Rail & Intermodal

A key metric of U.S. intermodal rail service continues to show improvement even as volume builds, giving shippers a better shot of seeing the level of service they saw in 2012-2013 as soon as the spring.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — With transloading capacity scarce in Vancouver, an inland port 200 miles away aims to give forestry exporters the consistency in stuffing their products into containers they might not find in the greater Vancouver area.

Greece’s new radical left wing government is set to freeze the planned sale of the state’s stakes in Athens airport, the port of Thessaloniki and rail companies as it seeks to tear up some of the conditions of its 240 billion euro ($271 billion) bailout agreement.

Canadian National Railway expects intermodal to stay strong as shippers frustrated with U.S. West Coast port congestion push U.S-bound loads through Canadian ports and onto its network running through Chicago and down to New Orleans.

Norfolk Southern in the snow
Railroads and trucking companies said shipping delays would be unavoidable Tuesday in the wake of severe winter weather that dropped as much as 2 feet of snow in some corners of the Northeast.

Norfolk Southern Railway said poor network velocity cost it some domestic intermodal volume in the fourth quarter, but the railroad said overall service has turned a corner, allowing it to better handle expected domestic and international intermodal traffic growth this year.

Union Pacific train at grain silos
Grain handlers in the northern Midwest say they are getting faster rail service, speeding soybean exports to the Pacific Northwest.

Congestion and delays at U.S. West Coast ports meant UPS had to scramble to get containerized goods into its inland delivery network and to customers. Higher purchased transportation costs were a factor in lower fourth-quarter earnings.

Kansas City Southern Railway’s intermodal traffic increased 8 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2014, despite congestion from other U.S. railroads and cross-border diversions that cost it some volume.

Canadian National Railway turned down a request by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference to extend the current conciliation process by 60 days, saying additional time isn’t required to reach an agreement.