Rail & Intermodal

South Florida ports are readying themselves for gale force winds and a downpour of rain as Tropical Storm Erika prepares to make landfall in the Sunshine State this Monday.

Russian railway monopoly RZD plans to build a $30 million inland hub aimed at reducing congestion at the nearby St. Petersburg port and handling transshipped cargo from the country’s largest container gateway.

Last week U.S. intermodal volume growth hit its fastest pace in roughly two months.

China and Kazakhstan are working to more than double containerized rail traffic bound for Europe via the launch of the Trans-Caspian international transport route connecting China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

U.S. retailers and manufacturers are slicing into inventories they built up during the West Coast port labor dispute, contributing to what's reported to be a softer third-quarter freight market. Stronger consumer spending may help shippers balance inventories as peak season demand picks up.

Despite flatlining train speeds and persisting service issues, U.S. intermodal volumes have increased to their highest level in more than two months.

Duisburg boosted container traffic by 10 percent in the first half of the year, shrugging off German rail freight strikes and China’s economic slowdown, to consolidate its position as the world’s biggest inland port.

U.S. truckload rates continued to rise in July and domestic intermodal pricing dropped, as shippers continued to find it more and more difficult to justify converting business from highway to rail, according to Cass Information Systems and Avondale Partners.

Shippers looking to use rail between Europe and China have another option to consider as companies continue to

The surge in freight traffic that began in April dissipated in July, as shipments dropped 1.6 percent from June, the latest Cass Freight Index shows. That's a normal seasonal trend, Cass said, pointing out that volumes are still higher than in 2013 and the early economic recovery.