Rail & Intermodal

silos with harvested soybeans
Delays this year in moving agricultural products by rail and barge from the Upper Midwest to ports in the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast could undermine the position of the U.S. as the world’s premier supplier of soybeans, a transportation specialist told the annual meeting of the Midwest Shippers Association Wednesday.

Railroad tracks
A Senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would push the U.S. rail regulatory agency to more quickly address major issues between railroads and some carload shippers, but its prospects for passage are unclear

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack urged Warren Buffett last week to ensure that his BNSF Railway will be prepared to deliver a potential record U.S. corn and soybean harvest this year, the latest sign of political pressure on the rail industry to improve poor service.

China-Europe rail services continue to grow in popularity with DHL the latest forwarder to offer a new weekly scheduled block train from Suzhou to Poland.

Container ship owner-charterer Seaspan Corp. is considering an acquisition of Greater China Intermodal Investments, the Carlyle Group investment vehicle with which Seaspan partnered in 2011 to purchase new ships.

Rail service problems are starting to hurt truckers with intermodal operations, especially those such that move refrigerated goods, a transportation analyst says.

Norfolk Southern train
Norfolk Southern Railway told shippers not to expect service improvements until late November, as peak volumes and annual maintenance work blunt efforts to restore network velocity.

The acquisition of Pacer International earlier this year tapped several trends driving growth at XPO
Fast-growing third-party logistics companies are tuning into and tapping broad trends driving logistics growth in the U.S. and globally, including increased cross-border trade and the expansion of intermodal rail. Here are seven trends picked by XPO Logistics CEO Bradley S. Jacobs.

Wrap-up
A new carrier alliance entered the fray this week after weeks of feverish speculation.

The volume of intermodal units moving on North American railroads last week rose year-over-year, according to the Association of American Railroads, a sign that the peak season is now kicking in for intermodal shippers as the ocean peak recedes.