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

Softer truck rates, spotty rail service give intermodal providers tough sell

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Intermodal providers will have difficulty selling the rail product in early 2023 bids because truck rates continue to drop while intermodal service has been lackluster.
North-American rail

STB extends public hearings on CP-KCS merger

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
The Surface Transportation Board opened public sessions last Wednesday for three days of testimony, but scheduled three additional days of mostly virtual sessions this week to accommodate all interested parties seeking to participate.
North-American rail

BNSF’s proposed inland rail hub aims to speed LA-LB cargo flow

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
BNSF’s proposed inland hub 130 miles from Los Angeles–Long Beach will reduce port congestion and eliminate thousands of truck moves by shuttling marine containers by rail to transloading warehouses.
Intermodal providers

UP, CSX reaffirm commitment to small, mid-sized shippers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
CSX and Union Pacific say they are committed in the long term to all intermodal shippers, whether they use private containers with Schneider National or rely on the rail-owned container pool.
North-American rail

More chassis, yard space cut container backlog at BNSF Alliance terminal

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor and Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
A backlog of containers at BNSF’s Dallas-Fort Worth rail ramp has been reduced by about 25 percent due to more chassis coming into its yard and additional space and lift equipment.
North-American rail

Rate drops, surcharge absence signal weak intermodal rail peak

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Domestic intermodal providers have not put peak season surcharges in place in Southern California this year, a far cry from the $5,000 per container surcharges in Los Angeles each of the last two years.
North-American rail

NS Jacksonville service improved in Q3

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway has made improvements in service in Jacksonville in the last three months, according to service metrics and intermodal marketing companies.
North-American rail

Intermodal equipment shortages, congestion should ease by early 2023: analyst

Lawrence Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
The North American intermodal sector is quickly approaching a pivot point that will move it from equipment scarcity and congestion to equipment abundance and better cargo flows, and the speed of this change will take many by surprise.
Rail News

UP ousts CP from shared container pool in favor of CN

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific has ejected Canadian Pacific from a shared pool of rail-owned domestic containers, a move likely related to the pending CP-Kansas City Southern merger that could take business away from UP.
North-American rail

CSX taps former Ford executive as new CEO

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
CSX said its future CEO brings a deep understanding of the manufacturing and energy sectors, both critical customer bases for the eastern railroad.
North-American rail

Tentative contract deal averts crippling US rail strike

JOC Staff |
The tentative deal comes after a marathon 20-hour negotiating session lasting all day Wednesday and into Thursday at the Department of Labor, with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh hosting leadership from railroads and the unions.
Rail News

Confidence waning as ports, rails prepare for strike

JOC Staff |
While railroad management and unions were meeting with US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to avert a strike, confidence is waning as shippers, railroads, and ports prepare for a shutdown early Friday.
North-American rail

Pressure building in Washington to avert rail strike

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
All eyes turned to Washington amid the realization that a rail strike disrupting the already fragile US supply chain six weeks before crucial midterm elections would not be helpful to the White House and Congressional Democrats.
North-American rail

Talks continue as railroads plan to halt operations

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Shippers are in a wait-and-see mode as the obstacle to a deal with the country’s two largest rail unions is about lifestyle concerns rather than compensation, a source close to the negotiations told JOC.com.
North-American rail

US railroads to begin cutting service as deal with biggest unions remains elusive

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The stakes are high for a rail labor deal to be reached because the Association of American Railroads estimates that a strike would cost the US economy $2 billion per day, while a disruption would be a political liability for the Biden administration.
North-American rail

Norfolk Southern revamping international network in 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern will convert all its international intermodal terminals to ground container facilities beginning in 2023, saying it has learned from the import surge and longer dwells that stacking boxes is the best way to keep cargo flowing.
North-American rail

Maersk halts Fort Worth import bookings amid inland backlog

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Maersk has stopped accepting inland point intermodal freight for Fort Worth due to inland rail ramp congestion that has resulted in severe delays in the retrieval of import cargo.
North-American rail

Rising electricity prices erode European rail competitiveness

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
The rising cost of electricity is the latest challenge facing rail freight in Europe, which finds itself being uncompetitive with trucking while at the same time being overwhelmed by growing volumes.
International railAsia-Europe

NS reconfiguring Kansas City terminal amid import deluge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern is bumping domestic containers to two auxiliary lots in Kansas City as a surge in long-dwelling import boxes has exceeded the existing capacity of its terminal in the market.
North-American rail

NS opening lots in Memphis to address terminal gridlock

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Norfolk Southern Railway opened two auxiliary lots to handle as many as 2,000 ocean containers to relieve the gridlock clogging its main terminal outside Memphis.
North-American rail

