Intermodal transportation can be understood as the of use of different carriers or modes to transport goods from a shipper to the consignee, while in special standardized compartments called intermodal containers. Since the containers have similar characteristics, they allow for transfer from mode to mode without the need to be opened or handled. It is, therefore, an ideal means of facilitating imports, exports, as well as, cross-continental shipments.

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Due to its efficiency, intermodal transportation was adopted by the United States in the early 19th century to facilitate trade with countries in Europe (Crainic & Kim, 2006). Since then, it has experienced massive expansion and growth over the years, spanning across boundaries. This brought about the need, by the respective governments, to conduct regulations and deregulations in the industry. Regulation making can be traced as far back as the year 1887, when the interstate commerce commission was formed to act as a regulatory board handling issues in intermodal transportation. Since then, the deregulation and regulations made have served as guidelines to the means, posing both negative and positive impacts on the growth of the industry. They are discussed as follows.

Positive Impacts
Deregulation implies a limitation or reduction of government power within a particular economic sphere. According to Crainic and Kim (2006), the most prominent impact of deregulation in the industry has been a rather significant increase in competition. According to statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the deregulation of the rail, aviation, maritime shipping as well as motor carrier industries has resulted in the emergence of more participants over the past few decades. This, in turn, has led to the creation of a more competitive environment that has caused a reduction of market monopoly and, in the process, increased the need for innovation. The availability of more options has also resulted in cheaper rates and the adoption of faster and even more efficient means of transportation.

Regulations, on the other hand, constituting of policies set by the government to exercise control, have also had positive impacts on the industry. Such policies include those set on safety, in which, the introduction of different laws and their implementation, has resulted in reduced rates of errors within the industry. These errors may come in the form of accidents or damages made on roads as well as on goods in transit. The policies have allowed for the emergence of a larger population of drivers who are more informed and aware of safety laws (Lowe, 2005). Those in violation of the laws, including drunk or inexperienced drivers, have been subjected to punishment and legal sanctions, consequently resulting in fewer risk occurrence and more flawless transportation protocols within the intermodal industry. Ultimately, the reduction of risks within the sector has attracted more investors and clients, leading to substantial growth in the field.

Negative impacts
Apart from operating facilities and buildings, the government imposes regulation on various other features of intermodal transport operations. These include; areas of land use (such as wetland preservation and zoning), the size of trucks and their weight, economic regulations on ocean shipping, environmental rules as well as anti-trust regulations. Some of the regulations set are a bit harder for people to adhere to. They act as restrictions on free entry of individuals, among other interested parties, into the trade (Lowe, 2005). These may include foreigners who are unfamiliar with practices of state and others lacking the means to satisfy certain legal requirements.

It is also notable that the government works to serve its own interests first. It gives priorities to the government agencies operating in the ports, roads, waterways, and ports, thus limiting functions of private agencies in the industry. These, together with tax, maritime, and certain antitrust regulations set by the government, have greatly inhibited the growth of the intermodal transport industry.