Rail News

The Journal of Commerce’s analysis and coverage of North American and global rail news encompasses Class I railroad, intermodal marketing providers, and supporting drayage and truckload services. Reporting on freight railroad news today, journalists track volume, intermodal freight rates, service levels, precision schedule railroading, transloading, regulation, union labor and network investment at domestic and international intermodal terminals.

The latest Rail News & Analysis

Container volume decline shows trouble on Canadian-US border: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
The intermodal routing option from Canada to the Midwest began to fall out of favor beginning in 2021 and accelerated in late 2022 when ISO containers moving in the lane fell below levels last seen six years ago.
North-American rail

Ports America, CN launch Gulfport intermodal service targeting perishables

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
The new north-south service will begin next week with trial runs transporting perishable goods out of Latin America to Chicago.
Rail NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American railCool Cargo News

Weak US imports via Western Canada reveal BC port challenge

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor |
The cracks in the gateway’s attractiveness to importers and exporters out of the US Midwest were showing before this July’s work stoppage and the decline in import demand across North America.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesNorth-American rail

J. B. Hunt-BNSF launch new intermodal service to grab time-sensitive freight

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The premium service run by the long-time partners aims to capture so-called just-in-time cargo that has historically been shipped via truck.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Mobile looks to boost container terminal capacity to handle intermodal demand

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Once fully complete by 2025, the current expansion project would allow the port to handle 1.1 million TEUs annually, up from 650,000 TEUs.
North American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

New chassis pool launches in Memphis to boost competition in market

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The new pool will generate options for truckers and cargo owners moving ocean containers through the major inland market.
International railNorth-American rail

Hub Group says it lost shippers because of uncompetitive rates

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Hub Group said its intermodal business trailed competitors in the third quarter despite a mini-peak that developed in Southern California in September.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Railroads wait for international intermodal rebound amid some Q3 gains

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
International intermodal volume in North America fell in the third quarter year over year, but there are glimmers of optimism among some US railroads.
North-American rail

Prince Rupert to build large export transload facility to balance cargo mix

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
Construction of the C$750 million, 400,000-TEU facility for Canadian and US agricultural and resin exports will be key to achieving more balanced two-way trade through the Western Canadian port.
MaritimePort NewsNorth American portsNorth-American rail

J. B. Hunt believes intermodal market ‘coming out’ of freight recession

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Despite reporting lackluster third-quarter financial results, the intermodal service provider is cautiously optimistic that the worst of the US freight recession is in the past.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Mexican intermodal market living up to growth expectations: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
It appears Mexico is beginning to fulfill its growth potential for domestic intermodal, with asset-based carriers ramping up their activity within the country and in the cross-border market, writes analyst Larry Gross.
SurfaceIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Ex-Tiger Cool executives take second stab at Washington state reefer ramp

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Tri-Cities Intermodal said it will revive plans to refurbish a cold storage warehouse and rail ramp served by Union Pacific’s intermodal service.
Intermodal providersNorth American portsNorth-American rail

Norfolk Southern ramping up services to West Coast in operational shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
US exporters had limited options to send westbound freight in recent years under precision scheduled railroading, but railroads are beginning to restore some services in a bid to improve relations with shippers.
North-American rail

Solution to US rail demurrage question remains elusive

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission wants to thread the needle to find a way to address rail demurrage within the confines of the US Shipping Act, but it’s not an easy proposition.
North-American rail

IANA expo shone harsh light on recent rail failures: analyst

Ted Prince, founder and CEO, Tri-Cities Intermodal LLC |
The tone of the recent event was “very dark,” writes analyst Ted Prince, who says the combination of a good economy but low volumes has created widespread confusion in the intermodal sector.
North-American railRail NewsIntermodal providers

Union Pacific launches Mexico-Southeast service to meet growing demand

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Transit times are still in flux, but UP believes the service will take seven to eight days to Atlanta and an additional one or two days to Charlotte and South Florida.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Inland23: Railroads vow service will remain strong when volume rebounds

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
North American Class I railroads understand why shippers and logistics providers are skeptical about intermodal service, but they believe disruptions experienced in recent years will not happen again.
North-American rail

Inland23: Mexico-to-Southeast intermodal service due to launch in late 2024

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 |
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.
SurfaceTrucking NewsIntermodal providers

Norfolk Southern expands Florida service through deal with FEC

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
 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 |
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 Shipping NewsNorth-American rail

Inland23: Industry not holding its breath for immediate freight recovery

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
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

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

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
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

Norfolk Southern teams with tech company to ease intermodal cargo flow

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 Technology NewsNorth-American rail

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

Lars Jensen, CEO & Partner, Vespucci Maritime, and JOC Analyst |
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 linesPort NewsMarine terminalsRail News

J.B. Hunt brokerage acquisition deepens partnership with BNSF

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
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 providersTrucking NewsRail News

Intermodal providers uncertain whether railroads are prepared for volume rebound

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 |
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 |
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.
Rail NewsForwardingInternational rail

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

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
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.
SurfaceRail NewsIntermodal providers

Minor peak season expected in domestic intermodal market: Hub Group

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 |
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

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

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
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.
MaritimeForwardingTrucking NewsInternational railAir CargoAir Cargo Forwarder NewsSupply chain

BNSF deploying cameras, drones to boost terminal cargo flow

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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

Domestic container fluidity will pick up when volume rebounds: Schneider

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 |
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 News

NS delays Atlanta appointment system after Memphis rollout woes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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 rail

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
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