Intermodal Rail service is a multi billion dollar industry servicing both importers, exporters and domestic shippers. Most users of the service are paying for a door to door service similar to a truckload service. The truth about Intermodal rail service is that the rail portion of the service is only 1/3 of the service. The other 2/3 of Intermodal service is performed by trucking companies called Drayage providers. Drayage providers are trucking companies that service not only the ports and inland ports of North America but also the rail road ramps of North America. The door to door service of most domestic 53' intermodal is billed to customers as one bill and the customers do not see the drayage providers on the bill. When intermodal rail service has service issues it mostly comes from a failure of the drayage provider and not the railroad. Also on the flip side when the railroads have their own service issues the drayage providers suffer from either less work or an unbalanced amount of containers needing to moved.
Drayage providers who are mostly owner operators are hauling a very large portion of North America's Intermodal rail serivce. Without these drayge providers there can be NO intermodal rail service and without these drayage providers imports/exports would never be moved.
A very large portion of products you see in a store were handled at one point by a drayage trucking provider.