News and analysis of surface transportation including rail, trucking, intermodal, less-than-truckload, full truckload, drayage, transload

The latest Surface News & Analysis

US LTL shippers still juggling carriers, freight in wake of Yellow’s demise

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 22, 2023, 11:50 AM EDT

Less-than-truckload freight once hauled by Yellow is being redistributed among other carriers in waves as shippers shop for the best fit in price, capacity, technology and service.

Estes wins battle to control sale of Yellow terminals amid tightening LTL capacity 

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 21, 2023, 4:35 PM EDT

A US bankruptcy court approved a $1.525 billion bid by Estes Express Lines to be the “stalking horse” that sets the floor price for Yellow’s terminals at auction, controlling their sale in November.

Norfolk Southern teams with tech company to ease intermodal cargo flow

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 20, 2023, 3:36 PM EDT

The Class I railroad and DrayNow will launch an app in 2024 designed to digitize, organize and streamline processes that have previously been performed via email or over the phone.
Logistics technologyNorth-American rail

Rising fuel costs driving US LTL, truckload costs higher

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 19, 2023, 12:05 PM EDT

Cuts in oil production and increased fuel use globally are pushing up trucking fuel surcharges and, in turn, transportation costs for US shippers.

Ocean carriers will look to ‘chokepoint’ assets for next wave of spending: analyst

Lars Jensen, CEO & Partner, Vespucci Maritime, and JOC Analyst | Sep 18, 2023, 10:00 AM EDT

Owning and operating potential supply chain chokepoints is a competitive advantage, and we should expect to see major carriers — flush with cash post-pandemic — be very active in attempting to secure such assets, writes analyst Lars Jensen.
Supply ChainContainer linesPortsMarine terminalsRail

J.B. Hunt brokerage acquisition deepens partnership with BNSF

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 15, 2023, 5:10 PM EDT

The division of BNSF Logistics between BNSF Railway and J.B. Hunt is aimed at helping to improve service to joint customers at a time when freight demand is weak.
Intermodal providersTruckingRail

Estes expands international forwarding, raises bid for Yellow terminals

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 14, 2023, 5:55 PM EDT

Estes Forwarding Worldwide, a subsidiary of the LTL trucking provider, is buying Superior Brokerage Services, a step that increases Estes’ ability to offer end-to-end logistics services as other providers look to do the same.

Intermodal providers uncertain whether railroads are prepared for volume rebound

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 14, 2023, 12:34 PM EDT

Railroads told the IANA conference they have made important operational changes that will translate into reliable service when demand picks up, but some logistics companies are not convinced.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Railroads acknowledge need to boost service to win market share from trucking

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 13, 2023, 10:49 AM EDT

Railroads told the Intermodal Association of North America conference they must concentrate on providing more reliable, consistent service at a competitive rate over the long term to reverse the recent market share loss to long-haul trucking.
North-American rail

Rapid rail transit via sanctions-hit Russia has limited appeal for European shippers

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | Sep 12, 2023, 10:57 AM EDT

Sanctions imposed on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine continue to limit the attractiveness of transport times as low as 12 days offered by forwarders on the China-North Europe rail network.
RailForwardingInternational rail

Domestic intermodal showing more downside risk for balance of year: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst | Sep 12, 2023, 8:00 AM EDT

If the looming strike against the “big three” US automakers comes to pass, then domestic intermodal will surely take another big hit in an environment where there are certainly more downside risks than upside potential for the rest of 2023, writes analyst Larry Gross.
SurfaceRailIntermodal providers

C.H. Robinson opens new Laredo facility amid boom in US-Mexico freight

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 11, 2023, 10:00 AM EDT

Steady gains in US-Mexico cross-border truck freight have spurred the logistics provider to open a 400,000-square-foot cross-dock warehouse in Laredo, a US border entry point already bursting with freight.
SurfaceTruckingSupply Chain

