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

CSX looks to dismiss Hapag-Lloyd complaint amid FMC oversight question

Teri Errico Griffis | Jun 8, 2023, 10:19 AM EDT

While the FMC has jurisdiction over ocean carriers, it cannot regulate railroads simply because of their association with container lines, CSX said in a motion to disentangle itself from a demurrage complaint.
Transport, trade and regulationContainer shippingContainer linesSurfaceRailNorth-American rail

ILWU Canada threatens strike at Vancouver, Prince Rupert

Journal of Commerce staff | Jun 5, 2023, 5:39 PM EDT

ILWU Canada rank-and-file will vote later this week on whether to issue a 72-hour strike notice, raising the unprecedented prospect of disruption on Canada’s West Coast amid job actions by labor along the US West Coast.
Longshore laborContainer shippingTrans-PacificPortsNorth American portsNorth-American rail

Norfolk Southern eases free time, demurrage restrictions on ocean boxes

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 31, 2023, 2:29 PM EDT

The railroad is reducing demurrage fees and restoring additional free time that was eliminated in the past two years as international intermodal volumes have fallen sharply from East Coast ports.
RailNorth American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

New UP intermodal service from Houston to provide West Coast reach

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | May 30, 2023, 5:02 PM EDT

Union Pacific’s launch of direct intermodal service from Houston comes two weeks after competitor BNSF announced it would begin a new service from the port’s Barbours Cut marine terminal.
North-American railContainer shippingNorth American portsIntermodal providers

CPKC adds new reefer containers to Mexico-US service

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 30, 2023, 1:06 PM EDT

Weeks after starting a new daily train between central Mexico and Chicago, CPKC is introducing 1,000 temperature-controlled containers to the service in a bid to court freight from reefer shippers.
North-American rail

Shippers hold onto intermodal boxes amid warehouse reshuffling: survey

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 25, 2023, 3:49 PM EDT

As shippers scramble to shed unwanted inventory, more than 80% responding to a Journal of Commerce survey reported that they’ve kept 53-foot domestic containers for too long, incurring detention fees.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Shippers, regulators muddle through ‘grey area’ of rail storage fees

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor | May 24, 2023, 11:44 AM EDT

Shippers want Congress to address their inability to challenge rail demurrage fees when they contract for merchant haulage, but finding a solution will be tricky, writes Journal of Commerce Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi.
Container shippingDrayageSurfaceInternational railTransport, trade and regulation

PSA inks China-Europe ‘middle corridor’ deal with Kazakhstan Railways

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | May 23, 2023, 11:12 AM EDT

The Singapore-headquartered terminal operator has extended its reach deeper into the landside business, targeting the growing Central Asia rail freight market.
RailAsia-EuropeInternational rail

Pandemic-level drop in Q1 demand hits European intermodal transport

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | May 19, 2023, 10:11 AM EDT

A “perfect storm” of poor schedule reliability, persistently high electricity prices, weak demand and cheaper diesel for trucking continues to undermine Europe’s rail-dominated combined transport sector.
RailInternational railIntermodal providers

Lower volumes translate into better North American intermodal service: survey

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 18, 2023, 3:48 PM EDT

Customers were largely satisfied with intermodal service in early 2023, citing CSX and J. B. Hunt as the top overall providers in North America, according to a Journal of Commerce biannual survey.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

NITL lends support for move to give FMC oversight of rail storage fees

Teri Errico Griffis | May 17, 2023, 4:11 PM EDT

Rail storage has been at the forefront of recent regulatory discussion as the FMC solidifies its final rulemaking on detention and demurrage, with shippers wanting ocean carriers to be the billing party for such charges.
Transport, trade and regulationContainer shippingRailNorth-American rail

BNSF to launch new Houston intermodal service in June

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | May 16, 2023, 1:41 PM EDT

The railroad will start a twice-weekly service to Dallas and once-weekly service to Denver, but no ocean carrier as yet is offering inland moves from Houston.
North-American railNorth American portsIntermodal providers

FMC needs to take oversight of rail storage charges: shippers

Teri Errico Griffis | May 11, 2023, 4:07 PM EDT

Rail storage fees continue to be a point of contention for shippers and the National Shipping Advisory Committee wants the FMC to step up and take ownership.
Transport, trade and regulationContainer shippingRailNorth-American rail

Western Canadian ports missing out on USWC cargo diversions: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst | May 10, 2023, 9:42 AM EDT

One might expect that Western Canadian ports have benefited from cargo bound for the US Midwest being diverted from the US West Coast to avoid potential labor disruption, but that has not been the case, notes analyst Larry Gross.
Container shippingLongshore laborNorth American portsIntermodal providers

Weak Southern California port volumes hurting domestic intermodal

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 4, 2023, 10:19 AM EDT

Activity at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has a direct impact on the domestic intermodal market, large intermodal providers say, which is why rail volumes were so poor in the first quarter.
North-American railNorth American ports

