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Loads of New Responsibilities Present Challenges for Inland Terminals

Inland port terminals diversify the US supply chain when it comes to global trade. The escalation of e-commerce sales is impacting Intermodal logistics and taxing ground shipping of companies such as FedEx and UPS. The dedicated railway-to-maritime port component of inland ports alleviates the over-the-road capacity strain on these companies when accessing inbound shipments. With the resurgence and growth of the railroad industry giving rise to augmented rail-to-rail and Intermodal (rail-to-truck) freight capacity systems, dry port terminals have facilitated the circumvention of rising diesel fuel prices and downsizing in the trucking/carrier industry over recent years. Over the last five years, truck carriers such as J. B. Hunt, Werner Enterprises and CRST/Malone (Cedar Rapids Steel Transport’s flatbed division) have cut over-the-road capacity to 15 percent from a previous 12 percent cutback. According to Logistics Management’s September 2012 online issue, price trends for trucking carrier industry specialized services, such as LTL or less-than-truckload, general freight, tanker and other specialized freight services, are declining, down 9 percent just in June and July. Rail industry prices in the first seven months of 2012, conversely, were up 4.9 percent, 2 percent over trucking industry prices for the first 2012 quarter. Rail-to-rail freight shipping is gaining… read more »