Minor peak season expected in domestic intermodal market: Hub Group

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 8, 2023, 10:50 AM EDT

The intermodal provider’s CEO believes there will be a small peak season between now and early November despite data from the US Surface Transportation Board showing volumes are down compared with last year.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

IANA building geofencing for rail, marine terminals to track box, truck moves

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 8, 2023, 10:00 AM EDT

The Intermodal Association of North America is building a geofence library for rail and marine terminals, which could provide better tracking of when containers enter and exit the terminals.
North-American rail

US truckload sector picks up pace to meet rising threat of cargo theft

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Sep 8, 2023, 9:53 AM EDT

Freight brokers, load boards, technology providers and law enforcement are attempting to contain the growing threat of truckload cargo theft and the fraudulent schemes that underpin it.
TruckingTruck brokersTransport, trade and regulation

Underlying US LTL demand ‘relatively consistent’ post-Yellow: ODFL

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 8, 2023, 9:00 AM EDT

While the country’s second-largest LTL provider gained shipments in August after the demise of Yellow, it sees no signs that overall freight demand is improving.

Drayage industry faces technology dilemma in down freight market

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Sep 7, 2023, 3:58 PM EDT

While the importance of drayage came to the fore during the pandemic, the current freight hangover is cramping the sector’s ability to take advantage of technology options on the market.
Logistics technologyPortsNorth American portsTrucking

US LTL carriers gain freight, but employment plummets post-Yellow

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 6, 2023, 2:09 PM EDT

Saia and XPO are the latest LTL carriers to report volume gains in August, a month when trucking employment dropped more than 2% following Yellow’s shutdown.

Targeted replenishment thins US inventories without raising freight demand 

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 6, 2023, 10:39 AM EDT

Inventories are falling, but orders and shipments aren’t necessarily climbing as US retailers seek greater “inventory productivity” by closely tracking customer demand. 
Supply ChainTrucking

Market interest ‘should be very high’ in DB Schenker sale: CEO

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | Sep 6, 2023, 9:24 AM EDT

The German-based forwarder remains the largest and most attractive takeover target in a cash-rich industry where the main players are all looking for opportunities to consolidate.
MaritimeForwardingTruckingInternational railAir CargoAir cargo forwardingSupply Chain

BNSF deploying cameras, drones to boost terminal cargo flow

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 1, 2023, 2:34 PM EDT

BNSF is testing the use of cameras on yard hostlers, poles and drones which can read and log the location of containers in the hopes of increasing fluidity through rail terminals.
North-American rail

Smaller LTL fleets gain freight, add terminals post-Yellow

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 31, 2023, 4:57 PM EDT

Regional LTL carrier A. Duie Pyle and point-to-point trucking firm Hercules Freight are finding opportunities to expand as shippers adjust to the loss of Yellow’s capacity.

Southeast US ports reopen after Hurricane Idalia blows through region

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Aug 31, 2023, 12:25 PM EDT

Given the short duration of the port and terminal closures, impacts appeared minimal as Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston resumed normal operations.
North American portsContainer shippingTrucking

Poor IT strategy over the years contributed to Yellow’s demise: analyst

Ted Prince, founder and CEO, Tri-Cities Intermodal LLC | Aug 30, 2023, 3:17 PM EDT

An LTL carrier such as Yellow is an extremely complicated business, and similar to the railroads, the enterprise software it used was developed internally — often over decades — because there was no “off-the-shelf” solution, writes analyst Ted Prince.  
Logistics technologyTrucking

Domestic intermodal volumes jump in early days of new Mexico rail services

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 29, 2023, 3:08 PM EDT

Since new services from CPKC and CN were launched in May, intermodal volume out of Mexico has surged more than 30% year over year through the end of July.
North-American railIntermodal providers

ABF’s LTL shipments, pricing jump after Yellow collapse

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 28, 2023, 5:02 PM EDT

ArcBest less-than-truckload (LTL) subsidiary ABF Freight is taking on additional volume and raising rates as a broad realignment of the US LTL sector gains speed.

