Insights - January/February 2018 - 10
industry," he said. "We need to work harder and
more effectively to attract and retain drivers and
other skilled employees."
Focus on Drivers
Drivers, naturally, are at the center of attention
at Swift Transportation, said Alan Tyson, vice
president of intermodal operations at the company.
"Drivers at one time were considered
expendable and they would always be there," the
Swift executive said. "That is not the case as we
roll year over year. At Swift we take great pride in
how we treat our drivers. The rail and shipping lines
have a part of this as well. Delays at the ports and
rails can quickly take away from the good things
on a daily basis," citing cooperative efforts such as
express lanes and smart phone apps.
"Great strides have been made to take care
of the driver but much more work is needed to be
done and it will take a culture change," said Tyson
in an interview. "The new generation of drivers are
very tech savvy and we as an industry need to
embrace it and not be afraid of it."
His particular concerns are to address drivers'
focus on three things: adequate miles, satisfactory
pay and their need for home time. In the not too
distant future, Tyson believes driver pay will have to
reach about $70,000 annually in order to ensure a
Over and above the broad service, capacity and
business relationships with customers and drivers,
the experts identified a wide range of other factors
that could help intermodal.
Montague stressed specific points related to
comments made by Hansen, Tyson and others,
while also assessing other factors affecting
ELD Compliance Impact
ELD compliance requirements, for example,
could help to increase intermodal moves in the
500- to 700-mile range, he believes. That will
happen because the new regulations shorten the
number of miles a driver can legally operate in
a day from the higher number toward the lower.
Particular growth opportunities are present east of
Chicago, he said.
Another ELD-related factor could help
intermodal in a different way, the DAT analyst
said. He believes that owner-operators who don't
like ELDs could be lured to shorter-haul drayage
because of high revenue opportunities in support
of e-commerce and final mile deliveries that fall
within the 100-mile exemption.
Intermodal also has changed favorably in
another way. Providers have improved their
sensitivity to spot market activity to the point
that truck/rail pricing is being adjusted almost
Capacity - continued on page 12
10 Intermodal Insights | January/February 2018
IANA Chairman Bailey Envisions Good Year
Ahead for Intermodal
Adriene Bailey, chairman of IANA's Board of Directors and
a principal at Brooks Davis Consulting, shared her views on the
industry's prospects for 2018 with Insights.
Her broad assessment is that intermodal should have a good
year due to growing freight demand, coupled with the industry's
inherent advantages in terms of lower driver and fuel costs.
On the demand side, increased activity from a growing economy,
consumer confidence that is among the highest in two decades and
the need for material to rebuild storm-ravaged areas will stimulate
business levels, she said.
"Drivers will be the first constraint we will feel when things get
tight in the freight network," said Bailey, who identified a market
opportunity in that situation. "Intermodal drivers have local jobs
which are relatively attractive versus long haul jobs if the wages are
An absolute base requirement for intermodal in 2018 is service,
given the recent industry experience when volume switched between
carriers both within the industry and to over the road after discernible
differences in performance.
"These kinds of service shifts are short-lived as the freight will
eventually move back to its preferred routing when the disruption is
resolved," Bailey said, based on economics and capacity.
It will be important, she said, that focusing on a strong 2018
performance does not divert some attention away from needed investments in technology and efficiency to sustain long-term improvements in both service and cost reductions.
"Those providers who are making bold investments ... will be
well positioned and ahead of the curve going into 2019," said Bailey.
"Shippers also need to be investing in ways to make their operations
more carrier conscious."
That is particularly important because tighter capacity drives
carriers to concentrate resources to maximize their networks.
In that environment, wasting driver hours or delaying equipment
at inefficient facilities will be factors in carrier decision-making,
along with other weaknesses such as excessive unloading time or
unfriendly appointment systems.
"Shippers who see the value in operational synergies with their
carriers will be rewarded with capacity and lower rates in the long
run," she said.
A particular area of focus is for providers to think strategically
while they also show operational savvy.
"Anyone can fill out a spreadsheet with rates, but long term
commercial relationships are forged when the provider brings
something to the table other than rates," the IANA chairman said.
"Operational expertise and the ability to help shippers get more
value out of their operations are things that foster those trust-based
One other important sales skill is the ability to say "no" when a
particular transaction isn't in the client's best interest and then help
the customer to find another path to address their problem without
hurting the service provider's interest, she added.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Insights - January/February 2018
Service, Capacity, Innovation Focus Will Help to Sustain Intermodal Progress
Intermodal Moves Toward ‘Digitization’ of Data
Ocean Carriers Focus on Continued Adjustment to Global Freight Network
Voice of the Shipper
Intermodal Industry Participants Stand to Gain from Tax Bill
Early Days of ELD Mandate Seem to Indicate Adjustment Period
International Intermodal News
Insights - January/February 2018 - Cover1
Insights - January/February 2018 - 2
Insights - January/February 2018 - 3
Insights - January/February 2018 - IANA News
Insights - January/February 2018 - 5
Insights - January/February 2018 - 6
Insights - January/February 2018 - 7
Insights - January/February 2018 - Service, Capacity, Innovation Focus Will Help to Sustain Intermodal Progress
Insights - January/February 2018 - 9
Insights - January/February 2018 - 10
Insights - January/February 2018 - 11
Insights - January/February 2018 - 12
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Moves Toward ‘Digitization’ of Data
Insights - January/February 2018 - 14
Insights - January/February 2018 - 15
Insights - January/February 2018 - Ocean Carriers Focus on Continued Adjustment to Global Freight Network
Insights - January/February 2018 - 17
Insights - January/February 2018 - 18
Insights - January/February 2018 - Freight Report
Insights - January/February 2018 - 20
Insights - January/February 2018 - Voice of the Shipper
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Industry Participants Stand to Gain from Tax Bill
Insights - January/February 2018 - 23
Insights - January/February 2018 - Early Days of ELD Mandate Seem to Indicate Adjustment Period
Insights - January/February 2018 - 25
Insights - January/February 2018 - 26
Insights - January/February 2018 - Government News
Insights - January/February 2018 - New Members
Insights - January/February 2018 - International Intermodal News
Insights - January/February 2018 - 30
Insights - January/February 2018 - 31
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Calendar