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

US shippers consolidating loads to create truck capacity

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Better use of existing trucks and trailers is creating truckload capacity and reducing transportation costs, but it’s not clear how long that fresh capacity will be available, DAT principal analyst Dean Croke says.
Truckload

Domestic intermodal sector struggling to regain footing: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
This year was expected to be a year of rebuilding for domestic intermodal, with recovery of some of the recent significant share losses; it isn’t working out that way so far, writes JOC analyst Larry Gross.
Rail News

BNSF struggling to deliver ocean boxes from Los Angeles to Chicago

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
A recent resurgence in international intermodal volumes is causing BNSF Railway to struggle to provide consistent service, disrupting the flow of containers between Los Angeles and Chicago.
North-American rail

UP reduces container surcharges in Oakland, Seattle

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific Railroad is reducing its surcharge on certain loads in 53-foot containers out of Oakland and Seattle because more boxes are available for shippers.
North-American rail

Port freight shift primes Gulf Coast spot truck rates

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The shift of containerized freight from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast and Southeast is absorbing truck capacity in those regions and pushing up spot rates, including rates from Houston to California.
Truckload

Magaya arms forwarders with automated LTL pricing tool

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Forwarding software provider Magaya is wading into the less-than-truckload technology market with an automated pricing tool meant to help its customers quote faster to shippers.
Logistics Technology NewsLTL

Congestion at KCS Dallas ramp causing month-long delays

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
A major disruption in Kansas City Southern’s terminal near Dallas is causing some shippers to wait more than a month to get their containers, and there is no timeline on when KCS will return to normal operations.
North-American rail

Truckload pricing tool partners with procurement vendors

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Fresh off a seed funding round in February, truckload pricing intelligence provider Greenscreens.ai has built connectivity with procurement technology partners FreightFriend and 3Gtms.
Logistics Technology NewsTrucking NewsTruck brokers

Falling China-Europe rail volumes may take years to recover: rail executives

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
Shippers and their service providers exiting the China-Europe rail route through Russia has slammed the brakes on a trade lane that expanded by almost 30 percent in 2021.
International rail

Freight marketplace Emerge chases ambitious growth

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Freight marketplace Emerge has designs on reshaping the truckload procurement space in North America, with an ambitious target of $20 billion in freight spend through its platform this year.
Logistics Technology NewsTruck brokersTrucking News

China’s chassis, container role ‘entrenched’ by government: FMC’s Bentzel

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
US Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel said China’s dominance in container and chassis manufacturing is the direct result of the Communist government’s support for the sector.
Intermodal providers

Lack of equipment spurs rail crisis at West Coast ports

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
West Coast ports and terminal operators say rail container dwell times have exploded of late, bringing back memories of last summer’s rail meltdown that led to congestion problems and equipment shortages throughout the inland supply chain.
North-American rail

Russia-free routes to Europe add time, money: forwarders

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
The reluctance to ship China export rail cargo through Russia to Europe is keeping forwarders busy, but the only available options come at a cost.
Rail News

Latest US import surge tightens inland chassis pools

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Marine chassis pools are getting tighter after a jump in international intermodal volume from West Coast ports in February, but stakeholders are hopeful of avoiding a repeat of 2021 when BNSF and Union Pacific terminals were overwhelmed with cargo.
North-American rail

Higher fuel costs blunting US spot truck rate decline

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Base US truckload spot rates are falling, but higher fuel costs and market volatility are limiting over-the-road savings for shippers.
Truckload

STG Logistics acquires XPO intermodal, drayage units

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
XPO’s intermodal division has been sold to STG Logistics, an LCL provider that primarily transloads international cargo in Los Angeles and Long Beach and uses 53-foot intermodal containers to distribute goods across the US.
Truck brokers

US truckload capacity seen rising ‘on margins’

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
After two incredibly tight years, the availability of truckload equipment and drivers is on the rise in the US, but constraints on capacity growth remain in place.
Truckload

Norfolk Southern Jacksonville terminal disrupted again after crane fire

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway is again restricting container traffic at its Jacksonville terminal, this time after a crane fire earlier this week.
North-American rail

NS resolves latest in string of Jacksonville disruptions

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway has struggled to maintain fluid operations in Jacksonville for more than a year, with the latest disruption involving chassis shortages, late-arriving trains, and overhead cranes breaking down.
North-American rail

BNSF-JB Hunt enhance partnership to replace Schneider, Swift volumes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
J.B. Hunt Transport Services will grow its box fleet by 40 percent to 150,000 containers within three to five years as it seeks to win market share from Union Pacific Railroad and its intermodal partners.
North-American rail

