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 Canadian National Railways also operate in the United States.  

News & Analysis

05 Jun 2020
Europe’s rail freight industry is hoping to hold on to improvements made in reliability on a passenger-free network even as the easing of lockdowns bring back traveler movements that are afforded priority over cargo.
Port of Prince Rupert.
19 Jun 2018
Beneficial cargo owners in eastern Canada and the US Midwest should welcome the expansion as a step toward preventing a return of the congestion that Prince Rupert experienced last winter.
A tandum truck in the US.
19 Jun 2018
US railroads and safety advocates are united in opposition to allowing the new, longer twin 33-foot trailers, while the trucking industry is split. Still, the players pushing for the change are large, well-financed, and politically savvy. The current truck driver shortage lends more credibility to their argument.
Brazil freight train with load containers.
16 Jun 2018
The truckers' strike in Brazil was costly, by several metrics, and no one would like to see a repeat. Still, the strike has prompted shippers, forwarders, and other trade stakeholders to reassess how they allocate transportation, with an eye toward reducing if not eliminating vulnerability.
Port of Oakland.
15 Jun 2018
Demand for US drayage has spiked in the last seven to 14 days, but no one knows exactly why beneficial cargo owners, non-vessel operating common carriers, and freight forwarders are so hungry for truck power.
Port of Duisburg.
14 Jun 2018
The Port of Duisburg may be Europe shipping’s ‘best kept secret.’ But as a strategically located, multipurpose logistics site, it also may be the port most likely to benefit from the synchronized, regional economic expansion that’s propelling trade and GDP higher in Asia and Europe.
Belarus Europe freight train.
12 Jun 2018
More, faster rail route options with more reliability/visibility, are the chief reasons China-Europe rail use is increasing. Add the historic time advantage over ocean freight and cost advantage over air cargo and the net result is a shift in rail from an “interesting option” to “preferred transport mode" for many shippers.
11 Jun 2018
Sponsored: Ferromex's Vice President Luis Hernandez on North American expansion strategy, and capacity, regulation challenges and opportunities for intermodal growth.
Port of Hamburg.
08 Jun 2018
Only a small percentage of Hamburg’s container traffic is transported to and from the hinterland via the network of inland waterways, something the German port wants to change.
Chicago with Lake Michigan.
07 Jun 2018
“No one’s coming to save us,” Bobby Harris, president and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, tells shippers. He’s talking about the tight-capacity, high-priced, surface transportation market, which he expects will continue until late 2019. One BlueGrace solution — it is going to Chicago to hire help.
Train freight rail car yard Veracruz, Mexico.
01 Jun 2018
Shippers that move goods in Mexico will want to watch the upcoming election and post-election period closely for signs that the country’s incoming leader is prepared to take steps to crack down on the growing rail/truck cargo threat from thieves.
Port of Long Beach at sunset.
31 May 2018
Via frequent outreach to truckers, beneficial cargo owners, and railroads — including a culture change — Total Terminals International has gone from having the worst truck turn times at the ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach to becoming one of the more efficient terminals.
Canadian Pacific Railway.
30 May 2018
Less than 24 hours after engineers and conductors walked out and joined the picket line, Canadian Pacific Railway reached a tentative, four-year deal with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.
The Port of Prince Rupert.
30 May 2018
Ocean carriers, shippers, and other business decision makers have big plans for Canada, where strong container trade growth is expected in the immediate years ahead. The key task now is to fully fund vital infrastructure improvement and expansion projects to maintain that promising momentum.
BSF Logistics Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States.
30 May 2018
Chassis splits — when a trucker is diverted to a second location for a chassis — are not new, but shippers and trucking companies are concerned about how these chassis shortages and splits throw off delivery windows, hours of service, and costs.
Dallas skyline.
29 May 2018
Integra, founded in 2003, has offices in Houston, Dallas, and Chicago and is also an intermodal marketing company and third-party logistics provider.
A freight train travels in Illinois, United States.
24 May 2018
The United States is early in trucking’s “new normal” era, but what is already clear is this: shippers will have to use all options — whether truckload, intermodal rail, less-than-truckload, or even package van — if they want to secure surface transportation capacity.
