Rail & Intermodal

There are seven Class I railroads in the U.S. that haul the largest share of domestic and international goods: BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad in the West, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern in the East, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railway. Along with regional short line carriers, these railroads haul a variety of bulk and retail goods, from coal and grain to consumer goods.

News & Analysis

Port of Prince Rupert
09 Jul 2014
Canadian National Railway will issue equipment allocations to ocean carrier customers shipping through Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert as it struggles to cope with what it called an unexpected surge in U.S.-bound cargo linked to the July 1 expiration of the U.S. West Coast longshore contract.
Three trains a day shuttle between the SEAT plant and the Port of Barcelona.
14 May 2014
BARCELONA, Spain — In the middle of the rolling coastal mountains near this Mediterranean seaport a huge auto plant sprawls. The SEAT plant, which serves as the headquarters of Spain’s only domestic automaker, makes four different models, three under SEAT brand names and the Audi Q3, which is part of the family of cars produced by Volkswagen of Germany, which acquired control of the Spanish company in 1986. Most of the plant’s production is bound for export markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Bill Clement
12 May 2014
Bill Clement, CSX Transportation vice president, on misconceptions about intermodal's ability to reach smaller and mid-tier markets, the ease of highway-to-rail cargo conversion and CSX expansions this year.
12 May 2014
How fast U.S. and Canadian railroads can improve their intermodal services over the next several weeks, after a devastating winter, will determine how much domestic volume growth they will see this year.
12 May 2014
A new fixed-day, weekly container rail service links Moscow to the Far East of Russia, and Ruscon, the operator, plans to dispatch more container trains between central and eastern Russia in the “near future.”
UP intermodal train
08 May 2014
Union Pacific Railroad appears to be taking advantage of shippers’ frustrations with BNSF Railway service between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago — one of the busiest North American intermodal lanes — by launching its own service between Portland and Chicago.
IDS Top 36 Lane Index
06 May 2014
Intermodal rates in the U.S. dropped for a third straight week as transportation through Chicago recovers from wintertime snarls.
Snow in Chicago.
02 May 2014
CHICAGO — Chicago is living up to its reputation as the nation’s transportation bottleneck.
29 Apr 2014
Some shippers this winter couldn’t deal with tightening truck capacity by shifting loads to intermodal trains even if they wanted to.
24 Apr 2014
U.S. intermodal should see another year of robust demand, provided that rail service recovers following service disruptions in the first quarter, according to an executive from Hub Group.
24 Apr 2014
Norfolk Southern Railway said it expects to “get some uplift in intermodal pricing” for about a third of its intermodal business, as truck capacity tightens and over-the-road rates increase as a result.

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Commentary

There’s been no shortage of turbulence on the West Coast lately, and more is in store with the midnight June 30 expiration of the ILWU contract. In addition, there has been mounting pressure on Pacific Northwest ports, seemingly caught in a vise between the western Canadian ports to the north and California to the south.