The deal sets the stage for sustained, long-term intermodal service in the Eastern U.S. as Schneider National’s intermodal volumes increase, the companies said.
The agreement with the railroad provides Schneider’s shipper customers with preferential loading in some circumstances to speed intermodal shipments. “Truckload capacity is getting tighter and shippers need creative new solutions to move freight,” said Bill Matheson, president of intermodal services for Schneider.
Shippers in the East and Midwest will feel the majority of the pain from the tight driver market in 2012, Matheson said, and intermodal is the right medicine.
“Eastern intermodal service will provide significant relief to shippers who convert truckload freight,” Matheson said. “Schneider will be significantly adding additional containers, tractors and drivers to its fleet to prepare for the increased demand.”
Schneider, the second-largest truckload carrier in the U.S., first named CSX Transportation its primary eastern railroad in 2008. The Green Bay, Wis.-carrier also has intermodal contracts with BNSF Railway in the West, as well as with Canadian National in Canada and Kansas City Southern Railway in Mexico.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX opened its northwest Ohio intermodal terminal last year to fuel intermodal growth in the East. The North Baltimore, Ohio terminal is the western anchor of CSX’s National Gateway doublestack corridor. Last October, CSX signed a contract with ocean carrier Maersk Line to haul cargo from Portsmouth, Va., to the Midwest via the Ohio intermodal gateway.
“The current economic conditions and business environment tell us there will be more interest than ever in finding cost-effective, reliable modes for moving freight,” said Bill Clement, vice president of intermodal at CSX Transportation. “Increased use of intermodal service is certain to be a part of that conversation,” he said.