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

Arrive testing matchmaker role between small carriers, private fleets

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Arrive Logistics is seeking to help owner-operators navigate a slowing freight market by opening opportunities to private fleets, which grew in number during the capacity-constrained pandemic period.
Trucking News

Roadrunner speeds network amid high LTL demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Long-haul LTL carrier Roadrunner is cutting transit times in 66 lanes and adding more direct routes and truck drivers as freight demand from its shippers remains strong, company executives say.
LTL

FMC members urge STB rejection of CP-KCS merger

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
Three FMC members ask the STB not to approve the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern, saying the deal would result in the loss of cargo to Canadian ports.
International rail

Transporeon touts freight matching as solution to ‘double brokering’

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Freight procurement specialist Transporeon has added a freight matching component to its product suite to help brokers tender spot freight to carriers already in their network.
Logistics Technology NewsTrucking NewsTruck brokers

No logistics ‘normalcy’ in sight for US shippers: CSCMP

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Despite softening spot rates in some modes, overall supply chain costs are rising, with higher interest rates putting more pressure on inventories, according to the CSCMP State of Logistics report.
Trucking NewsLTLTruck brokers

NS offers incentives to ocean carriers to balance container flows

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
A new Norfolk Southern incentive program for ocean carriers in New York-New Jersey and Virginia should help grow volume while encouraging a balanced flow of rail cars between inland terminals and the two ports.
North-American rail

Demand for digital truckload spot quotes rises as prices fall

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
C.H. Robinson Worldwide says the changing trucking market is driving up demand for automated spot pricing quotes by double-digit percentages.
Truck brokersLogistics Technology News

Long-haul truckload carriers continue regional buying spree

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
P.A.M. Transportation’s purchase of Northeastern carrier Metropolitan Trucking is the latest in a string of regional acquisitions by large national companies aimed at expanding services for shippers.
Truckload

Truckload, LTL costs keep climbing for US shippers: S&P Global

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
US producer price indexes show overall transportation costs and total trucking costs moved higher still in May, and S&P Global expects the trend to continue.
TruckloadLTL

Spot intermodal shippers turn to trucking amid rate declines

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Some US intermodal shippers are forgoing trains to put their spot freight on trucks because the cost savings associated with rail have narrowed significantly since January.
North-American rail

Don’t let ocean carriers off the hook for inland woes: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
Recent IPI activity shows that despite the focus shifting to railroads ahead of the next West Coast bottleneck, the decisions made by ocean carriers are the root cause of the problem, writes JOC analyst Larry Gross.
Rail News

Data helping drivers achieve higher LA-LB dual transaction rates: Dray Alliance

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
A drayage technology provider in the ports of LA and Long Beach that has prioritized dual transactions for its driver network said it is seeing a majority of moves in 2022 involve coordinated empty container drop-offs and laden import pickups.
North American portsTrucking News

UK trucking operator plans entry into US LTL market

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Pall-Ex Group, a franchise network of more than 700 truckers hauling palletized freight across Europe, wants to set up shop in the US and is looking for a beachhead in the LTL market.
LTL

NS metering volumes in five markets amid chassis shortage

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
A chassis shortage is forcing Norfolk Southern Railway to meter international intermodal loads through five inland markets as the railroad moves to keep its network fluid.
North-American rail

US spot truckload rates steadying after declines

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
US spot truckload rates are showing signs of stabilizing after recent declines, but analysts are uncertain how the market will play out as retailers determine their appropriate mix and level of inventories.
Truckload

US trucking acquisitions gaining speed in a tough market

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Acquisitions are a tool with which profitable large carriers such as Schneider National and Heartland Express are expanding their footprints and their portfolio of services, despite market headwinds.
Truckload

Shippers adapting to ‘realignment’ of US trucking capacity, rates

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The cooling of trucking’s transactional spot market signals a “realignment,” not a contraction, as shippers cement contractual agreements and freight demand rises, albeit more slowly.
TruckloadLTLTruck brokers

Delays rise at Ontario rail ramps amid surge in Vancouver volumes

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Canada’s Class I railroads have been dealing with a surge of freight from Vancouver that has taxed a shrinking pool of available truckers across the country in Ontario.
North-American railDrayage

Chassis shortage forces NS to adjust rules on free time, container fees

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The chassis shortage is affecting Norfolk Southern despite a 5.1 percent decline in volumes handled by the railroad between January and May compared with the same period in 2021.
North-American rail

US trucking’s hiring surge gaining momentum

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The addition of 22,500 trucking employees in May after a 14,900-gain in real jobs in April reveals a trucking sector confident in continuing freight demand as markets realign in 2022.
Trucking laborLTL

