Weekly discussion and analysis on the trends in the intermodal spot rate market. For the week of September 19, 2022, domestic intermodal spot rate index: Decreased 1.8% from the prior week. Decreased 24.9% from prior year.
While most imagery associated with intermodal freight rightly centers on the railroad, without drayage trucking, loads using this shipping mode would oftentimes be stuck at the ramp. Drayage trucking is the link between the origin and destination of intermodal containers. The railroad takes cargo the bulk of the intermodal journey, but to physically pick up and deliver products from factories, distribution centers, retailers and wherever else, drayage trucking does the first mile/final mile job. Let's back up a bit to explain why. .Intermodal transport refers to the movement of goods between multiple modes - with the distinction that once cargo is packed into a container, it stays in the same one until it arrives at its final destination. Those multiple modes tend to follow a common formula: truck - rail - truck, with drayage trucking equipped with specialized chassis used to bring the load the short haul distance - optimized at 50 miles or less - from its origin to a rail ramp, aka the first mile. Then, the long haul journey - optimized at 700 miles or more - takes place on a freight train before another specialized drayage truck picks the container up from the ramp to take it the rest of the way to its destination, aka the final mile.
Everything you need to know about domestic intermodal and how to be successful implementing it into your logistics strategy. Gives tips, tricks and insights on intermodal and what to watch out for when converting from truckload to intermodal.
Today, Inc. Magazine revealed that InTek Freight & Logistics is No. 1541 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. “We’re incredibly honored to be a part of the Inc. 5000 this year,” said Rick LaGore, InTek CEO. “The tremendous growth we’ve experienced is a testament to our excellent team and the many wonderful partners we work with both in Indiana and across the country.”
InTek Freight and Logistics, Inc. is proud to be listed fourth on the latest FAST 25 list from the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ), with 340% growth with $59.9 million in revenue. The annual FAST 25 Listing recognizes the fastest growing privately held companies in the Indianapolis area. This is InTek's second consecutive year on the list, as it came in third in 2021 - with 242% growth.
Freight shipping can be as fast as it needs to be, or can take lengthy amounts of time depending on the mode of transportation, the distance it's traveling, the price paid by the shipper and other factors. If product is needed tomorrow, there are freight modes that can accommodate such a need. If a shipment is working on a looser timeline, a month or more is not unusual for international freight. The fastest freight mode in a vacuum is air freight, while the slowest is ocean freight (not counting some type of horse-drawn, non-powered method). Staying on the ground, truckload is faster than intermodal, though not as drastically as some may think. Delays can of course happen to any type of freight, whether they be weather-related, due to congestion at ports or terminals, because of staffing issues, tied to failed equipment or related in some way - commonly these days - to Covid-19. So, long story short, freight shipping can be fast, or it can be less fast. Let's get to some more precise numbers.
Shipping and logistics are full of abbreviations and acronyms, and sometimes, the same one can stand for multiple phrases. In this case, IPI in shipping refers interchangeably to interior point intermodal and inland point intermodal. Regardless of which 'I' word is preferred, the term IPI covers inbound freight moves from a port to a shipper’s door within the country via a domestic or international intermodal container. So it's clear, the reason IPI can refer to either inland or interior is because the two words reference the same type of location. IPI shipments typically move via truck for short distances and intermodal rail for long distances. IPI and transloading are often intertwined, as while in some cases the load moves inland in its original ISO ocean container, it's often transloaded through a third party logistics provider (3PL) into a domestic intermodal container to continue its journey. The split may be about 50/50 in fact.
Dwell is a shipping term that primarily refers to the amount of time a container spends at a facility like a terminal or port between when it's unloaded from one form of transport and moved out of the facility. The issue of dwell comes into play in container shipping, so it's primarily associated with intermodal and ocean freight. Costs related to dwell may impact freight rates already, or they may be added on as accessorial charges if containers overstay their allotted time - a term referred to as demurrage. Containers that dwell for a lengthy period at a terminal are considered aging cargo. Beyond the primary form of dwell, street dwell describes the period containers spend when pulled out of the terminal by truck - typically to avoid demurrage. At any rate, dwell is a common issue especially as supply chain constraints abound.
The difference between a terminal and a port in logistics and supply chain parlance goes beyond maritime versus landlocked. In essence, a port refers to a waterfront facility - aka a marina - where vessels (steamships/freighters/container ships/etc.) dock to facilitate loading and unloading of goods (and people who use these ships as well). A terminal on the other hand both refers to multiple locations within a port (more on that later), and using the more common - and still logistics-related - definition, a terminal can also refer to a facility independent of a port where trucks and/or railroads handle that same loading and unloading of goods.
Container shortages (as well as plenty of other supply chain shortages) are common knowledge at this point, but another key piece of freight equipment has also been running short for sometime - the chassis. A chassis in freight and logistics terms refers to a rubber-tired trailer under-frame on which a container is mounted for street or highway transport. Sometimes referred to as a container chassis or skeletal trailer, a chassis is a necessity to transport containers across the supply chain - from ocean or rail (see intermodal shipping) to truck - onto their final destination. There are chassis options to fit 20 foot and 40 foot containers, as well as chassis specially designed for overweight container shipments, called tri-axle chassis. To sum up their importance, even if containers became more plentiful, without enough chassis, those loads would be severely limited in options to get where they need to go.
The holiday season is in full swing, for Christmas shoppers and - for our purposes - those involved in freight and logistics. As hectic as this time of year can be - especially this year - it's important to step back and smell the roses (or evergreens - if you can get your hands on one). That's why we're sharing a special twist on a holiday classic. Feel free to make it a new tradition at your holiday gatherings. Enjoy our freight and logistics Christmas poem...