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

Weekend chassis access becomes post-COVID sticking point in US

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Some truckers think it is unfair that shippers incur demurrage on weekends when railroads are open and chassis locations are closed, but it’s a complex issue without an easy answer.
North-American railIntermodal providers

IANA warns against national reclassification of independent contractors

Teri Errico Griffis |
The Intermodal Association of North America is adding its voice to the chorus of opposition against a federal push to reclassify independent workers.
SurfaceTrucking NewsTrucking laborRail NewsTransport, Trade, and Regulation News

New bill in Alabama state house would boost tax credits for Mobile shippers

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Alabama legislators are looking to pass a series of new tax credits that aim to encourage more shippers to use the state’s ports and labor force.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsNorth-American rail

Container glut hurt J. B. Hunt, other intermodal providers in Q1

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Intermodal providers began idling thousands of domestic containers when demand fell sharply in the first quarter, causing an equipment glut across the US.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Hapag-Lloyd files FMC complaint against CSX over rail demurrage fees

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
Growing tension among shippers, ocean carriers, and logistics service providers over free time fees has ratcheted up with Hapag-Lloyd accusing subcontractor CSX of profiting from rail demurrage.
Transport, Trade, and Regulation NewsContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesRail NewsNorth-American rail

CPKC may spur growth in Mexican intermodal market: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
Data shows there is significant room for growth in the Mexican intermodal market, something the joining of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern could help spur, writes analyst Larry Gross.
North-American railSurfaceIntermodal providers

‘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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

UP CEO Fritz stepping down amid pressure from activist investor

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Fritz did not elaborate on what role the activist investor played in his decision to step aside, but the announcement came shortly after Soroban Capital wrote that “current [UP] management is not capable of driving a strong operating performance.”
Rail NewsNorth-American rail

Idle domestic containers being stacked as intermodal volumes tumble

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Volume declines are forcing intermodal providers to stack containers, unable to find cargo to fill the boxes because shippers have too much inventory, while trucking prices are so low that the freight is moving on highways.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Southeast, Gulf ports expect container uplift from electric vehicle plants

Michael Angell, Associate Editor and Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
With just under $50 billion in fresh investments unveiled last year for electric vehicle manufacturing plants in North America, ports in the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast are expecting additional volumes to soon be moving across their docks.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Russia picks up rail freight slack as China-Europe volume slumps

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
Official data shows overall volumes on the China-Europe rail network rose 6 percent last year over the then-record throughput handled in 2021, but there is no distinction between cargo destined for Europe or Russia.
Rail NewsForwardingAsia-EuropeInternational railIntermodal providers

UP shifting to stacked container operation at Joliet for California imports

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific is changing operations at its terminal outside Chicago in a bid to prevent future disruption by creating stacks for containers arriving from California, a move that will affect tens of thousands of ocean boxes per month.
Rail NewsNorth American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

New data casts doubt on H2 rebound in US freight demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor |
Despite better-than-expected factory output in January, the manufacturing spigot that releases shipping demand simply isn’t turning fast enough and retail inventories remain stubbornly high.
SurfaceTrucking NewsRail NewsSupply chain

WiseTech continues acquisition campaign with $414 million Blume purchase

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
WiseTech Global is doubling down on its reach into US intermodal networks with its $414 million purchase of Blume Global three weeks after acquiring drayage tech provider Envase.
Logistics Technology NewsMaritimeForwardingInternational railIntermodal providers

Cap European rail electricity price hikes or lose out to road: intermodal group

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe |
Long-haul rail freight in Europe, the main alternative to road transport, is being undermined as the cost of electricity far outstrips diesel, say combined transport stakeholders.
Rail NewsTrucking NewsLTLInternational railIntermodal providers

APM plans $60 million investment to boost Mobile rail infrastructure

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Mobile’s inland intermodal reach is getting a boost from a planned $60 million investment by APM Terminals into the port’s container railyard.
North American portsContainer Shipping NewsNorth-American rail

Intermodal contract savings fell in Q4 ahead of 2023 bids

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Shippers saved less than in prior quarters on their intermodal contracts to close 2022, setting up a race to the bottom this year to keep freight on the rails.
Rail NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Norfolk Southern adds to Southeast intermodal capacity with new cranes

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Norfolk Southern’s plan to bring more capacity to its international intermodal business this year has kicked off with new cranes enabling the stacking of marine containers at its Austell ramp in Georgia.
North-American railContainer Shipping NewsNorth American portsIntermodal providers

US railroads looking to mend fences with labor after trying 2022

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
US Class I railroads are taking steps to address quality-of-life issues for their employees, including reducing on-call positions, avoiding furloughs, and introducing more flexible working structures.
North-American rail

Bridge repair along UP’s LA/LB-Midwest network nearing completion

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The approximately 72-hour repair on a bridge in New Mexico would appear to mitigate what could potentially have been a major disruption for UP’s international and domestic intermodal shippers.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Virginia lawmakers propose funds for state’s second inland port

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Some Virginia state legislators are looking to fund a second inland port, but the project’s prospects hinge on railroad and shipper demand, according to a study.
North American portsRail NewsIntermodal providers

UP says all container traffic halted on its network between LA and Midwest

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
An outage involving a bridge in New Mexico in the heart of Union Pacific’s network is causing major delays for intermodal and automotive shippers between Southern California and two major inland hubs.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail