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.
A freight train travels across China.
04 Oct 2018
China’s government has invested billions in the China-Europe rail network, and volume, propelled by subsidies, has surged. However, those subsidies have created other downsides for shippers and the broader market.
Intermodal freight train, Kansas, United States.
03 Oct 2018
It’s an axiom that certainly applies in the current US intermodal market: shop around. Even if they’re under contract, not every rate is better than spot truckload. And these price comparisons can save shippers money when every cent counts towards remaining within transportation budgets.
Rotterdam port.
03 Oct 2018
Rising transportation costs, the driver shortage, and accompanying rail and barge congestion have created challenging times for Europe’s shippers, to say the least. And then there’s the Brexit summit in two weeks.
Port of New York and New Jersey.
02 Oct 2018
The Port of New York and New Jersey is looking for ways to increase the storage space for empty rail cars to prevent shortages as discretionary cargo volumes rise.
CSX Transportation.
02 Oct 2018
It’s the latest move in a shifting vision at CSX for the terminal, which the railroad hopes to make a central hub for Ohio freight but also includes logistical challenges for shippers and truckers.
Russia Trans-Siberian Railroad.
02 Oct 2018
The new route connects the South Korean port of Busan and Russia’s port of St. Petersburg and involves the port of Vladivostok as a transit hub and then the Trans-Siberian Railway to move container cargo to Russia and other European destinations.
Rhine-Alpine Gateway.
02 Oct 2018
The Rhine-Alpine Gateway is one of Europe’s most important rail routes connecting the Mediterranean ports with the economic heartland of Central Europe, handling half of the trade between northern Europe and Italy via Switzerland.
Union Pacific Railroad.
01 Oct 2018
Union Pacific has doubled surcharges on rail shippers tendering excess freight out of Los Angeles. The railroad wants to carefully control volume because it believes that will lead to good service. Shippers can view this as a natural high point in pricing or shop around for a truck to see if the rate is competitive.
A BNSF train travels near the Port of Long Beach.
28 Sep 2018
By improving connectivity in the harbor through more on-dock rail, smoother hand-offs from the vessel to rail, and more timely and accurate data flow, West Coast ports will offer shippers a more attractive package for shipping discretionary cargo through their gateways to the eastern half of the United States, Los Angeles and Long Beach port executives agree.
An intermodal train in Kansas, United States.
26 Sep 2018
Front-loading, probably prompted by concern about tariffs, has affected US intermodal transport this peak season, as well as ocean transport, creating a quieter rail September. However, shippers should note there are some signs of conditions heating up in a key section of the United States that could be a harbinger.
GCT Deltaport intermodal rail.
24 Sep 2018
Vancouver, Canada’s largest container port, until now has been limited in its capacity to grow by a lack of surge capacity at its rail operations, which serve eastern Canada and the US Midwest.
Georgia Ports Authority executive director Griff Lynch.
20 Sep 2018
The future looks bright in Savannah for beneficial cargo owners. Volume is increasing, market share is growing, and Georgia Ports Authority officials have a strong vision — including a bold TEU goal — to continue the upward momentum by expanding services and fixing its shortcomings to keep its place as the top port in the US Southeast.
China-Europe rail.
20 Sep 2018
The China-Europe rail services have been growing rapidly as shippers seek a price/time middle ground to that offered by costly-in-comparison and faster air cargo services to cheaper but slower ocean routing.
Wilmington, North Carolina.
18 Sep 2018
The biggest disruption is for truckers traveling Interstate 95 through the Carolinas. Flooding has shut down most of I-95 in North Carolina, except for a nine-mile stretch.
Union Pacific Railroad.
18 Sep 2018
Precision railroading’s supporters argue that by running longer trains and eliminating waste, shippers will receive a higher level of service. Critics argue it prioritizes shareholders over service.
Hurricane Florence.
13 Sep 2018
The hurricane headed for the Carolinas as of Thursday, with the ports of Savannah and Virginia having reduced exposure.
12 Sep 2018
Revenue from 53-foot trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) moves in the North America is up in a big way this year, so far, through August. But is 53-foot TOFC revenue an accurate leading indicator of overall domestic intermodal demand?
A train in Bangldesh.
11 Sep 2018
The two projects will improve rail transport across Bangladesh, a more-direct route, with time and tariff savings likely for shippers.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States.
10 Sep 2018
Whether shippers moving goods through the US Southeast and Mid-Atlantic see delays and elevated truck rates for days or for weeks largely hinges on exactly where Hurricane Florence makes landfall and with how big of a wallop.
Containers at a port.
10 Sep 2018
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust handles the majority of India’s container trade and, hence, the government is keen on achieving speedier freight movement to/from through terminals there.
Appalachian Regional Port.
07 Sep 2018
An axiom argues, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and there’s no better example of that than what tight North American truck capacity has prompted.
A freight train travels in Russia.
04 Sep 2018
Historically, Russia attracted Asia-Europe cargo largely destined for Northern Europe. But now Russia wants another piece of the Asia-Europe transport pie.
Port of Itajai, Brazil.
31 Aug 2018
Decades of truck-oriented Brasilia administrations and a bias against rail created a vulnerable trade transport system. The spring truckers’ strike exposed it, and months later trade logistics has yet to recover.
CSX Transportation.
30 Aug 2018
CSX's steelwheel interchange alternation leaves the affected shippers with no easy, inexpensive substitutes.
BNSF.
28 Aug 2018
The proposed facility where containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will be transferred to intermodal trains would be a boon to beneficial cargo owners and freight transportation interests for several reasons. But there's also a not-insignificant environmental benefit.
Union Pacific Railroad.
27 Aug 2018
The capacity challenges described here are not unique to railroad networks and terminals; they are persistent through the US supply chain. Further, while some solutions lie far in the future, there are several initiatives that could improve rail/intermodal service overnight.
An intermodal train in the United States.
24 Aug 2018
US intermodal demand continues to increase at a substantial rate, and in response railroads are deploying more equipment, technology, and people. But will that response be able to meet cargo demands this peak season?
PSA International cranes at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
24 Aug 2018
Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals, which has handled about 150,000 TEU as of August 2018, this month added nine, new rubber-tire gantry cranes, bringing the total cranes to 27, PSA India officials said.
Appalachian Regional Port.
22 Aug 2018
In the United States’ tight surface capacity market, the operative phrase in supply chain management is “minimize the truck transport variable,” and Georgia’s new inland port, the Appalachian Regional Port, aims to do that, and more.
Veracruz port, Mexico.
21 Aug 2018
Perhaps nowhere in the world, save India, is a critical mass of demand and resources coming together to produce a more-promising trade future than in Mexico. But to maintain that take-off status, Mexico will have to solve major infrastructure shortcomings, as well as address longstanding trade security issues.
Port Miami.
20 Aug 2018
Port Miami is making a statement. New cranes, a better truck gating system and transloading facilities, and access to Interstate 95 mean the port has the infrastructure for global trade. And Miami has one other tangible that many stakeholders in container shipping will notice. Certainly other ports will.
Terminal de Conteineres de Paranagua (TCP).
18 Aug 2018
Terminal de Conteineres de Paranaguá (TCP), also known as Paranaguá, is in an annual race with another port for the title of “global chicken export port king,” and its officials are not subtle regarding where they want to finish each year.
Port Miami.
17 Aug 2018
So far, the Port of Tampa and Port Miami are only seeing small cargo volumes, but shippers looking to cut travel time and costs for cargo sent across the US-Mexico border may increasingly choose the sea route, if the conventional land-based route’s delays don’t diminish.
A freight train travels in Canada.
16 Aug 2018
Western Canada has been “behind the curve” in developing inland ports compared with the US West Coast and South Atlantic regions. However, that will change with Ashcroft's expansion.
CSX Transportation.
15 Aug 2018
These are relatively minor changes in destination terminals and don’t eliminate any existing service, although it will require some decisions on how to route cargo for the best price.