Rail & Intermodal

U.S. shippers’ potential shifting of imports from the West Coast to the East Coast would give the major eastern railroads more business, but how much the railroads will actually benefit depends on how much of the cargo is destined for the Midwest.

China’s manufacturing shift inland and rising domestic consumption has created a surge in demand for intermodal rail services unable to be fulfilled because of supply side constraints, according to a just-released World Bank report.

CSX Intermodal operation
Fierce late winter weather dealt a blow to U.S. railroads’ efforts to restore intermodal rail service to the level shippers enjoyed before the 2013-2014 winter dragged down performance.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are partnering with cargo interests, terminal operators, harbor truckers and the railroads to hasten the day when marine terminals become transit facilities rather than storage sites for containers.

CSX North Baltimore, Ohio, intermodal hub
The recent installation of the second of two wide-span gantry cranes at its intermodal hub in northwest Ohio, completing a $40 million expansion, is the latest sign of how the hub-and-spoke model of CSX Transportation, which gives shippers more origins and destinations, is paying off.

The frequency of spot market loads from Los Angeles is increasing as the West Coast container logjam begins to break.
Signs that the container logjam in Southern California is beginning to break are showing up on the truck spot market, as deconsolidated loads come up for grabs at West Coast warehouses.

If passed, a reintroduced U.S. Senate bill could help shippers gain faster relief from railroads, both in terms of service and rate challenges.

U.S. Senate legislation introduced on Wednesday could allow railroads to expedite construction of intermodal terminals and other projects, providing shippers with more capacity and more reliable service.

China is steadily adding to the rail network linking the mainland with central Asia and Europe, with a large portion of the $130 billion rail development budget for 2014 spent on improving connections in central and western parts of the country.

Canadian National Railway on Tuesday announced plans to build a $196 million intermodal and logistics hub outside of Toronto as its existing terminal serving Canada’s largest urban center nears capacity and regional freight demand builds.