As the freight economy recovers, several important trends are centered around Los Angeles: import volume, outbound freight volume, and intermodal’s degree of competitiveness with truckload. In short, LA is hot with an improving freight market boosting both truckload and intermodal as shown in the FreightWaves SONAR charts below.
Author: Mike Baudendistel
Numerous factors are impairing intermodal volume growth. These include blanked sailings, a shift in overall freight demand toward refrigerated, an uncertain outlook for consumer demand and, of course, competition from the highway.
Throughout last year and year-to-date, the Class I railroads and the truckload-based intermodal companies have highlighted the soft truckload market as one of the major reasons for a lack of intermodal volume growth. The depth of the truckload weakness and how it may be changing can be illustrated from data provided by the FreightWaves SONAR software platform.
The Class I railroads and the truckload-based domestic intermodal marketing companies have all finished reporting their first-quarter 2020 earnings. For the Class I railroads, the theme of their earnings reports was that operational and cost efficiency improvements are continuing, even as steep volume contraction has stopped any thought of revenue growth for the time being.