recent reports from the Intermodal Association of North America showing overall intermodal traffic falling 6.1 percent in the three-month period ended June 30, 2016, compared with the second quarter of 2015, marking the first such decline after 25 consecutive quarters of growth.

As railroad officials are quick to point out, intermodal offerings are providing shippers an efficient, reliable alternative to trucking in many lanes, averting highway congestion with environmentally friendly moves, including for cargo arriving at ports on larger-than-ever containerships.

Executives of each North American Class I railroad, plus the Class II railroad most engaged in the intermodal sector, offered their respective companies’ input to the American Journal of Transportation in response to three questions:

• How is your company currently enhancing its intermodal offerings, including infrastructure projects and new/enhanced services? (150 words)

• What impacts do you see related to the completion of Panama Canal expansion? (50 words)

• How do you view the future of North American intermodal? (50 words)

To maintain balanced coverage, replies have been edited and/or paraphrased where necessary so that every railroad company is furnished opportunity for the same number of words in reply to each question.

Here’s what each had to say, with railroads ordered from east to west, based upon the location of the headquarters city of the respective company…

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Paul Scott Abbott's avatar

American Journal of Transportation

More on Paul Scott Abbott

For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.

Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.

A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.