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In the past, we’ve looked at how intermodal trucking translates to greater fuel savings and an increase in a trucker’s bottom line. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of staying local and driving less miles is the fact that truck drivers are spending less time on the road for each intermodal trip that they take, and therefore can get home at the end of each day.

Compared to over-the-road freight, intermodal trips are all local, usually staying under 500 miles for a round-trip, with most staying way below that mileage. Truck drivers can be assured that they will be able to head back home because of the way intermodal loads work. Why is that? With these loads, drivers pick up a container from the rail yard that they must return to complete the load. Because of this, an intermodal carrier doesn’t have to worry about completing an order hundreds of miles away, and then running up their fuel costs just to make it back home.

And because there are less miles to travel while doing intermodal loads, the time spent on each trip will also be much lower. Truck drivers across our network that pull DrayNow intermodal loads spend an overall average of 3 hours and 41 minutes on each trip, and that time starts the moment a driver shows up at the equipment location and ends right when they leave the termination location. This leaves the option for drivers to take multiple trips in one day while staying in their preferred region. With so many moves to choose from in a wide range of distances, carriers will encounter trips that take even less time while getting paid well for their work.

Since drivers can come back to their starting point (home) at the end of each day, it can present an opportunity to further save money on diesel costs. DrayNow carrier Steve McClardy likes to buy fuel in bulk at a discount, so that when his trucks are back at the end of the day, he can efficiently refuel each one. If a driver is staying over-the-road, their only option would be to pay the full retail price of diesel.

In looking at how intermodal loads operate, the key issues with over-the-road trips come to light. This is the case when it comes to the mileage a driver has to take on, the time spent on each trip and diesel costs. OTR commands more mileage on each load, bringing drivers further away from their starting point, with the only efficient option being to find freight that brings them home. All these miles increase the time spent on each trip, with most of that being spent on the road.

Counter to the pitfalls of over-the-road, it’s clear that intermodal freight decreases the mileage, time spent on each trip and fuel expenses a carrier must take on, all while staying close to home.

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