Journal of Transportation Management


This paper examines the basic relationships which shippers, carriers, and facility operators have developed in the design and operation of bulk intermodal facilities, or transload terminals. The analysis is based on 349 truck-served transload facilities throughout the United States. The facilities are examined for commodity types being handled and the types of handling equipment being used. The results demonstrate a strong relationship between certain handling procedures and commodity types. Additionally, the size and volume of the facilities are related by commodity types and the number of rail spots. Finally, the specialization or dedication of a large number of facilities to individual commodities is addressed, as well as the basic thoughts on their investment needs to attract suitable customers. The information provided demonstrates that the market is very segmented on the basis of materials being handled, and that many facilities are commodity, and initially customer driven. These findings are important to transload providers in increasing their asset utilization, and also to users that seek efficient and effective transportation alternatives to meet their logistical needs.