LTL regional carrier Pyle expands into Virginia

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Growing e-commerce and import-export business is pulling Northeast regional LTL carrier A. Duie Pyle south to Virginia, where it plans to open three terminals and connect to ports.
LTL

China-Europe rail under threat as shippers exit Russian route

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
For China-Europe rail shippers, there are precious few alternatives to the northern corridor that passes through Russia and Belarus and handles almost all the volume moved on the land bridge.
International rail

Fuel price spike reshaping US shipping networks

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The sudden increase in fuel-related shipping costs caused by the war in Ukraine is already changing how shippers plan to move goods within the US, forcing them to consolidate shipments and even change modes.
TruckloadLTL

Diesel gains will fuel resurgence in softening West Coast truck rates

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
While truckload rates off the West Coast have fallen in the last two months, analysts believe rising fuel prices will spur a rapid increase in shipper costs in the coming weeks.
Truckload

Yellow settles US overcharge claim for $6.8 million

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Less-than-truckload provider Yellow denied liability but agreed to settle a longstanding allegation that it charged the US Department of Defense too much for certain shipments before 2013.
LTL

Private container fleets herald ‘new era’ for US domestic intermodal: analyst

Lawrence Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
Trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) volumes have been fading away for years and may be nearing the end game as a “tidal wave” of new private 53-foot containers enters the US domestic intermodal system, according to JOC analyst Lawrence Gross.
Intermodal providers

CP’s volume, delays rising ahead of possible strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Shippers are frontloading cargo on Canadian Pacific Railway ahead of a potential Teamsters strike on March 16, causing a surge in volume and delays getting containers onto trains.
North-American rail

Loadsure snags funding round to drive real-time freight insurance

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Insurance technology provider Loadsure plans to use an $11 million funding round to expand in the US freight market and serve forwarders managing international shipments.
Logistics Technology NewsTruck brokers

CP-KCS run first joint Mexico-to-Chicago train

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern have run their first-ever Mexico to US Midwest international intermodal train together as the US Surface Transportation Board reviews the merger of the two railroads.
North-American rail

Shipper demand driving Knight-Swift deeper into LTL

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The truckload and less-than-truckload markets are closer than ever, as retail demand and inventory replenishment put pressure on capacity, Knight-Swift CEO David Jackson says.
LTL

XPO Logistics splitting North American businesses

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
XPO Logistics is spinning off its North American truckload brokerage business and looking to sell off its intermodal group.
LTL

JOC Rankings: Higher rates lead to unprecedented US LTL revenue gains

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Combined revenues among the 25 largest US LTL trucking companies jumped more than 20 percent in 2021, and the market conditions that allowed for that record-setting revenue growth remain firmly in place in early 2022.
Trucking NewsLTL

LTL volumes soar in February at truckers ODFL, Saia

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Double-digit increases in tonnage and volume at two of the largest less-than-truckload carriers in February reflect strong overall demand from US retail and industrial shippers.
LTL

JOC Rankings: Capacity, driver shortages constrain US truckload growth

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Fifteen of the top 25 US truckload carriers grew their revenue by double-digit percentages in 2021, with their expansion fueled by acquisitions and new services.
Trucking News

Asia-Europe rail cargo under pressure with Belarus booking suspensions

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
The land bridge rail network between Asia and North Europe, a popular alternative to ocean shipping, is now restricted as carriers suspend bookings to a key rail hub in Belarus.
International rail

TPM22: Marine chassis shortage to last into 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
There will not be enough marine chassis produced to make a dent in the supply shortage until 2023 because of rising volume, longer street dwells, and supply chain slowdowns affecting manufacturers, panelists told TPM22.
Truckload

TPM22: DCLI adding 40,000 domestic chassis to fleet

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
DCLI will order 40,000 domestic chassis to be delivered in 2022 and 2023, as more trucking companies and US retailers buy their own 53-foot containers to use on rail.
Truckload

Disruption forcing US importers to take greater control of landside logistics

William B. Cassidy, Ari Ashe, and Bill Mongelluzzo |
As container lines pull back on inland point intermodal (IPI), US importers are rethinking their landside delivery plans and containerized freight is moving further inland before being deconsolidated.
Rail NewsLTL

Restructured Roadrunner increases LTL freight velocity

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
On-dock automation and better analytical tools are helping linehaul LTL carrier Roadrunner cut transit times in 120 lanes as LTL shippers increase demand for speed, especially from ports.
LTL

UP to levy surcharges on West Coast next month

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
For the second consecutive year, Union Pacific Railroad is putting surcharges on excess cargo and spot volume out of California and Washington to control the supply of domestic 53-foot containers and chassis.
North-American rail