The New Landscape of Shipping


Intermodal trucking is recognized as using more than one mode of transportation — usually a combination of truck and rail. This is playing a larger role in the changing long-haul trucking industry. With the newly expanded Panama Canal, East Coast ports may now see more traffic, and that can mean less long-haul runs of freight being trucked across the country from West Coast ports.

While it may reduce OTR demand, at Nationwide we’re not worried. In fact, this may be good news for the environment as well. According to an EPA study, intermodal transportation was found to cut fuel use and greenhouse gas emission by 65% over 1000 miles, when compared to over-the-road miles.

Redefining Intermodal Shipping

Market forces are redefining the landscape of the trucking industry, and Nationwide is constantly adapting, using many different models according to current needs.  When the industry was deregulated in the early 1980s, the door opened for more innovation.  We have long-haul carriers, as well as LTL (less-than-truckload) and other options, usually used for shorter hauls, including local “peddle” routs.

Long-haul freight is not going away any time soon, but how it gets moved is evolving, due to new customer and consumer market demands, as well as the impact of a continuing driver shortage.  New shipper requirements of their carrier partners are altering some of the freight distribution patterns from origin to distribution centers to stores, and even to homes, in much different patterns than it has for decades.  In addition, underlying changes in consumer behavior are being driven by advances in what supply chains can do at dizzying speed to snag shoppers on keyboards across the USA proliferating orders for consumer goods ranging from auto parts to baby bottles.

The new landscape is compelling shippers to redesign supply chains to ensure product gets to market as fast as possible using the most intelligent and efficient solutions available.  If next day or same day shipments are needed, our team of air freight specialists knows how to utilize air freight in combination with our team driver system.

According to the Intermodal Association of North America, technology has advanced the role of movements of long-haul freight, which translates into visibility across the supply chain, with an increasingly interconnected network, sharing benefits for importers, exporters, and carriers.

The Panama Canal enlargement and corresponding infrastructure changes of ports on the East Coast can now enable much larger container ships from Pacific Rim countries to serve densely populated Atlantic seaboard areas directly, no longer needing to off-load goods at West Coast ports and ship them across the country by rail or truck.

These logistic trends mean that retailers and their suppliers are moving toward supply chains that are more regionalized, because in this digital age they are able to be closer and more responsive to their customers. That is what is meant by shortening the truckload length of haul — or as some describe it, “regionalizing” freight.

For more information or to ask us questions about shipping, feel free to give us a call or email today!