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

11 Nov 2019
In the heart of what is supposed to be peak season, rail container traffic is not only much slower than a year ago, but also behind 2017 levels as well — and truck seems sluggish, too.
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.
A Nippon Express train.
28 Jun 2018
Nippon is expanding cross-border services as Asia-Europe demand increases and as five Mekong subregion countries adopt an agreement that could serve as a trade model for other regions.
Port of Vancouver.
27 Jun 2018
Shippers that had cargo delayed at Canada’s west coast ports last winter will monitor that region's ports and railroads to gauge whether service and infrastructure changes have resolved all issues.
Union Pacific Railroad in California.
27 Jun 2018
Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles, where Union Pacific is adjusting to a consolidation of shipments from the three former lines that formed the Ocean Network, is a major focus of the railroad’s attention.
The Port of Rotterdam.
22 Jun 2018
Despite a container consolidation partnership among marine terminals, inland shipping companies, and inland centers, barge operators say there's been little improvement in reducing barge delays during peak times — something one intermodal services provider argued was due to not having enough handling capacity during peak times.
Port of New York and New Jersey.
21 Jun 2018
Two proposals moving forward at the Port of New York and New Jersey to cut truck moves and curb pollution would provide alternative routes for shippers moving cargo to or from Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island by rail.
21 Jun 2018
Sponsored: CP's Wahba on Asia, West Coast market demand, and 2018 intermodal expansion.
Toronto skyline.
19 Jun 2018
The Canadian economy is “humming,” an economist says, but can it outrun trade disputes with its largest trading partner?
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.