European rail network must adapt to ‘new reality’: intermodal union

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
Multiple crises in Europe are leading to greater demand for rail transport, but the network is not able to handle any large-scale cargo shift from the disrupted road and barge sectors.
International rail

Revisions to UP Lathrop project a ‘win’ for some IMCs

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
UP has made changes to its reconstruction project in Northern California that should reduce the overall financial and volume impact on some domestic intermodal shippers.
North-American rail

US railroads reach contract deal with smaller unions

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Three of 12 unions representing rail workers reached a tentative deal to avert a strike next month, but two of the largest unions have still not reached an agreement with US freight railroads.
North-American rail

Charleston moves ahead with plans for near-dock intermodal facility

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
Charleston’s planned near-dock intermodal facility would allow the port more autonomy to move cargo and the ability to connect with major cities like Atlanta and Charlotte.
Rail News

RoadOne adds to transload footprint in Oakland, Norfolk

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor |
RoadOne sees demand for transload services as being sustainable enough to outlast any economic downturn as it invests in facilities in Norfolk and Oakland.
Rail NewsDrayageTrucking News

Presidential board recommends large pay hike for US rail workers

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor |
US railways and union workers have 30 days to review the wage and benefit recommendations made by the Presidential Emergency Board created by the White House last month to oversee the closely watched negotiations.
North-American rail

Proposed Southern California rail-served inland port gaining traction

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
The proposed rail-served Mojave Inland Port 90 miles north of Los Angeles is being pitched as a one-stop shop for retailers, logistics providers and the railroads as an alternative to the congested truck corridors in the more densely populated Inland Empire.
Intermodal providers

CN’s eastern Canada depots aim to relieve western port backlog

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
Canadian National Railway is looking to pare down the backlog of import containers at Vancouver and Prince Rupert port terminals by shuttling boxes to “relief” yards near Toronto and Montreal.
North-American rail

H1 data masks big changes afoot in domestic intermodal: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst |
Domestic intermodal has not yet been able to demonstrate the ability to fully recover from the share lost during the post-pandemic surge, although private owners of domestic containers are hoping to change that.
Rail News

UP giving partial rebates for Lathrop–Oakland shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific Railroad will issue a partial rebate on intermodal loads in Northern California to help defray the cost of moving boxes between Lathrop to Oakland starting next month.
North-American rail

Knight-Swift expects H2 intermodal rebound as UP deal evolves

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Knight-Swift's CEO acknowledged some shippers did not stick with Swift Intermodal after the switch to UP because their networks were better aligned with former rail partner BNSF.
Rail News

Multiple pain points test forwarders on China–Europe rail route

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
The main rail option from China for European importers is via the so-called “middle corridor,” but as demand steadily increases, so too are the many chokepoints along the route.
International railAsia-Europe

Rhine low water levels restrict loads, spark surcharges

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor |
Falling water levels on the Rhine are a seasonal problem, but this summer a European heatwave and low rainfall has left parts of the river virtually impassable.
Intermodal providers

JOC Intermodal Savings Index: Truck rates poached rail freight in Q2

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Intermodal discounts declined in the second quarter both sequentially and year over year as shippers were able to negotiate lower spot and contract truckload rates with motor carriers.
Intermodal providers

Kansas City rail congestion building for second straight year

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Rail terminals are congested for the second consecutive year in Kansas City, causing truckers and importers to lash out at BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
North-American rail

Inland congestion cuts LA-LB intermodal rail service to record low

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor |
The steep reduction in rail services to Los Angeles-Long Beach is having a knock-on impact at the terminal gates, with the average truck turn time increasing by four minutes in July.
Rail News

BNSF taps Tacoma for new Midwest intermodal freight gateway

Michael Angell, Associate Editor |
BNSF has partnered with the Northwest Seaport Alliance to open a new intermodal rail yard near the Port of Tacoma that will serve cargo destined for US Midwest markets.
North-American rail

BNSF, UP metering inland containers from LA-LB

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
BNSF and UP are metering containers from Southern California to avoid another intermodal meltdown like last summer, but the move is causing some import boxes to sit for six weeks or longer.
North-American rail

Biden appoints Emergency Board to intervene in rail negotiations

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor; Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
The Presidential Emergency Board, which consists of arbitrators and negotiators familiar with the issues being contested, has 30 days to issue a nonbinding recommendation to the two sides.
North-American rail

Shippers face higher rates linked to UP realignment in Northern California

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor |
Union Pacific is temporarily shifting some domestic intermodal traffic from Lathrop to Oakland, a move that may present opportunities for BNSF and the truckload sector to capture market share on routes to the Gulf Coast and Southeast.
North-American rail