Major players in the intermodal market are Union Pacific Railroad, Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, BNSF Railway, DB Schenker, SBB Cargo, CTL Logistics, VTG Rail Logistics, and Kuehen+Nagel Logistics.
The global intermodals market is expected to grow from $41.28 billion in 2021 to $44.88 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7%. The market is expected to grow to $54.05 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8%.
The intermodal market consists of sales of intermodal rail freight transportation services and related goods by entities (organizations, sole traders, and partnerships) that provide the transportation of freight in an intermodal container.In this mode, handling of the freight is not done manually when changing a rail carrier, thus increasing the security of the transported product substantially.
Only goods and services traded between entities or sold to end consumers are included.
The main types in the intermodal market are container-on-flatcar (COFC) and trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC).The COFC is a type of rail freight service in which an empty container is loaded and transported on the train’s flatcar.
The market is covered by destination into domestic and international and by application into oil and gas, aerospace and defense, industrial and manufacturing, construction, chemical, food and beverages, healthcare, and others.
North America was the largest region in the intermodal market in 2021.Asia Pacific was the second largest region in the intermodal market.
The regions covered in this market are Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, and Africa.
The sustainable nature of intermodal rail transport is expected to drive the intermodal market.Unlike truckloads, rails use less fuel and are faster, which makes intermodal transportation energy and cost-efficient.
Over the years, rail fuel efficiency has firmly increased, making it the most environmentally sustainable means of transporting goods overland transport.According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the USA freight railways can move one ton of freight more than 470 miles per gallon of fuel on an average.
AAR analysis of federal data finds that if 25% of truck traffic traveling at least 750 miles went by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions expected to fall by around 13.1 million tonnes and if 50% of truck traffic moving at least 750 miles, the greenhouse gas emissions dropped by about 26.2 million tonnes. The most fuel-efficient form of land transport is moving freight by rail, which reduces transportation costs and promotes brand control for a sustainable environment that encourages the growth of the intermodal market.
The competition from the trucking market is anticipated to hinder the intermodal market over the forthcoming years.Limited origin and destination pairing and finite market providers are the major limitations of the intermodal over truck loads.
Intermodal is not the appropriate solution for every possible origin and destination zip code pairing attributing to the restricted number of intermodal railroad ramps and dray typically needs to be within 100 miles of their respective ramp.Moreover, the limited number of rail intermodal providers over truckloads is another major challenge for the rail intermodal industry.
Thus, truckloads are preferred over rail transport, subsequently restricting the growth of the intermodal market.
Organizations are implementing precision scheduled railroading that is gaining popularity in the intermodal market over recent years.Precision scheduled railroading (PSR) is a plan that includes centralizing operations, reducing staff, running less, heavier, faster trains, and optimizing the network to increase efficiency.
For instance, in April 2019, Norfolk Southern rolled out the precision-scheduled railroading (PSR) plan to improve its services. In addition to this, according to Railway Gazette International, in 2019, Kansas City Southern has implemented precision scheduled railroading for improved cost structure, improved customer service, and consistent and reliable operations.
In June 2020, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), a Canadian-based railway offering transportation services and supply chain expertise across North America acquired the entire network of the Central Maine and Quebec Railway (CMQ) for an undisclosed amount.The acquisition provides CP with direct links to Searsport, Maine, and Port Saint John, New Brunswick’s Atlantic seaports, which offer CP a 320 km shorter route than competing railways from the east coast to Montreal and Toronto.
It also enabled the company to serve customers through a larger coast-to-coast network across Canada and deliver direct Class 1 freight-rail service including intermodal services to the State of Maine. Central Maine and Quebec Railway is a USA-based Class II freight railway that serves intermodal services.
The countries covered in the intermodal market are Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Korea, UK, and USA.
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