J.B. Hunt Expects Intermodal Traffic to Grow

A cut of JB Hunt containers bring up the rear of NS train 27R in North East, Pennsylvania.

A trucking company that makes extensive use of intermodal transportation believe is optimistic that intermodal volume will grow faster than truck transportation.

Officials at J.B. Hunt Transport Services acknowledged this week that capacity constraints in Southern California are hindering intermodal traffic.

But in the long term Hunt expects its intermodal volume to grow to 10 million loads annually, up from about 2 million currently.

Hunt has a fleet of 98,700 domestic intermodal containers with orders pending for 6,000 new boxes to be delivered this year.

During a quarterly earnings call Hunt said its intermodal volume in the fourth quarter grew by 1 percent with much of it coming from traffic originating on BNSF.

However, fourth quarter volume in the East was flat. Norfolk Southern is Hunt’s largest intermodal partner in that region.

Congestion at western terminals in the fourth quarter kept Hunt from growing intermodal volume further.

That congestion was triggered by a sharp increase in imports and labor issues.

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