Rail & Intermodal

The volume of intermodal units moving on U.S. railroads last week reached a record high for the railroad industry, according to the Association of American Railroads, furthering signs that the peak season is starting for intermodal shippers as the ocean peak recedes.

LA stacktrain
The percent of import containers arriving at the Los Angeles-Long Beach gateway that were transloaded into domestic containers for onward rail transport into the interior U.S. continued to increase last year and is forecast to continue rising in 2014.

Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Railway doesn’t expect rail service to start getting back to normal levels until the end of March 2015, with most customers not seeing any improvement until November 2014.

Florida East Coast Railway
Florida East Coast Railway launched at 53-foot domestic container service two weeks ago, giving North Carolina shippers a new option to ship goods to South Florida for either domestic consumption or to transload for export.

BNSF coal train, British Columbia
BNSF Railway is spending billions of dollars to double-track key segments of its northern tier route, purchase equipment and hire additional crew, but a company executive told grain shippers this week it could take two to three years for the investments to produce all of the results they are looking for.

Canadian National Railway faces a fine from the Canadian government after failing to obey Ottawa’s order to move a minimum amount of grain weekly.

UP intermodal double-stack train
International intermodal volume growth in North America dropped markedly in August, providing another sign that the lack of a U.S. West Coast longshore contract hangs less on retailers’ necks because the majority of their holiday goods have arrived in the U.S.

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.