• ITVI.USA
    16,014.360
    14.660
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.006
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.430
    0.240
    1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,995.600
    10.280
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.930
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.620
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.330
    -0.040
    -2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.570
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.390
    0.070
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.130
    0.020
    0.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    16,014.360
    14.660
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.006
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.430
    0.240
    1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,995.600
    10.280
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.930
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.620
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.330
    -0.040
    -2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.570
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.390
    0.070
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.130
    0.020
    0.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperIntermodalShipping

Commentary: Inland ports’ growing importance

Interior hubs are providing cheaper and faster options for transporting goods as volumes rise and consumers demand quicker deliveries.

   As port volumes continue to increase throughout the United States and show no sign of letting up, while the nation’s infrastructure is failing to keep up the pace, the concept of inland ports is becoming increasingly common — and important.
   Bigger containerships but fewer calls result in larger amounts of cargo being offloaded at once, and the U.S. transit system outside the ports has not kept up with this trend fast enough, causing congestion and delays.
   The average containership on the Asia-to-North America (U.S. and Canada) trade stands at 7,497 TEUs, up from 6,889 TEUs two years prior, according to BlueWater Reporting’s Capacity Report.
   North America is likely to see larger containerships trickle down from the Asia-North Europe trade, thus exacerbating congestion issues at U.S. ports.
   Inland ports can help to stagger out this congestion so the supply chain isn’t relying on major transportation chokepoints as much.
   Inland ports also are becoming increasingly important due to rising intermodal volumes. During the fourth quarter of 2017, intermodal freight volumes increased 5.8 percent year-over-year, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s fourth quarter and year-end Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.
   In addition, inland ports often can provide a cheaper, faster option in a world where consumers have an “I-want-it-now” mentality and are likely to buy more as the economy continues to improve.
   Challenges in the trucking and rail markets mean shippers have to stay on top of making sure they are choosing the cheapest and fastest option.
   In trucking, the capacity shortage and rising diesel prices are resulting in higher prices to ship goods. Some trucking companies are beginning to offer higher salaries and other incentives to retain and attract drivers, but the shortage still looms.
   As of April 23, U.S. diesel prices stood at $3.133 per gallon (including all taxes), the highest since early January 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
   In rail, just last month, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board had sent letters to all seven Class I railroads over deteriorating service and how they plan to fix service issues.
   Inland ports have been quickly emerging across the nation over the last few years, allowing the industry to better handle these challenges.
   Earlier this month, the South Carolina Ports Authority held the grand opening of Inland Port Dillon, after launching Inland Port Greer in 2013. “Inland ports provide needed infrastructure in the interior of the state to support the movement of freight to and from our marine terminals,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a statement.
    In the heartland, Decatur, Ill.’s Midwest Inland Port, a multimodal transportation hub with direct access to three Class I railroads and an intermodal ramp that averages 24-minute turn times, has provided shippers that used to have their goods transit through Chicago with a cheaper and faster option.
   Chicago may have the trucks, but they do not have the chassis available, and that is where the issue comes into play, Nicole Bateman, executive director of Decatur’s Midwest Inland Port, told American Shipper. Decatur has the chassis, drivers and the quick turn times, she said.
   With the ongoing trends in the logistics and transportation industry, it’s likely only a matter of time before additional inland ports pop up across the nation, easing congestion, and getting goods to consumers faster.

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