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Below are a few of the articles from sites like FreightWaves, JOC and others that we've been reading to get a snapshot of the industry in Q1 of 2021.

We started this year reading about the ever-changing Intermodal peak season. It remained in full force towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, defying expectations. Is this due to the pandemic? As one industry expert at JOC argues, this shift is several years in the making.

We saw it on our own marketplace, but this puts what we’ve been saying into perspective for the industry as a whole. Intermodal came back in Q4 of 2020, with volumes up 9.6%. Intermodal freight transportation, historically cheaper than over-the-road (OTR) trucking, also saw a huge cost advantage in Q4 of 2020. Combined with a growing share of the freight market, analysts predict that Intermodal will expand in volume throughout 2021.

The Intermodal cost advantage conversation continued with data showing that Intermodal continued to provide savings for the beginning of 2021. Why is this? According to FreightWaves, Intermodal rates appear to be less volatile in tighter freight markets.

On top of the cost saving advantage Intermodal has, the industry is continuing to see volume growth. Last week in particular, weekly Intermodal volumes were up 31% compared to this time last year.

On the political side of the business, the rail industry is pushing for climate policy to reflect the environmental advantage the rails have over truck-only transportation. Freight movement over the rails represents only 2.1% of emissions due to transportation.

The recently introduced American Jobs Plan tackling transportation infrastructure has been a major development to the freight rail industry. Rail stakeholders are already beginning to address pieces of this newly proposed plan.

With all of these developments just in Q1 of this year, we’re interested to see what the rest of the year has in store for Intermodal.

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