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

Customer service, not falling rates, the focus for 2023: UP

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The Class I railroad vowed it would focus on providing better service to shippers in 2023 and move to heal wounds from tense labor negotiations by addressing quality-of-life issues affecting its workforce.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Waning demand, service issues to weigh on international intermodal volumes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
If inland rail ramps remain congested due to chassis shortages and discretionary imports continue to flow away from the West Coast to the East Coast, international intermodal volumes could decline for a second straight year.
Intermodal providersSurfaceNorth-American rail

J.B. Hunt focusing on faster container turns to move more loads

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
J.B. Hunt Transport Services will focus on working with shippers to empty containers in a more expedited manner as freight is moving slower than ever with box turn ratios falling for four consecutive years.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Intermodal markets shift into recession after no peak season: J.B. Hunt

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Intermodal shippers are sitting on the sidelines until warehouses unclog and rail service improves, which will result in lower contract rates for shippers in 2023.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Domestic intermodal rail volumes likely to slip after 2022 uptick

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
As consumer buying patterns return to a more normal mix of goods and services in 2023, domestic intermodal providers will have to find a way to fill a huge influx of boxes ordered during the pandemic.
SurfaceIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Elevated chassis dwell times persist in Chicago, Kansas City

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The lingering congestion in Chicago and Kansas City comes despite a decrease in US imports and a relatively low volume of freight being transported inland by train.
North-American rail

Inland hubs use lessons learned in 2022 to prep for next cargo surge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
To better handle the next cargo surge, inland hubs need to own enough equipment so they can build and deconstruct container stacks while possessing the technology to plan for cargo retrieval.
North-American rail

Plan unveiled to allow Mobile’s rail freight to run alongside Amtrak service

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Amtrak had asked federal regulators for permission to restart a passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile that had not operated since Hurricane Katrina, but Class I railroads and the Port of Mobile opposed the move.
North American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

UP lifts storage penalty cap on containers in Chicago, Kansas City

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific has removed the demurrage penalty caps on cargo in Chicago and Kansas City, although trucking companies indicate some international containers remain stacked in both cities because of a shortage of marine chassis.
North-American rail

UP looks to boost ag exports through new Oregon intermodal ramp

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
A new Oregon intermodal ramp linked to Union Pacific’s network should ease ag shipper frustrations over rising transportation costs and limited container availability.
North-American railContainer Shipping News

Norfolk Southern to shut container spillover lot near Memphis

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway will shut one of two container spillover lots outside Memphis this week after a significant reduction in rail boxes coming into the inland hub from Savannah.
North-American railNorth American ports

Hapag-Lloyd hit with FMC rail demurrage complaint

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
The filing is just the latest in a barrage of complaints made against various container lines with the FMC in recent months, a flurry accelerated by major reform of US shipping law that went into effect in June.
Transport, Trade, and Regulation NewsContainer Shipping NewsContainer linesDrayageRail NewsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Forwarding tech providers push into US trucking market

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
The need for forwarders to tether quoting and tracking in international freight modes to US surface modes has been highlighted by new offerings from ECU Worldwide and Freightos.
Trucking NewsForwardingTruckloadLTLIntermodal providersAir Cargo Forwarder NewsLogistics Technology News

Calmer supply chain waters beckon in 2023

Bill Cassidy, Senior Editor |
As the US economy slows, logistics managers are searching not just for lower supply chain costs but a normalization of freight flows and networks, a level of stability and predictability that remains elusive.
Container Shipping NewsForwardingTrucking NewsNorth-American rail

Intermodal volumes falling fast, rates to follow in 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Domestic intermodal volume suffered its worst November in seven years, which will put additional pressure on intermodal providers to provide concessions to shippers on contracts for 2023.
North-American railIntermodal providers

US intermodal shippers weigh spot vs. contract option heading into 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Domestic intermodal shippers are paying less on the spot market than under contracts in several key outbound West Coast lanes, but riding the spot market deep into 2023 is a gamble that may or may not pay off.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

US IPI needs fresh approach to recovering market share: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst |
A more complex — and agile — approach will be required to help inland point intermodal grab a larger share of the freight that is arriving at US ports, writes JOC analyst Larry Gross.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Loss of Russia rail volume offset by rising Central Asia trade

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
A broad shift in China-Europe rail from the northern route through Russia to the middle corridor transiting Central Asia is unlocking new and largely untapped containerized markets for service providers.
International rail

Norfolk Southern acknowledges need to restore shipper confidence in rail

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern furloughed thousands of employees during the early days of the pandemic and struggled to rehire the workforce necessary to handle the surge in intermodal volumes.
North-American rail

