Over the last century, intermodal shipping has shaped the development of the reliable, safe, and cost-effective intermodal rail networks that we see today. From the late 1800s, when “piggybacking” or “circus style” was created to “double stacking” in the 1970-80’s, more modern tech-enabled intermodal systems were developed. The intermodal industry has seen continued advancements and achievements.
Intermodal shipping continues to be cost-effective and is predicted to see continued growth. It is predicted that the global industry will see a compounded annual growth rate of 7% by the year 2022. Improved intermodal infrastructure, high trucking cost, and the continued advancement of technology are all contributing to this continued growth.
Although the outlook of intermodal shipping is bright, there are a few factors that could interrupt this trend. The first is damage to the tracks and trains causing backups and delays. Shippers have been operating at or near capacity and this has led to this damage. Another issue is that there has been a shortage of drivers over the last couple of years and this has led to a massive backlog of orders and has slowed the growth of the industry. In previous blogs, we mentioned that this could be combated by implementing better incentive programs for drivers.
One factor that is important for the growth of the intermodal shipping industry is technology. Almost every part of the supply chain is adapting automation. From the port to the track, automation is making a big impact on the efficiencies of the supply chain. Many 3PL companies are reinventing the product tracking software systems and are using big data to help prevent backups that can leave containers waiting to be moved.
G&T Enterprises understands the importance that intermodal shipping can have on your supply chain and that is why we pride ourselves in serving the Chicago and Midwest areas with the most up-to-date intermodal shipping methods.