Rail & Intermodal

Rail & Intermodal

The latest news, analysis, and developments affecting rail transport globally. Rail transport in the United States is dominated by privately held Class I railroads such as BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Canadian Pacific and National Railways also operate in the United States.  

News & Analysis

06 Dec 2019
IHS Markit points to a “modest upturn” in the US economy, with consumer demand keeping freight in motion.
The Port of Oakland.
15 Aug 2018
Looks can be deceptive. Terminal operators, a very visible component of container shipping, are often the first to be criticized by BCOs and truckers when there are delays in delivering cargo. However, they have no control over the various transport modes that bring cargo to them.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust
15 Aug 2018
Officials concluded that instead of a sudden, sweeping policy change, the port will work toward reducing free times for all "export containers" handled via inland container depots (ICDs) to six days from seven days and, depending on the progress, a further reduction will be considered.
Trucks travel in Florida.
14 Aug 2018
Record US imports, combined with constraints on intermodal and already tight truckload capacity, point to one outcome for US spot market truck rates.
Freight cars at a railyard.
14 Aug 2018
There is a lot of potential volume out there for intermodal to tap, if it could only solve the interchange dilemma. Instead, the sector seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
Truck at loading dock in Illinois, United States.
13 Aug 2018
For those shippers and intermodal market companies trying to figure out how to handle cargo movement through Chicago on lanes in which interline service will be eliminated, the options are hardly ideal. But there are options.
Railroad yard.
09 Aug 2018
In an era in which considerable, new intermodal business is there, US railroads argue they need to balance the interests of investors and shippers. Shippers argue there hasn’t been a balance.
A chemical plant.
09 Aug 2018
US chemical producers knew a sector boom would create logistics challenges. But what they did not anticipate was other growing sectors putting extreme pressure on US trucking as well, with a huge spillover to intermodal rail.
Intermdoal rail.
08 Aug 2018
Containers were one of only five items among the original 284 items granted a reprieve by the US working group consisting of nearly a dozen federal agencies.
Union Pacific Railroad.
08 Aug 2018
Union Pacific sent a notice to shippers Friday that the UMAX interline service would cease in 197 lanes on Sept. 17, blaming CSX Transportation service changes. CSX said the service change was necessary to manage evolving needs, the first step in CEO Jim Foote’s vision to implement precision railroading into the intermodal network.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
08 Aug 2018
Direct port delivery — in which importers can clear their cargo direct from the wharf within 48 hours of landing at the port — is an integral part of the Indian government’s efforts to decrease cargo dwell times and increase productivity.
A truck travels in Mexico.
07 Aug 2018
Cargo owners and transporters are fighting back against theft — and they’re deploying new tools and strategies, in what will have to be a comprehensive effort to adequately address the problem.
A freight train in Mexico.
06 Aug 2018
Like other emerging markets, it is a “bad news, good news,” circumstance for Mexico. The bad: surface transportation and logistics operations are straining to meet shipper demands. The good: Mexico appears to have arrived on the global trade stage, with all key metrics advancing.
A freight train travels in Russia.
05 Aug 2018
China-to-Europe via Russia rail transport has been in an uptrend since 2013, and global growth and consumer trends point to even stronger growth ahead if rail officials can meet the infrastructure and related needs of shippers.
PSA International Rail Yard.
03 Aug 2018
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust handles the majority of India’s container freight and, as such, the government is extremely keen on reducing cargo dwell times there.
A Hapag-Lloyd ship.
30 Jul 2018
At mid-2018, nearly every segment of Europe’s supply chain is straining to keep pace with strong container shipping volume growth — particularly barge and inland haulage. The good news is Europe’s impressive trade growth story continues — a welcomed economic rejuvenation.
CSX Transportation.
27 Jul 2018
Although CSX’s new CEO is a follower of the late, great E. Hunter Harrison’s precision railroading, there are reasons shippers should look for a softer approach to their concerns.
A truck travels on a road in Russia.
26 Jul 2018
Unlike rail and ocean transportation, Russian auto transport, which accounts for almost 75 percent of all container cargo delivered in Russia, is very non-transparent, with limited statistics available, and that has led to criticism by shippers.
Antwerp port.
26 Jul 2018
It is another bad news, good news statistic for Antwerp and Rotterdam. The bad: an intermodal operator has warned that barge congestion is already causing delays of up to 36 hours at Antwerp and 72 hours at Rotterdam. The good: container volume growth continues to shine.
Intermodal containers on a train in the US.
25 Jul 2018
Tariffs on containers are unwarranted and will needlessly raise costs throughout the supply chain, business leaders testifying on Capitol Hill agreed.
An intermodal freight train.
24 Jul 2018
A variety of factors, including strong domestic US freight demand, is putting pressure on cross-border trucking between Mexico and the United States.
Canadian National Railway.
24 Jul 2018
Jean-Jacques Ruest has been with Canadian National since 1996, spending the last eight years as executive vice president.
Port of Prince Rupert.
23 Jul 2018
The Northwest Seaport Alliance argues the market share loss is due to cheaper intermodal rail rates, but Prince Rupert says that is not the case — that two other factors are driving its value proposition.
20 Jul 2018
E-commerce and high-speed rail are enabling China-Europe rail services to give the air cargo industry a run for its money.
17 Jul 2018
US tariffs on Chinese imports are threatening to not only increase costs for shippers, but also force them to pay more for the equipment they use.
16 Jul 2018
US shippers are desperate for surface capacity and turning to modes they previously shunned as a result.
16 Jul 2018
Asia-Europe shippers are looking more at southern European ports as intermodal bottlenecks slow container delivery through some of the big North Europe gateways.
16 Jul 2018
Authorities at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust believe less free time for rail shipments would improve port operations, but shipping agents are dubious.
Union Pacific Railroad.
13 Jul 2018
There's no 'leisurely summer' for Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz; he's working to build capacity and work through short-run imbalances, while bracing for impact of trade disputes.
BNSF US Montana
12 Jul 2018
In the past, resourceful supply chain managers always had alternatives in their hip pocket to meet the unexpected, for a price. Not this year. In 2018, shippers should not expect surge freight capacity.
A warehouse in the United States.
10 Jul 2018
Shippers that use the Port of New York and New Jersey may find that Syracuse offers an attractive option once a rail-linked inland port is built. But will its lower rent offset higher logistics costs?
A BNSF intermodal freight train in Illinois, United States.
10 Jul 2018
US beneficial cargo owners will face unprecedented challenges using intermodal this peak season. Still, there are time-tested tactics that will ensure the best possible transportation result.
Trucks travel in the Netherlands.
10 Jul 2018
Above-trend GDP growth is boosting the continent's commerce, and that’s triggered a steady uptrend in trucking rates, amid tighter capacity — and several factors suggest an even more challenging transport market is ahead for logistics planners and transportation managers.
Chassis at the Port of Long Beach.
09 Jul 2018
Efficient supply chains contain the premise that for every container there is a chassis available. But don't tell shippers that, as the issue has been a thorn in their side and that of other container trade stakeholders for nearly a decade.
Chassis photo by Hugh R. Morley.
03 Jul 2018
Although intermodal traffic has increased 26 percent in five years, chassis repair companies can’t hire people fast enough to keep pace, due to the US labor shortage, job hopping in the sector, and candidates simply seeking easier work. Shippers will ultimately see the problem in the form of chassis shortages.
Swiss Federal Railways.
28 Jun 2018
Europe’s rail and truck transport systems are at a pivotal moment. The two could complement each other and help meet the likely 30 percent increase in European cargo expected by 2030. However, turf protecting could still rule the day, especially if rail views truck platooning as a threat.