OAKLAND, Calif.-The future for intermodal retreading should remain bright. But a spokesman for one large West Coast-based company which does intermodal tire retreading predicts companies will use more composite-type material for containers and go to multi-stack shipping even more extensively, resulting in ``fewer locomotives hauling around more freight.''
He also foresees more alliances among railroad, trucking and shipping companies, producing conglomerates or transportation companies that do more than one type of shipping.
How will those changes affect intermodal tire retreaders?
``As long as (shippers are) moving product around and using tires, whether with chassis or trailers, it will continue to consume a lot of tires,'' the retreader said. But he also sees the possibility of more railheads going into shipping areas, thus requiring less of a need for intermediary types of transportation and movement of product on the ground by trucks.
While the industry still uses a lot of trailers, Jim Perrine, of Crowley American Transport Inc., said there is a growing trend toward use of double stacked containers-without tires-on railroad cars, rather than the traditional piggyback trailers.
Although there are ``pockets of activity'' for radial intermodal recapping, bias retreads are still the industry's ``bread-and-butter product,'' said one retreader, adding that the availability of quality bias casings remains the biggest issue facing intermodal retreaders.