Transportation 101: Better Understanding the Freight Industry

By Keaton Everett, Sales & Marketing Intern, MindShare Strategies

2016 PanelistsAs a newcomer to the transportation industry, I recently attended the TMSA Marketing & Sales Leadership Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. One session I attended was ideal, as it laid out the foundation for this industry. Most modes for transportation were covered: truck, rail/intermodal, and ocean.

Panelists presented many interesting statistics and industry terminology. For example, 70 percent of manufactured goods move by trucks annually, according to Thayne Boren of General Manager-Mobile Solutions for uDrove/Truckstop.com. This substantial volume shows how important trucks are to our economy. Boren also went on to state that there are over 500,000 trucking companies in the U.S. alone, and 80 percent of these have less than 20 trucks registered. This demonstrates how important both large and small trucking companies are to the transportation market.

Rail/intermodal is another engine that drives North American transportation. Marie-Chantal Savoy, Director of Marketing Innovation at CN, said the railroad is the backbone of the economy. Many people in our general society are inclined to believe that rail is a dying way of transportation, while in reality it is quite the opposite. Many manufacturers and retailers choose to ship by rail for its cost savings and efficiencies, and they have great success in doing so.

And what about the role of ocean lines and ports in the global marketplace? Trisha Duffy, Marketing Communications Manager for Maersk Line, explained the ins and outs of ocean transportation. She emphasized how the cargo volume through ports is growing rapidly, and ports are connecting markets throughout the world in more ways than we ever thought possible. Legislation is heavily impacting import and export operations. Overall, these three speakers did a very good job in breaking down how their segment of the industry works and the challenges that each have to overcome. 

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