Intermodal Expo 2023 Recap

The Intermodal Association of North America booth in the Long Beach Convention Center’s exhibit hall during the annual IANA Expo. Photo:
Mark Nero.

The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) held its annual expo, an event dedicated to and for the intermodal industry, on Sept. 11-13 in Long Beach, Calif.

The event, which attracted more than 1,800 attendees is, according to IANA, the only forum on the continent that brings together the entire intermodal freight industry, including executives from 3PLs, ocean carriers, railroads, ports, motor carriers, suppliers and shippers.

Highlights of the three-day program included:

Inside Intermodal: a team of analysts provided their views of what’s happening in the industry and where it’s headed, with detailed coverage of ocean carriers, truckers and 3PLs. The panel, moderated by Evan Armstrong of Armstrong & Associates, included experts from ACT Research, Sea-Intelligence and Gross Transportation Consulting.

Mexico-U.S. Crossborder In Focus. U.S./Mexico trade has seen significant rail network changes in 2023, while disengagement from China and resulting near-shoring of production promises to greatly enlarge the cross-border market. This panel tackled whether this signals a “golden era” for intermodal transiting the border between the two countries.

Reimagining the Global Supply Chain. This session delved into the vast changes that are underway regarding where freight is coming from, where it’s going, how it’s getting there and when it’s moving. The discussion tackled what the “new normal” looks like and what intermodal needs to do to prepare to meet the needs of its BCO customers.

During a panel discussion on detention and demurrage, Noel Hacegaba, the chief operating officer at the Port of Long Beach, revealed that the port intends to launch a new appointment system for drayage trucks picking up and dropping off cargo at terminals.

“The Port of Long Beach is taking the first step in developing an agnostic appointment portal which will eventually get us to a universal appointment system,” Hacegaba told Pacific Maritime in a one-on-one interview following the panel discussion.

“The idea is to design it working with two of our terminals, demonstrate that it works and that it adds value to the system and once we get to that point, our intent is to scale up and eventually get us to a universal appointment system,” he explained.

The event’s keynote speech was by John Foley, the former lead solo of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, who discussed flying at speeds of more than 500 mph in formations as close as 18 inches apart, and the lessons that can be applied in the intermodal industry.

In addition, more than 130 companies from across the U.S. and Canada had booths in the exhibit hall where they shared their products and services, all designed to support the growth and advancement of the intermodal industry.

Among them was ORBCOMM Inc., a global provider of supply chain IoT (Internet of Things) technology. During the expo, the company announced that it has launched a new solar-powered asset tracking device that enables fleets of any size to cost-effectively monitor trailers, intermodal containers and other transportation assets.

“We’re making it easy,” Gregg Plonisch, ORBCOMM’s Senior Vice President of Product Management said, for fleets of any size with multiple asset types to know what is happening across their operations to boost efficiency, improve decision making and keep their assets flowing smoothly along the supply chain.”  

Mark Edward Nero can be reached at