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 trucking market still seeking bottom, but a bounce is expected

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
There is still room for spot rates to fall, but rates and freight demand are likely to turn later in the second half, analysts say. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckloadLTL

US trucking firms adding jobs ahead of expected freight demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
In preparation for produce season and retail sales, for-hire trucking companies are adding to their payrolls for the first time since October, although warehousing employment is still declining.
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckloadLTL

Savannah to open Gate 4 at Garden City Terminal on Sundays: GPA

Teri Errico Griffis |
The move comes less than two months after GPA said it would stop offering evening truck hours at Savannah as volumes moving through the port have slowed significantly in recent months.
Marine terminalsNorth American portsTrucking News

‘One FedEx’ seeks better balance between air, rail, trucking

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
To reduce costs, FedEx’s system-wide network overhaul will create a stronger North American “ground-air” trucking network, including FedEx Freight, and increase its use of US intermodal rail, the company says.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTLIntermodal providersSupply chain

Intermodal service improving, but UP lags competition: survey

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
While domestic intermodal service was better in the first quarter than the fourth quarter of 2022, Union Pacific grappled with weather challenges that caused it to fall behind its competitors in the eyes of shippers and intermodal marketing companies.
North-American rail

US regulators digging deeper into truck driver detention data

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
As it studies truck driver detention, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hopes data from electronic logging devices may help pinpoint solutions for drivers, carriers, and shippers.
SurfaceTrucking News

NY-NJ gets rail grant as port seeks to grow intermodal franchise

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
The Port of New York and New Jersey aims to complete a project in the next two years designed to speed the movement of intermodal trains as other ports along the East Coast jockey for discretionary cargo.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Dispute over restructuring between Yellow, Teamsters gets more strident

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Yellow calls Teamster complaints about its restructuring plans baseless and inaccurate, and urges “serious discussion” as accusations escalate.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

Cargo owners push for greater FMC regulation over rail storage fees

Teri Errico Griffis |
NSAC says it supports reasonable detention and demurrage practices, but wants to correct “abuse” of the system by regulating that rail operators directly invoice ocean carriers for storage, not importers.
Transport, Trade, and Regulation NewsContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesNorth-American rail

Forwarders raked in record revenues in 2022 despite H2 demand collapse

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Historic highs in global freight volumes and rates in the first half of last year helped insulate third-party logistics providers (3PLs) from a market collapse in the second half.
ForwardingContainer Shipping NewsTruck brokersAir Cargo Forwarder News

Record profit for DB Schenker lifts parent group into black

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
Despite being prepared for divestiture, the performance of global forwarder DB Schenker is the only reason Deutsche Bahn group is profitable at present.
ForwardingAsia-EuropeInternational railIntermodal providers

Targets for Europe’s modal shift not feasible: rail freight sector

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
Far greater ambition will be required by European Commission policy makers if targets to double the market share of rail freight by 2050 are to be achieved, according to rail freight operators.
SurfaceTrucking NewsInternational rail

Teamsters taking more hardline approach toward LTL trucking employers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The Teamsters union promises a tougher approach in contract talks with ABF Freight and TForce Freight, and is opposing major network changes proposed by Yellow, its largest freight employer.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

Canadian National to boost transloading with new Calgary facility

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The project is the latest in a series of steps to address the imbalance between domestic and international intermodal volumes in Canada.
North-American rail

US outlook for second-half rebound of Asia imports darkens

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor |
US big-box retailers are receiving fewer imports while inventories remain elevated and US consumer confidence teeters, boding poorly for a significant second-half rebound in Asia container imports, writes JOC Executive Mark Szakonyi.
Trans-PacificContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesForwardingMarine terminalsNorth American portsTrucking News

German strikes over pay dispute cripple transportation network

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
German unions demanding inflation-busting wage increases walked off the job Monday, bringing the country’s transport system to a halt.
SurfaceForwardingRail NewsInternational railAirport NewsAir Cargo Forwarder NewsTransport, Trade, and Regulation News

UP shippers facing delays on key Chicago-LA corridor

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Intermodal providers say they are struggling to bring 53-foot containers into UP’s terminals in Chicago and nearby Joliet, causing delays of several days to move cargo to the West Coast.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Knight-Swift to buy truckload carrier U.S. Xpress for $808 million 

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Knight-Swift, the largest US truckload provider, will substantially expand its reach and scalability for shippers with the purchase of U.S. Xpress, the country’s ninth-largest truckload carrier.
SurfaceTrucking NewsTruckload

FedEx Freight cuts costs but improves profit as US LTL volumes shrink

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
With ‘every dollar under scrutiny,’ FedEx Freight is squeezing its trucking division, gaining financial improvements that better position the carrier for the next economic rebound. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

CP-KCS could benefit from rising tide of cross-border freight from Mexico

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The combined railroad has an opportunity to divert more than 64,000 truck shipments to intermodal rail, according to S&P Global, but that’s only the crest of a wave of US imports from Mexico. 
SurfaceTrucking NewsRail NewsInternational railIntermodal providers

Shipwell arms ‘underserved’ smaller shippers with automated bidding tool

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Shippers that often use spreadsheets and small transportation teams to bid and execute freight shipments are the target of a new software tool from technology provider Shipwell.
Logistics Technology NewsTrucking NewsTruckloadLTLTruck brokers