US DOT gives funds to Georgia inland port rail upgrades

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
The US Department of Transportation awarded Georgia $6 million to improve tracks that connect Savannah with the state’s first inland port.
North-American rail

Schneider-UP pitch new partnership directly to shippers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific Railroad and Schneider National have engaged intermodal shippers in recent weeks to discuss their new partnership and attempt to dispel any concerns about service disruptions during the transition from BNSF.
North-American rail

Heartland Express expands as truck market rebalances

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The acquisition of Smith Transport by Heartland Express points to continued strong freight demand as the shipping market seeks a new balance between contract and spot freight.
Truckload

China-Europe ‘middle’ rail corridor has long-term potential: Maersk

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
The only real option at present for rail cargo from China to Europe is the so-called “middle corridor,” even though the transit is often longer than ocean and 30 percent more expensive than the largely out-of-bounds northern alternative through Russia.
International rail

CP inks deal to move CMA CGM volumes in Canada

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
A new multi-year agreement will allow Canadian Pacific to handle the majority of CMA CGM’s freight through Canada, underscoring the railroad’s aggressive approach to gaining international intermodal volume.
International rail

Severe scarcity of US trailers frustrating shippers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Expanded use of trailer pools will help ‘consolidate truckload services’ and speed goods more efficiently, but first trucking companies, brokers, and shippers need more trailers.
TruckloadLTL

BNSF addressing congestion in Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
BNSF Railway is congested in Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City with not enough chassis to move ocean containers, but the railroad is taking several measures to alleviate the congestion.
North-American rail

UP says marine chassis supply is thin, stacking boxes necessary

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific Railroad is warning that chassis supply could get tight soon in several US markets and it will not allow shippers to use their own private chassis if DCLI, TRAC Intermodal, and Flexi-Van Leasing run out of equipment.
North-American rail

Lagging long-term growth a red flag for intermodal: analyst

Lawrence Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
That growth in trucking volumes has outpaced that of intermodal over the past seven years should be cause for concern for the intermodal industry, writes Larry Gross, president and founder of Gross Transportation Consulting and a JOC analyst.
Rail News

Dray tech provider acquires GPS tracking maker

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Drayage technology rollup Envase has added GeoStamp, a GPS-based port and drayage visibility and analytics provider, to its roster of tools for port carriers and intermodal providers.
Logistics Technology NewsNorth American portsTrucking News

NS chassis shortage affecting Pennsylvania shippers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Domestic containers have been idling in a Norfolk Southern terminal in eastern Pennsylvania because of a chassis shortage, but the railroad said it is delivering new equipment to the region and repositioning chassis from other markets to deal with the disruption.
North-American rail

US truck inspection blitz boosts spot rates on capacity drop

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
An unexpectedly large drop in spot market capacity last week during the annual “Roadcheck” program pushed dry-van and refrigerated spot rates up for the first time since January, according to DAT.
Truckload

NS crane repairs to address spotty service in Jacksonville

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway is hopeful that intermodal service in Jacksonville, which has been inconsistent since January 2021, will improve as damaged cranes are repaired in the next two months.
North-American rail

US data shows truckload, LTL pricing still rising

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
US Labor Department data that includes contract rates shows no drop in overall truck pricing in April, despite a truckload spot market rate plunge.
TruckloadLTLTruck brokers

Technology startup aims to improve shipper dray experience

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Technology provider Draying.io wants to use its experience in developing a transportation management tool for carriers to help shippers automate the sourcing and pricing of port moves.
Logistics Technology NewsNorth American portsTrucking News

US retailers struggle to ‘right-size’ inventories

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
For some US retailers, inventories are too high, but others are steadily building stockpiles to mitigate supply chain risks ahead of the year-end holidays, keeping freight demand high.
Trucking News

NS reducing IPI export service to West Coast ports

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway is reducing service on 120 international intermodal lanes to simplify its network and improve service, but some companies are worried it will harm exporters and chassis supply.
North-American rail

Steady US manufacturing, retail sales growth keeps freight demand rolling

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Increases in industrial production and retail sales in April suggest continuing strength in overall freight demand, despite tumbling truckload spot rates.
TruckloadLTL

Technology helping shippers track, trim detention time

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
US truck driver detention continues to disrupt landside supply chains, but 3PLs and technology firms are redoubling efforts to help shippers optimize the flow of trucks through their gates.
Trucking News

Chassis struggles return to Chicago despite lower demand

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Chassis shortages are disrupting rail ramps in Chicago for the second consecutive year, but cargo flow through other inland markets outside the Upper Midwest is more fluid than a year ago.
North-American rail