Intermodal rail in California.
24 May 2018
Railroads are no longer taking on new contracts for peak domestic intermodal business later this year out of Southern California. And that means small-size and mid-size shippers will likely be hurt the most because they don’t have the necessary volume to gain leverage in negotiations; they will be forced to supplement any truckload serve with record-high spot rates on the rails.
China Europe rail.
23 May 2018
It is widely known that government subsidies make the China-Europe rail a viable option, but the huge scale of this support is starting to emerge.
A truck travels on a US road.
21 May 2018
Most shippers say they can’t remember a US transportation market with capacity as tight and pricing as extreme. And shippers say securing capacity is still their priority, despite rates rising by double digits.
Maschen Rail Yard, Germany.
21 May 2018
Amid rising container volumes propelled by Europe/global economic growth, intermodal/rail has an opportunity to win transport market share, due to the continent’s barge congestion and truck driver shortage.
Chittagong Port.
21 May 2018
Congestion at the port is at its worst during the May-September, trans-Pacific, peak shipping season, but officials hope the additional capacity and introduction of round-the-clock operations will result in less congestion this year.
Port of Charleston, South Carolina.
18 May 2018
The Port of Charleston and CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway have extended their terminal hours owing to emergency cable repairs on the James B. Edwards Bridge over the Wando River, but beneficial cargo owners should expect longer transit times during the next four weeks.
CSX Transportation.
16 May 2018
Rail shippers will not be able to send domestic containers to Detroit as of Sept. 1. Nearly a year after eliminating 327 origin and destination pairs, CSX Transportation will be ending all domestic intermodal involving Detroit.
DP World's Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal at JNPT.
16 May 2018
Port leaders, however, expressed apprehension that any change in established operating practices could cause major commercial repercussions for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in a hyper-competitive environment.
Trucks at a carrot farm in California.
15 May 2018
The electronic logging device mandate’s impact has rippled across supply chains, and there is no better example of that than the US agriculture export market.
A freight travels in Belarus.
11 May 2018
A confluence of factors have lengthened Asia-Europe freight train travel times.
Rail lines in Chittagong.
08 May 2018
The double-lane railway will facilitate transit between India’s Gede railway station and Bangladesh’s Khulna district, with the latter ultimately being connected to the Mongla seaport.
A CSX 53-foot container.
04 May 2018
Carriers adding 53-foot containers to their inventory will not end the US truck transport shortage in the immediate quarters ahead, but in a market as tight as US trucking, shippers will welcome every increase in capacity.
Port of Los Angeles.
01 May 2018
US shippers’ challenge in securing drayage capacity has eased since the peak eight weeks ago, but tightness persists in selected regions, and there are signs of more near-term difficulties.
Trucks on a US highway.
27 Apr 2018
With US truckload capacity tight, shippers are investigating any alternative method possible to get their freight off the docks.
A truck travels on a US road.
26 Apr 2018
Intel CEO Andrew Grove observed that the need for transformation could arise with the introduction of a different regulatory environment. Change is unavoidable, but strategic points of inflection are not always obvious in real-time. In the future, it’s likely that April 1, 2018 — the date electronic logging device enforcement “went live” — will be enshrined as a red-letter day for the industry.
A freight train in Kansas.
26 Apr 2018
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sent the nominations of Patrick Fuchs and Michelle Schultz to the full floor. If confirmed by the full Senate, they would join Ann Begeman and Deb Miller on the agency’s board.
Mundra Port.
25 Apr 2018
Mundra has used its strong rail link as a marketing tool, but new statistics indicate the private port's rail option has been a weakening magnet for more than six months.
Containers stacked at a port.
23 Apr 2018
Annual service contract negotiations between US importers from Asia and ocean carriers are moving slower than in past cycles. Beneficial cargo owners are holding out for lower rates, to offset rising supply chain costs elsewhere, but they may be disappointed by their efforts.
23 Apr 2018
It is the first time a price has been placed on a 51-day shutdown of one of the most important rail corridors in Europe — the Rhine Alpine gateway that handles about half of the trade between northern Europe and Italy via Switzerland.