- An originating train not having enough freight to meet tonnage requirements resulting in delays by a few hours or a day or two,
- Longer than expected interchange times, which is when containers switch from one railroad to another. This is usually a two-day process, but can take longer.
One of the most common type of questions when people ask us about shipping intermodal is, what makes a good intermodal customer? Or sometimes, what would constitute a not-so-great intermodal customer? One of the first things to look at is, where are your shipper and receiver physically located? The U.S. rail intermodal network covers a large portion of the country, however there are some regions that may not be intermodal friendly. Some of these areas would include, much of Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Oklahoma. Even though an area may have rail service, every rail yard or ramp may not be an intermodal facility. If a shipper or receiver is more than 100- to 150- miles from the nearest rail ramp, the dray cost could prohibit that lane from being cost effective. Another aspect to consider is, do your shippers and receivers have some flexibility with their shipping or receiving hours? Rail movements can be less than precise at times, for various reasons, which could include but are not limited to: