Surface

The Journal of Commerce’s surface transport news and analysis focuses on landside transport movement — from railroad news to trucking news — including full load trucking, less-than-truckload (LTL), refrigerated (or reefer) trucking, flatbed and domestic and international intermodal rail, and how it connects with seaports, inland rail hubs, distribution centers and transloading operations. Reporting on the surface transport sector covers the movement of domestic shipments within the United States and international cargoes transported via domestic equipment including trailers and 53-foot containers. 

The latest Surface News & Analysis

FMC’s new rules to prevent truckers from being hit with D&D bills

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Under final guidelines for detention and demurrage billing, only the shipper or consignee can be on the hook for such charges and bills must be sent within 30 days.
Trucking NewsContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesNorth American portsDrayageTransport, Trade, and Regulation News

J.B. Hunt signs multiyear deal with Walmart, acquires container fleet

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
While the two companies have a partnership dating back 35 years, the latest transaction strengthens the relationship between the largest intermodal provider in North America and one of the continent’s top intermodal shippers.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

NS to eliminate Midwest service from Charleston, Savannah due to low volumes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Railroad officials informed Georgia and South Carolina port authorities earlier this week, giving them a one-month notice that service will no longer be offered to Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville.
North American portsNorth-American rail

Flexport resurrects Convoy truckload tech as tool for drivers, brokers

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Increased driver adoption of apps in the truckload industry was driven in part by now-shuttered broker Convoy, whose technology was relaunched Thursday by forwarder Flexport.
Logistics Technology NewsForwardingTrucking NewsTruck brokers

Ryder expands footprint in Laredo after truck border crossings rose 5% last year

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
A new 228,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility near Laredo’s World Trade Bridge will help Ryder scale operations for cross-border shippers.
SurfaceTrucking NewsIndustrial Real Estate News

‘Disciplined’ truckload carriers attempt to hold the line in annual pricing talks

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Many US truckload customers engaged in annual bids and contract talks are still looking for rate cuts, but the potential for a market turnaround is tempering behavior.
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckload

Activist investor seeks to oust CEO at ‘worst’ Class I railroad Norfolk Southern

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
In addition to pushing for a leadership change, Ancora Holdings also said NS should not invest so heavily in intermodal under its current strategy and criticized the railroad for changing 180 train schedules last year to prioritize container and trailer business.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Improving US economy lifts outlook for trucking M&A activity

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
More accretive “tuck-in” deals that expand carrier niche services and coverage appear likely if the Fed cuts US interest rates and freight demand improves. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckloadLTL

Another Mexico intermodal option launches for shippers amid cross-border growth

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Shippers will have another domestic intermodal option between Mexico and the US as cross-border intermodal growth outpaces the overall North American market.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Mexican truck drivers protest lack of security in latest cross-border disruption

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
A Mexican trucking association launched a strike Thursday, adding to the uncertainty cross-border shippers face in the fast-growing market.
Trucking NewsTruckloadLTL

New short-haul rail service debuts linking Tacoma to inland hub

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
The first shipments of hay were loaded into Evergreen containers at the inland hub and moved by Union Pacific to the Pierce County Terminal in Tacoma for shipment to China.
MaritimePort NewsNorth American portsRail News

Large US truckload carriers reining in truck capacity amid low demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The Journal of Commerce Truckload Capacity Index fell to 2018 levels at the end of 2023 as truckload carriers kept cutting into their fleets to lower costs. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckload

FMC rules for truckers in chassis dispute with ocean carriers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The long-awaited decision also seemingly puts to rest the question as to whether the FMC has authority on issues that extend beyond US ports.
North American portsNorth-American rail

Knight-Swift buys 10 more Yellow terminals for $2.2 million as LTL push continues

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
After the latest round of bidding, the largest US truckload operator has now acquired 25 Yellow facilities, bringing it closer to having a nationwide LTL network. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

Large LTL providers report strong pricing gains, opportunities

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Yield and rates are rising at some of the biggest LTL carriers after a strong finish to 2023, although lower fuel surcharges may pull gains down to mid-single digits.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

CloudTrucks acquires Shipwell brokerage division amid truckload market shakeout

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
CloudTrucks’ acquisition of Shipwell’s brokerage division signals the importance of giving drivers direct access to loads through the technology platform they use to run their business.
Logistics Technology NewsTrucking NewsTruckloadTruck brokers

Mexican systems failures disrupting cross-border trade with US

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The failure of Mexican customs clearance systems at a national level this week snarled supply chains and may warn of future problems as US-Mexico trade grows. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsIntermodal providers

US truckload carriers see ‘upside’ in sharpened focus on dedicated shippers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Some of the largest truckload carriers, including Werner, Schneider and J.B. Hunt, are putting more emphasis on dedicated fleets as shippers seek stability and security.
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckload

Mobile teams up with CSX on new inland port to serve northern Alabama

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
The Port of Mobile is looking to boost intrastate rail service with a new intermodal ramp that would give shippers an alternative to using rail from major Southeast ports.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Forward Air ousts CEO Schmitt after completing Omni merger

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Forward’s chief legal officer will take over as interim CEO as Tom Schmitt exits following a contentious legal battle with Omni Logistics.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

C.H. Robinson using AI to advance ‘touchless’ truck scheduling

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The largest US freight broker is trying to eliminate the wait at the gate by not only scheduling truck appointments for shippers, but finding optimal appointment times. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckloadLogistics Technology News

Yellow uses auction proceeds to repay $700 million loan to US government

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The US Treasury Department is the first major creditor to be repaid by the bankrupt LTL provider, which received the controversial loan early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

‘Stressed’ US truckload market searching for elusive turning point

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Truckload spot rates are creeping higher, but trucking executives see no catalyst for stronger price increases absent higher freight demand, even as capacity slowly tightens. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckload

Intermodal savings held steady in Q4, in line with long-term averages

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The average cost savings for a shipper choosing intermodal rail over truckload was consistent during 2023 and should be relatively unchanged at least through the first quarter, according to the latest Journal of Commerce Intermodal Savings Index.
Intermodal Savings IndexIntermodal providers

Railroads maintain ‘go it alone’ strategy after CPKC merger: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting and Journal of Commerce analyst |
North American intermodal functions mainly as a set of regional networks defined by railroad route structures, one of the handicaps for intermodal as it competes against a “go-anywhere” national truck system, writes analyst Larry Gross.
SurfaceIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Uber Freight, SSC testing digital truck scheduling standard

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
A pilot version of a truck appointment scheduling API is part of the hunt for new digital standards for supply chains that are still encumbered by manual processes.
SurfaceSupply chainTrucking NewsTruckloadLTLLogistics Technology News

Norfolk Southern canceling, rerouting traffic on some intermodal lanes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The railroad is eliminating or adjusting service in four cities this month in a move to shift resources to corridors where it believes freight will surge over the next decade.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Shippers should not push too hard on intermodal rates in Q1: Schneider, Hub

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Domestic intermodal providers have stacked thousands of containers and are warning they will keep capacity out of circulation even when demand picks up unless shippers are willing to pay higher rates.
SurfaceIntermodal providers

In a ‘stable’ LTL market, ODFL readies for eventual rebound

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The second-largest US less-than-truckload carrier plans to increase its terminal capacity alongside freight demand, CEO Marty Freeman told the Journal of Commerce.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

Ryder acquires Cardinal Logistics, adding dedicated trucking muscle

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The deal gives Ryder a significant jolt in dedicated capacity as well as greater scale with existing and new shipper customers.
SurfaceTrucking News

C.H. Robinson sees cautious shippers, no near-term global demand upturn

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The largest US broker and forwarder expects ocean spot rates to subside after the Chinese New Year and for US trucking markets to slowly improve throughout 2024.
SurfaceContainer Shipping NewsForwardingTrucking NewsTruckloadLTL

DSV volume stabilizes in Q4 to deliver solid 2023 result

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
While down significantly from 2022, the forwarder remained profitable last year as fourth-quarter gains helped dull the full-year impact of sharply correcting global freight markets.
MaritimeAir CargoContainer Shipping NewsForwardingIntermodal providers

Roadrunner adds 135 LTL lanes, moves into Canada in major expansion

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Building on recent market openings, the point-to-point, long-haul LTL carrier is launching its largest growth push since a 2021 restructuring.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

As industrial freight lags, more LTL carriers look to ports to boost business

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Trucking companies such as Averitt are seeking more diversified freight and deeper connections to customers through transloading. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

UPS to explore ‘alternatives’ for Coyote Logistics, announces layoffs

JOC Staff |
UPS CEO Carol Tomé, who was on UPS’s board of directors at the time of the 2015 Coyote acquisition, acknowledged UPS did not fully appreciate how cyclical truckload and intermodal brokerage was at the time.
SurfaceTrucking NewsSupply chain

AI is impacting logistics at a faster pace, but in the background

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Artificial intelligence is quickly being integrated into everyday logistics and shipping processes such as truck check-ins, rate quotes and freight payment.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLogistics Technology News

Forward, Omni Logistics seal long-awaited deal to merge businesses

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
With an amended merger agreement, months of contentious litigation are behind the companies, clearing the way for their combined forwarding and LTL operations. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTLAir CargoAir Cargo Forwarder News

Knight-Swift adding 25 LTL terminals, plans to buy more

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The largest US truckload operator is “filling the gaps” in its less-than-truckload network with newly acquired terminals it plans to bring online this year, and is shopping in more locations. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckloadLTL

Domestic carriers wade through murky market to start 2024

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
North American railroads and truckload companies are hopeful rates and demand will rise this year but say there’s too much uncertainty in the market to offer a confident forecast.
North-American railTrucking News

Weak US manufacturing outlook darkens skies for trucking freight market

Jason Miller, associate professor of logistics at Michigan State University, and Journal of Commerce analyst |
Excluding the period immediately following COVID-19 lockdowns, manufacturing activity in the US is at levels that haven’t been seen since 2011 when manufacturers were still recovering from the 20% drop in output caused by the global financial crisis.
SurfaceTruckloadLTL