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

The latest Surface News & Analysis

Inland23: US-Mexico trucking costs rising with cross-border demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 29, 2023, 3:42 PM EDT

Cross-border trade with Mexico is one of the few hot spots in trucking, but fuel prices and other costs are putting more pressure on rates.

Inland23: Railroads vow service will remain strong when volume rebounds

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 29, 2023, 3:37 PM EDT

North American Class I railroads understand why shippers and logistics providers are skeptical about intermodal service, but they believe disruptions experienced in recent years won’t happen again.
North-American rail

Inland23: Mexico-to-Southeast intermodal service due to launch in late ‘24

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 29, 2023, 10:25 AM EDT

CPKC and CSX hope the new joint service will boost volumes along the route, which is not a popular one for intermodal business.
North-American rail

Inland23: Intermodal providers expect unchanged rates in early 2024 bids

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 28, 2023, 1:18 PM EDT

If history is any indication, it is unlikely intermodal providers will be able to implement a rate increase in 2024 contracts until the trucking market rebounds.
SurfaceTruckingIntermodal providers

Inland23: US trucking costs rising amid weak demand

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor | Sep 27, 2023, 2:21 PM EDT

Rising labor costs — both behind the wheel and at the warehouse, elevated diesel prices and cross-dock scarcity in major cities are making it more costly to run transportation networks, attendees at the Journal of Commerce’s Inland Distribution Conference were told.
SurfaceTruckingTruckloadLTLTrucking labor

Norfolk Southern expands Florida service through deal with FEC

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Sep 27, 2023, 1:34 PM EDT

 The Class I railroad said it and Florida East Coast Railway are looking to take more trucks off the road with the additional intermodal service offering.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Montreal’s uncertain mega-project opens window for Halifax, Saint John

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Sep 26, 2023, 6:14 PM EDT

Halifax and Saint John are expanding their container terminals as Class I railroads see an opportunity to serve major inland destinations from the Eastern Canadian ports.
North American portsContainer shippingNorth-American rail

Inland23: Industry not holding its breath for immediate freight recovery

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Sep 26, 2023, 4:31 PM EDT

A muted peak and post-peak season for imports and intermodal activity has shippers and service providers eyeing a freight rebound no earlier than late 2024.
Supply ChainIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Inland23: Pandemic yields rise in US truckload thefts

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Sep 26, 2023, 1:21 PM EDT

Solar panels and energy drinks are among the top targeted goods for truckload theft, with major markets such as Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago particularly ripe for those crimes.
SurfaceContainer shippingTrucking

CSX, NS Gulf Coast rail deal with Amtrak receives federal funding

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Sep 25, 2023, 3:04 PM EDT

The US Transport Department will back improvements along tracks that span the ports of Mobile and New Orleans to allow freight and passenger service to coexist.
North-American railNorth American ports

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