The U.S. inter-modal transportation’s growth in 2018 will continue to be strong due to domestic demand and a stable performance so far in 2017, according to FTR.
ReverseLogix notes that companies should invest in different initiatives, such as a reverse logistics program, which is not entirely new to the logistics sector. FTR released its positive outlook on the industry after it suffered a decline in 2016.
Inter-modal business has increased 3.7% year to date, followed a 2.1% decline in total traffic in 2016. FTR said that this indicates a growth trend that will continue in the near future. This assumption is based on a 4.9% uptick in international business and a 2.6% increase in domestic business.
FTR inter-modal expert Larry Gross said that even as international business seems strong, it would be a major factor for a slightly lower outlook for 2018. Gross expects the inter-modal sector to post a 4.2% increase, as opposed to a 4.7% growth for the year 2017.
For domestic businesses, FTR anticipates it to remain strong ahead of an electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which will drive asset utilization past 98% in truckload capacity, according to Gross. The U.S. federal government will enforce it beginning on Dec. 18, 2017. Operators of vehicles without ELD’s will receive citations, although these vehicles will not be placed out of service until April 1, 2018. Gross and trucking executives believe that the implementation of the ELD will be a factor for favorable inter-modal business conditions in 2018.
Inter-modal shipping serves an important role in the U.S. freight transportation and logistics network. The positive outlook for 2018 means businesses should prepare for a steady pace of demand for services.