New technologies and improved cooperation between railroads and truckload carriers are producing new opportunities for both transportation modes.

That was the message of CSX Intermodal president James Hertwig, delivered in comments to the recent Truckload Carriers Association conference, where he participated in an intermodal truckload panel discussion.

Others on the panel were John Hickerson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, FFE Transportation Services; and Patrick Quinn, president and co-chairman, U.S. Xpress Enterprises.

The participants noted that the truckload industry faces long-term challenges that include fuel costs and driver shortages — factors that continue to make intermodal transportation an attractive option.

“Railroads want to work with the truckload carriers,” said Hertwig.

“Intermodal transportation combines the efficiency of rail with the flexibility of trucks,” he said. “CSX Intermodal has undertaken a number of initiatives to make intermodal service more accessible than ever before.”

One of those is the recently introduced CSX QuickQuote, a 24-hour online quoting and tendering tool for door-to-door service aimed at brokers.

Hertwig said intermodal terminals are more trucker-friendly thanks to advanced gate processing.

By way of illustration, he cited “new ramp-to-door-to-ramp services that allow truckload carriers to reposition empty equipment automatically out of backhaul markets in pursuit of a new load.”