US Government in Intermodal Transportation


Transportation is determined to be the main factor of the US economic growth in the new century. The global market of cargo and transport services adheres to container transportation since it is the most profitable and reliable technology for non-transshipment cargo delivery on most types of transport like sea, road, and rail. The history of the container transportation system expansion includes an increase in the number of containers produced and the use of cargo-transporting technologies. However, Priemus, Nijkamp, and Konings (2008) argue that this process is hindered in the free market. The following historic examples showcase why the innovations in intermodal transportation should be independent of the US government, contrary to the authors’ statement.

Development of Container Transportation

Transport logistics specialists consider the emergence of full integration of all modes of transport into the multimodal transportation system as a major event in the development of container transportation. The first approach appeared and began to develop in North America, namely in the USA. The essence of this approach is the desire and attempts of container shipping operators to increase their influence on the internal and external transport and logistics market. The largest shipping lines assume responsibility for the risks that may arise along the entire route of the container, capturing land transportation by rail and container handling at transport hubs, at transshipment points (Okyere et al. 2019). The main reason for such a rapid development of multimodal transportation in the United States was the fierce competition in the international container transportation market. It is worth noting that the American model does not imply the active participation of the government in the development of this business.

Trade Turnover on Road Transport

Leading European scientists and the leadership of the European Union believe that the dependence of the economy and trade turnover on road transport hides a serious threat. It may be a possible stagnation or decline in economic growth due to unforeseen circumstances in the system of road transport communications. Precisely in this regard, there is a need in Europe for the development of intermodal and multimodal, that is, multimodal transport.

Development of Intermodal Transport

With the development of intermodal transport, the maximum integration of rail and sea transport into the public transport supply network will be resolved. In contrast, dependence on road transport will gradually decrease. Unlike the USA, in Western Europe, logistics operators engaged in intermodal cargo transportation have support, first of all, in the face of the state and the European Union as a whole (Cannas et al. 2020). Many Western scientists believe that the quality of services offered and lower transportation tariffs are important factors in increasing the competitiveness of rail transport. In the United States, to reduce costs during the railway operation, they often use the transportation of containers in several tiers, two or three (Zahed, Shahandashti, & Najafi 2019). However, for the high-quality performance of such a batch, it was necessary to change the infrastructure seriously. A significant part of the cargo delivered by sea is transported by rail to date.


In conclusion, the multimodal cargo transportation market has its peculiarities since automobile cargo carriers competing with railway carriers can transport goods at reduced prices. Priemus, Nijkamp, and Konings (2008) suggest that the US government should catalyze innovations in intermodal transportation and that the industry has been limited in its ability to deliver these innovations in a free market economy. However, the evident growth of imports contributing to an increase in the volume of container cargo transportation and increasing the railway’s attractiveness demonstrates that government regulation is not needed. A global experience shows that containerization worldwide continues to grow as it is a universal way of cargo delivery. Thus, with the growth of competition in the container transportation market, the quality of this container transportation should grow independently of US government regulations.


Cannas, V. G., Ciccullo, F., Pero, M., & Cigolini, R. (2020). Sustainable innovation in the dairy supply chain: Enabling factors for intermodal transportation. International journal of production research, 58(24), 7314-7333.

Priemus, H., Nijkamp, P., Konings J. (2008). The Future of intermodal freight transport: Operations, design and policy. Edward Elgar.

Okyere, S., Yang, J. Q., Aning, K. S., & Zhan, B. (2019). Review of sustainable multimodal freight transportation system in African developing countries: Evidence from Ghana. In the international journal of engineering research in Africa. Vol. 41, pp. 155-174. Trans tech publications Ltd.

Zahed, S. E., Shahandashti, S. M., & Najafi, M. (2018). Financing underground freight transportation systems in Texas: Identification of funding sources and assessment of enabling legislation. Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice, 9(2).

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