Domestic container fluidity will pick up when volume rebounds: Schneider

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 28, 2023, 3:00 PM EDT

Schneider believes once demand picks up for rail transportation, the intermodal industry can return to pre-pandemic levels of productivity for containers.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Pilot project aims to open more trucker slots in Los Angeles-Long Beach

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Aug 25, 2023, 5:25 PM EDT

The Harbor Trucking Association is teaming with Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles to increase the number of appointment slots each day by cutting the container receiving window from two hours to 90 minutes.
North American portsMarine terminalsDrayageRail

NS delays Atlanta appointment system after Memphis rollout woes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 23, 2023, 11:29 AM EDT

Norfolk Southern’s launch of an appointment system for import boxes in Memphis has not been smooth, but the railroad hopes to learn from the problems to make the October rollout in Atlanta better.
North-American railIntermodal providers

M&A activity in 3PL sector continues as investment firm acquires Ascent

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Aug 22, 2023, 1:19 PM EDT

Two weeks after Forward Air acquired forwarder Omni Logistics, a private investment fund has taken over expedited third-party logistics provider Ascent Global Logistics.
Supply ChainSurfaceTruckingTruck brokersAir cargo forwarding

Intermodal savings slip in second quarter, but could rise in Q3: ISI

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 22, 2023, 10:54 AM EDT

Truckload spot rates have risen slightly off the lows seen so far this year, although some trucking analysts do not expect a significant rebound in rates until early 2024.
North-American railIntermodal Savings Index

Estes expands use of Optym as LTL market deals with Yellow fallout

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Aug 22, 2023, 9:00 AM EDT

Estes Express Lines has long used third-party software to amp up its service to customers, with an expansion of its partnership with less-than-truckload software provider Optym the latest example.
TruckingLogistics technology

ODFL, Estes wage billion-dollar bidding war for Yellow LTL terminals

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 21, 2023, 11:36 AM EDT

Control of Yellow’s real estate may determine who gets to expand in the less-than-truckload (LTL) sector, and who must scramble to find property.

US shippers riding post-Yellow shockwaves as LTL freight shifts among carriers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 18, 2023, 10:53 AM EDT

Some logistics managers report longer transit times and delivery delays, as well as higher costs, as remaining LTL providers divide the freight once hauled by Yellow. 

Estes Express offers $1.3 billion for all of Yellow’s terminals 

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 17, 2023, 4:06 PM EDT

A ‘stalking horse bid’ from Estes, a rival trucking company, would set a floor for any competing bids for the more than 160 properties owned by Yellow.

Shippers all over the map on H2 business outlook: J. B. Hunt

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 17, 2023, 11:35 AM EDT

While shippers using J. B. Hunt give conflicting answers on what the rest of this year will look like, the intermodal provider is strengthening its relationship with BNSF to prepare for the next upswing in demand.
North-American rail

Potential buyers look to pounce on Yellow assets up for sale

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 16, 2023, 11:04 AM EDT

More than 60 buyers are said to be scrutinizing the terminals and assets of defunct LTL carrier Yellow as freight volumes rise at its former US trucking competitors.

Forward Air looks to hook high-value shippers in Omni Logistics deal

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 15, 2023, 3:43 PM EDT

Omni’s international and US forwarding customers are expected to send more freight to Forward Air’s expedited less-than-truckload network in the US. 

Shippers offer mixed reaction to Dye’s proposals to fix container terminal flow

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Aug 15, 2023, 1:51 PM EDT

The National Shipper Advisory Committee saw some good in the FMC commissioner’s ideas, but said without a clear path for implementation, businesses will continue to be hurt by detention and demurrage charges.
Transport, trade and regulationContainer linesTrucking

BNSF Logistics turns to Trucker Tools for brokerage software

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Aug 14, 2023, 2:41 PM EDT

Top 30 freight broker BNSF Logistics said it will use Trucker Tools software to improve visibility and freight matching for its surface transportation customers.
Logistics technologyTruckingTruckloadTruck brokers