Meeting Europe’s modal shift to rail will top $500 billion: study

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
Moving a significant share of Europe’s inland cargo from road to rail will be costly and challenging, but it is achievable through better utilization of door-to-door combined transport, a new report has found.
International railBreakbulk carriers

Bipartisan Senate vote ends threat of US rail strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The Senate measure ends the threat of a country-wide rail strike that could have begun Dec. 9, crippling cargo movement in the midst of the holiday season.
North-American rail

House takes action to avert crippling US rail strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The US House of Representatives has waded into ongoing rail negotiations, passing a bill to prevent a potential strike and a second resolution that would give workers seven paid sick days.
North-American railNorth American ports

Rail shippers confident Congress will avert strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Trade groups representing railroads and shippers are confident Congress will act to prevent a potential strike in December, but that is not stopping them from discussing the stakes involved.
North-American rail

Top unions split on tentative agreement with US rails

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Lawmakers in Washington will face pressure to bridge the divide between rail labor and management because any job action could snarl supply chains in the weeks leading up to end-of-year holidays.
North-American rail

UP to lift demurrage caps at seven inland terminals

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific Railroad will no longer cap storage fees at seven inland ramps beginning next week, citing declining import volumes on the West Coast that has restored more typical cargo flow.
North-American rail

UP battling box congestion at Chicago, Dallas terminals

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
UP is navigating congestion as ocean containers pile up in stacks in Chicago and Dallas, but the western US railroad believes it will clear the backlog at both terminals before the end of the year.
North-American rail

Third US rail union rejects tentative labor agreement

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers has become the third union to reject a collective bargaining agreement with US railroads reached in September, but no strike or lockout can take place until December.
North-American rail

Intermodal providers clawing to keep rail business in 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The aggressive moves by intermodal providers to keep business with lower pricing come after North American domestic intermodal demand fell 10 percent between March and September.
Intermodal providers

BNSF struggles persist for international loads in Chicago

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Congestion continues at BNSF’s Logistics Park Chicago terminal as chassis shortages have led to prolonged turn times for truckers using LPC or other BNSF spillover lots.
North-American rail

Seventh union ratifies tentative US rail agreement

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
While three rail unions have yet to vote, one more has ratified the tentative five-year contract brokered in mid-September, bringing US Class I railroads and the dozen unions one step closer to a national bargaining agreement.
North-American rail

Lower LA-LB imports help BNSF clear Dallas congestion

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
With softer import volumes coming from Los Angeles-Long Beach, BNSF has made significant progress clearing the backlog of ocean containers at its Dallas-area terminal and hopes to restore normal conditions within weeks.
North-American rail

Inland woes boosting rail dwells in Vancouver

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor; and Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
A refusal by some truck drivers to call at congested rail ramps in Toronto and Montreal has caused the clogs to extend back to Vancouver, where rail container dwells are on the rise again after improving in September.
Intermodal providers

JOC Intermodal Savings Index: Strong Q3 contract discounts

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The JOC Intermodal Savings Index shows intermodal contracts saved shippers a lot of money in the third quarter, but spot rail rates saved very little, especially on short hauls in the eastern US.
Intermodal providers

‘Too early’ to discuss 2023 rail contracts: Hub, Schneider

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Hub Group and Schneider National sidestepped questions about intermodal contracts for 2023, a far different approach than the two companies took a year ago when the pricing power was on their side.
Intermodal providers

US trade groups urge Biden to re-engage to avert rail strike

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
Now that a second rail union has rejected the tentative contract deal brokered by the Biden administration, trade associations are asking the White House to intervene before a potential November strike.
North-American rail

Falling volumes drive leaner forecast for US intermodal

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
While US intermodal shippers are pleased service has improved, some don’t need the service reliability they sought earlier in the year because of elevated inventories and fears of an economic recession.
Intermodal providers

UP ‘confident’ rail labor issues will be resolved without strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The rank-and-file of the US’s third-largest rail union rejected a tentative deal hammered out last month, raising fears of a crippling strike just days before Thanksgiving.
North-American rail

Norfolk Southern aims to boost grain shipments through NY-NJ

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Norfolk Southern is adding a containerized grain export service from Ohio to the Port of New York and New Jersey as the Midwest harvest season looms and shippers seek alternative routings.
North-American rail

Congestion easing at BNSF St. Louis, Fort Worth terminals

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
BNSF Railway has lowered container backlogs at two inland rail ramps as regional chassis shortages ease, allowing shippers to pick up freight more quickly.
North-American rail

Barstow intermodal project could transform Southern California intermodal picture

Lawrence Gross, president, Gross Transportation Consulting |
BNSF’s newly announced Barstow International Gateway, with a rail yard, an intermodal terminal, and transload warehouses in Barstow, Calif., has the potential to transform California intermodal traffic with improved throughput and velocity, lower costs, and a reduced environmental impact.
Rail News