Intermodal traffic dropped for the first time since the recession:

Railroads transported 13.5 million intermodal containers in 2016.  Despite this number, the overall transportation declined by 1.6% from 2015 when 13.7 million containers were moved.  Although it was a tough year for railroad freight overall, the fourth quarter indicated a positive rise.   Several factors could have contributed to this decline; a weaker economy, disorder in energy, or even the drop in truck rates.  The cheaper cost of a truck may have resulted in more shippers switching freight modes from rail to over - the -road to save money.  However, many forecasters predict a stronger year for intermodal in 2017.  Truck rates will continue to rise and tuck capacity will tighten as electronic logging monitors are enforced more regularly.  For these reasons, we should see an increase in intermodal freight as we move through the year ahead.