The FTR Experts were posed with the question, "How long will intermodal demand stay strong?"
Following The 2021 Outlook, the final session of the FTR Engage virtual speaking series, the FTR Experts sat down to answer listener questions beyond what was covered during the Q&A within the presentation.
- Expect strong imports to continue. Import volume will support intermodal staying strong through the lunar new year in mid-February, when factories shut down in China.
- The ordering pattern for the rest of 2021 will provide insight on how long intermodal continues to run at such a high level.
- Long-term will depend on how quickly trucking utilization tightens. Without additional capacity in the trucking system, intermodal likely stays strong longer. Trucking capacity depends on fleets taking delivery of new class eight trucks and bringing in new truck drivers and rehiring truck drivers that have been on the sidelines during the pandemic.
- There is a reduction in the CDL that is not going away at the end of 2020 or even when the vaccine is widely distributed. The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has taken out 1.5% of active CDL drivers by our estimate. We don't see similar past scenarios playing out the same way this time.