Transloading Growing Faster Than U.S. Imports

An interesting article on transloading. It’s usually done to change from 40 foot ocean containers to 53 foot US domestic ones, but can also be done to arbitrage freight rate differences.

Data In Motion

The transloading of merchandise from marine containers to domestic containers and trailers isn’t a new phenomenon in supply chain logistics, but for a variety of reasons, its use by retailers and direct importers is increasing faster than imports in general, especially in Southern California.

While transload volumes rose 6.6% in 2012, total containerized imports through Los Angeles-Long Beach increased only 2% over 2011.

Transloading volumes are affected by developments in the transportation industry, so they can accelerate or decelerate from year to year. For example, if railroads increase their IPI (inland point intermodal) rates for moving containers intact to inland destinations, retailers will normally increase their use of transloading.

Transloading Containerized Imports

Generally, the contents of three marine containers can be transloaded into two 53-foot containers, so there is an immediate savings in transportation costs.

Still, the long-term trend has been for transload traffic to increase at twice the rate of containers that…

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