US shipping interests want FMC to regulate rail storage fees

Teri Errico Griffis | May 3, 2023, 3:20 PM EDT

Currently, there is no US regulatory agency with direct authority to oversee application of rail storage fees under ocean carriers’ through bills of lading and to determine whether those charges are assessed properly.
Transport, trade and regulationMaritimeContainer shippingSurfaceRailNorth-American rail

Rail savings persisted in Q1, but were down from a year ago: ISI

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 3, 2023, 11:56 AM EDT

Intermodal shippers are saving less than a year ago, but they should anticipate that savings will increase in the months ahead as more annual contracts are signed.
Intermodal Savings IndexIntermodal providers

Crowley, CN strike Mexico intermodal deal through Port of Mobile

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | May 2, 2023, 4:12 PM EDT

Jones Act carrier Crowley will offer a new international container service from Mexico’s Gulf Coast into Mobile that will use Canadian National for inland reach to the US Midwest and Canada.
Container shippingNorth American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Drayage rates fall sharply amid downturn in NY-NJ port volumes

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | May 2, 2023, 12:12 PM EDT

New York-New Jersey port truckers who worked five days per week last year are now down to about half that amount, sending spot drayage rates well below levels seen in 2021 and 2022.
DrayageNorth American portsTruckingTruck brokersIntermodal providers

NS to require appointments to pick up boxes at Memphis terminal

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 1, 2023, 2:54 PM EDT

Norfolk Southern Railway will institute a mandatory appointment system for truckers handling ocean containers at its Memphis terminal and plans to expand the requirement to Atlanta before the end of the year.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Savannah wins environmental clearance for new inland terminal

Teri Errico Griffis | Apr 28, 2023, 2:12 PM EDT

The Georgia Ports Authority expects to begin construction on the approximately $170 million terminal in early 2024, which will have a focus on manufacturing imports and poultry exports.
North American portsPortsPort infrastructureNorth-American rail

Service levels to determine success in reshaped Mexico-US intermodal market

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 28, 2023, 12:53 PM EDT

Beyond the dynamics of the new partnerships, intermodal providers acknowledge that generating fresh cross-border business will be important for long-term growth to fill new containers, but only if the price is right.
Intermodal providersNorth-American rail

Mexico intermodal market heats up with CPKC, UP deals

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 25, 2023, 8:59 AM EDT

CPKC signed a deal with Swift Intermodal for a new daily train between central Mexico and Chicago less than 24 hours after Union Pacific announced a partnership with Canadian National and Ferromex.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Schneider-CPKC strike surprise deal on Mexico-US intermodal service

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 21, 2023, 2:39 PM EDT

Schneider National has inked a multiyear partnership with CPKC on intermodal service between Mexico and the US Midwest, a move that will provide new options for shippers seeking a single train to move their north-south freight.
North-American railIntermodal providers

Weekend chassis access becomes post-COVID sticking point in US

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 20, 2023, 3:47 PM EDT

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 | Apr 19, 2023, 4:27 PM EDT

The Intermodal Association of North America is adding its voice to the chorus of opposition against a federal push to reclassify independent workers.
SurfaceTruckingTrucking laborRailTransport, trade and regulation

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

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Apr 19, 2023, 8:00 AM EDT

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 shippingNorth-American rail

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 17, 2023, 4:47 PM EDT

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 | Apr 14, 2023, 12:13 PM EDT

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 regulationContainer shippingContainer linesRailNorth-American rail

CPKC may spur growth in Mexican intermodal market: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst | Apr 11, 2023, 12:35 PM EDT

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 | Apr 5, 2023, 4:52 PM EDT

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.
SurfaceTruckingLTLIntermodal providersSupply Chain

Intermodal service improving, but UP lags competition: survey

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 5, 2023, 9:08 AM EDT

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 | Apr 3, 2023, 4:59 PM EDT

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 shippingIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Cargo owners push for greater FMC regulation over rail storage fees

Teri Errico Griffis | Mar 31, 2023, 1:48 PM EDT

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 regulationContainer shippingContainer linesNorth-American rail

Record profit for DB Schenker lifts parent group into black

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | Mar 30, 2023, 1:53 PM EDT

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 | Mar 30, 2023, 10:01 AM EDT

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.
SurfaceTruckingInternational rail

Canadian National to boost transloading with new Calgary facility

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 29, 2023, 2:12 PM EDT

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 | Mar 27, 2023, 11:36 AM EDT

German unions demanding inflation-busting wage increases walked off the job Monday, bringing the country’s transport system to a halt.
SurfaceForwardingRailInternational railAirportsAir cargo forwardingTransport, trade and regulation

UP shippers facing delays on key Chicago-LA corridor

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 24, 2023, 9:56 AM EDT

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 | Mar 16, 2023, 4:43 PM EDT

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. 
SurfaceTruckingRailInternational railIntermodal providers