US truckload rates drop sharply in February, but not LTL pricing: PPIs

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Trucking is a tale of two sectors in early 2023, with truckload carriers making more significant contract rate concessions than less-than-truckload companies, according to the US producer price index.
Trucking NewsTruckloadLTL

US regulators approve CP-KCS merger to form first US-Canada-Mexico rail

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
In approving the $31 billion merger, the Surface Transportation Board rejected arguments from the FMC and competing railroads that the deal would harm US ports and shippers.
North-American railNorth American portsSurfaceTransport, Trade, and Regulation News

US trucking, warehousing firms shed jobs, but still have more than a year ago

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Most of the transportation job losses reported for February were due to seasonal cuts rather than economic contraction, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Supply chainSurfaceTrucking NewsLast Mile News

US chassis market nearing ‘equilibrium’ after disruptive shortages

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Chassis providers believe the equipment shortages that bogged down inland supply chains in 2021 and 2022 will soon no longer be an issue for shippers, allowing the industry to return to a more typical supply/demand balance.
Container Shipping NewsTrucking NewsIntermodal providers

Intermodal share data point to opportunities: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
It stands to reason that the more miles one spends on low-cost rail, the better the comparative economics versus truck should be, but that’s not what happens in the real world, writes analyst Larry Gross.
SurfaceTrucking NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

OCEMA appeals chassis ruling to FMC commissioners

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association says the FMC’s chief administrative judge erred in issuing a summary judgement against the group because key facts are still in dispute.
Transport, Trade, and Regulation NewsContainer linesNorth American portsTrucking News

Drayage tech provider PortPro targeting shippers with new tracking tools

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Drayage software vendor PortPro is attempting to narrow the gap between the tools that port truckers and their shipper customers use with a new container milestone tracking product it has launched.
Logistics Technology NewsNorth American portsDrayageTrucking News

New NS Norfolk-Memphis service aims to grab East Coast cargo shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern and the Port of Virginia are not only targeting importers using trans-Atlantic services from Europe and Asia, but also exporters moving goods through Memphis, such as the cotton industry.
North American portsTrans-PacificTrans-AtlanticNorth-American rail

Shippers committed to digital investments in logistics: S&P Global

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Shippers are showing “healthy adoption” of a wide variety of digital transformation projects, according to new research from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Logistics Technology NewsContainer Shipping NewsPort NewsTrucking NewsSupply chain

Southern California volume declines cause truck, rail rates to plunge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Trucking and intermodal providers are offering discounts to secure freight in Southern California, where volumes are declining as imports from Asia fall.
SurfaceTrans-PacificNorth American portsTrucking NewsIntermodal providers

Maersk shifts detention billing to consignees ahead of FMC regulation

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
The move by the carrier comes as the FMC is in the midst of a rulemaking process around detention and demurrage billing mandated by the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 last June.
DrayageContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesNorth American portsTrucking NewsTransport, Trade, and Regulation News

Trucker group opposes Biden’s labor secretary pick over AB5 support

Teri Errico Griffis |
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says Julie Su’s support of AB5 while California’s labor secretary showed a lack of understanding of the owner-operator trucking model.
SurfaceTrucking News

Investors back Overhaul’s hybrid risk management–visibility strategy

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Supply chain risk-focused technology provider Overhaul has channeled demand for reducing exposure to cargo theft into a $38 million funding round just a few weeks after acquiring competitor SensiGuard.
Logistics Technology NewsContainer Shipping NewsTrucking NewsRail News

US startup eyes street turn tech expansion throughout North America

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Technology startup Qualle is trying to overcome drayage industry inertia around matching empty import boxes with export loads outside of ports by using early-stage funding to serve every North American port market.
Logistics Technology NewsPort NewsMarine terminalsNorth American portsDrayageTrucking News

More US shippers finding LTL savings, but no ‘price war’ 

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Several US shippers tell the Journal of Commerce they are getting rate concessions from their less-than-truckload carriers, but the price cuts are far from universal and may depend on how shippers bid.
SurfaceTrucking NewsLTL

Journal of Commerce Rankings: Top 25 truckload carriers saw big revenue gains in 2022

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
The last two years were highly profitable for the largest US truckload carriers, but 2023 promises to be a tougher time as rates and volumes decline.
SurfaceTrucking News

TPM23: Intermodal providers banking on transloading surge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Transloading is gaining popularity even as US imports have cooled in recent months, but shippers should weigh the pros and cons of transferring ocean containers into domestic boxes, TPM23 attendees were told.
Intermodal providersContainer Shipping NewsNorth-American rail

TPM23: CN focusing investment on capacity growth: CEO

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
Canadian National will grow its capacity based on the assumption that China will remain the biggest sourcing country for North America while acknowledging the shift under way into Southeast Asia, India, and potentially Africa that could fuel cargo through eastern Canada, its CEO told TPM23.
North-American railSurfaceSupply chain

UP ending chassis policy that rendered containers inaccessible

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The policy — known informally as the “no cherry picking” rule — prohibited trucking companies from coming into terminals with private chassis when there were no pool chassis available.
Rail NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail