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Analyzing Swift’s Intermodal segment

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What’s intermodal transportation?

Intermodal transportation involves transporting freight across multiple modes of transportation. It uses rail or ship. The freight isn’t handled when the transportation modes change. This allows the freight’s transportation to be faster and more secure. Also, it reduces the chances of the freight being damaged or lost. It significantly reduces the costs—compared to road trucking.

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Swift’s Intermodal segment

Swift Transportation (SWFT) is one of the strongest players in the Intermodal segment. It has a large and strong network. Its network spreads across the length and breadth of the US. Also, its network extends across the border to Mexico and Canada. The company has alliances with several rail carriers. The alliances help it access the Mexican and Canadian markets.

Swift’s Intermodal segment includes revenue generated by moving freight over rail in containers and other trailing equipment. It also includes revenue for drayage to transport loads between the railheads and customers’ locations.

It fully owns a Mexican carrier that helps its conduct its operations through nine strategically located terminals at Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, Mexico City, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi, Juarez, Nogales, Mexicali, and Tijuana.

Segment’s performance

The Intermodal segment’s revenue was up 4.5% year-over-year, or YoY, for the quarter. The revenue totaled $80.1 million. The segment witnessed a growth of 12.4% in COFC, or container on flatcar. The growth was offset by TOFC, or trailer on flatcar.

The year-to-date, or YTD, revenue grew by 9.2% to $233.9 million. The growth was accompanied by a stagnant operating ratio. It was impacted due to weather and issues with rail services. The company is positive about the segment. It added containers to the segment.

Swift focuses on growing loads with a shorter dray in order to improve dray density and increase container turns. Improving the freight selection will increase the segment’s profitability.

Other companies in the segment include Landstar Systems (LSTR), Werner Enterprise (WERN), and Saia (SAIA). The companies are part of the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT).

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