shipping containers stacked at the Port of Long BeachIntermodal Rail Service Becomes Lucrative for Domestic Transport – Intermodal rail transport is becoming a competitive option for domestic shipments traditionally handled by truckload carriers. In fact, it is now being used on routes as short as 500 miles.  According to rail carrier Union Pacific, rail transportation is 3 times more fuel efficient than trucking.  This fact is being touted to promote the service as both environmentally friendly and cost efficient.  The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) states that in the second quarter alone, domestic container traffic has increased to over 1.2 million containers – a 9% increase over last year.

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Port Tracker Forecasts Strong Import Growth in the Future – According to the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates’ monthly Global Port Tracker, U.S. imports are to rise 11.8% after a slow summer. Despite this news, the founder of Hackett Associates expressed caution about future cargo flows and how seasonal imports and exports add to instability in the market. Although imports have proven strong in August and September, this post-summer volume spike is due to low inventory levels needing to be raised for the back-to-school and Thanksgiving season. Year-over-year growth for 2011 is predicted to be at 15.4 million TEUs – a 4.3% increase over 2010.

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3D Printed Car on Display in Canada – A Minneapolis based company is using an innovative 3D printing process to manufacture body components for a new electric vehicle called the Urbee.  The new car is the first of its kind to use this technology and was recently unveiled in Canada. Researchers see 3D printing as a way to transform the production lines and supply chains of the future.

Read more from BBC.

Boeing Targets Half of China’s Aircraft Purchases – China’s aviation industry is projecting double-digit growth over the next two decades.   Boeing is making a bid for at least half of the country’s new purchases – an estimated 5,000 new commercial planes.  Despite using more than 35 parts suppliers in China, Boeing doesn’t assemble any aircrafts in the PRC.  Their largest competitor, European based Airbus, operates a major production facility in Tianjin.

Read more from Reuters.