According to the FTR North American Intermodal Outlook, U.S. imports are up 2.5 percent and are expected to increase by 3.5 percent by 2015. Intermodal loads have increased by 6.5 percent in 2014.
Why are imports increasing at such a consistent rate?
“We live in a country where there is a lot of consumption of products that are not manufactured domestically,” says Val Noel, COO of Trac Intermodal and the 2014 IWLA Essentials for Warehousing Course keynote speaker. There are several other influential factors to this phenomenon that have been critical to this growth.
According to Noel, international growth can be attributed to vessel alliances and size. “The ocean guys figured out that they can ship more and save costs by forming alliances. These alliances are known as the G6.”
The G6 represents conglomerates of the largest ocean carriers in the world that pool vessels together on bigger ships and on dedicated routes. This shift may be more efficient on the carriers’ end, but it creates new challenges on the receiving end.
Noel says that vessels that used to carry 4,000 containers for discharge now can carry up to 18,000. At four times the capacity, the challenge of discharging and transporting the product is increasing on North American shores.
Domestically the intermodal world has seen growth as trains become more consistent and allow more capacity. But the U.S. infrastructure is not developed enough to move the cargo that is coming through the ports, especially with regulations, infrastructure issues, and labor shortages.
Noel will discuss his views on the future of the industry and what kind of response we will have to make in order to sustain current and future growth without driving up the price of goods.
Don’t miss keynote speaker Val Noel Oct. 7, 2014, during the IWLA Essentials of Warehousing Course in Adelphi, Md., register today.