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- Mark McKendry
While intermodal has historically been dominated with standard dry goods, several intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) now are investing in temperature-controlled containers to handle perishables on trains. For many years, reefer containers were unable to hold as many pallets as a standard reefer trailer, and US Class I railroads have been nudging IMCs away from trailer-on-flatcar business because it’s not as efficient as containers-on-flatcar business. A new “Slimline” model of reefer containers, however, has closed the gap on carrying capacity, allowing IMCs to effectively compete for perishable freight. Large IMCs such as Hub Group and J.B. Hunt Transport Services also have entered the temperature-controlled intermodal market, competing against more legacy providers in temperature-controlled trucking and intermodal such as C.R. England, KLLM Transport, Marten Transport, NFI Industries, Prime, and TigerCool Express. This session will assess the future of temperature-controlled intermodal and what the future may hold for this newer way to move temperature-controlled freight in the US.