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

US regulators approve CP-KCS merger to form first US-Canada-Mexico rail

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 15, 2023, 2:31 PM EDT

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

US chassis market nearing ‘equilibrium’ after disruptive shortages

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 13, 2023, 1:37 PM EDT

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 shippingTruckingIntermodal providers

Intermodal share data point to opportunities: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst | Mar 13, 2023, 11:05 AM EDT

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.
SurfaceTruckingIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

New NS Norfolk-Memphis service aims to grab East Coast cargo shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 9, 2023, 3:40 PM EST

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 | Mar 8, 2023, 12:23 PM EST

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 portsTruckingIntermodal providers

Investors back Overhaul’s hybrid risk management–visibility strategy

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Mar 7, 2023, 9:00 AM EST

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 technologyContainer shippingTruckingRail

TPM23: Intermodal providers banking on transloading surge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Mar 2, 2023, 9:50 AM EST

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 shippingNorth-American rail

TPM23: CN focusing investment on capacity growth: CEO

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Feb 28, 2023, 5:52 PM EST

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 | Feb 27, 2023, 11:10 AM EST

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.
RailIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

UP CEO Fritz stepping down amid pressure from activist investor

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Feb 27, 2023, 10:11 AM EST

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.”
RailNorth-American rail

Idle domestic containers being stacked as intermodal volumes tumble

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Feb 24, 2023, 9:00 AM EST

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 | Feb 22, 2023, 11:31 AM EST

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 shippingIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

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

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | Feb 21, 2023, 2:15 PM EST

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.
RailForwardingAsia-EuropeInternational railIntermodal providers

UP shifting to stacked container operation at Joliet for California imports

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Feb 21, 2023, 1:52 PM EST

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.
RailNorth American portsIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

New data casts doubt on H2 rebound in US freight demand

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Feb 17, 2023, 1:58 PM EST

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.
SurfaceTruckingRailSupply Chain

WiseTech continues acquisition campaign with $414 million Blume purchase

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Feb 16, 2023, 9:09 PM EST

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 technologyMaritimeForwardingInternational railIntermodal providers

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

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe | Feb 16, 2023, 10:11 AM EST

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.
RailTruckingLTLInternational railIntermodal providers

APM plans $60 million investment to boost Mobile rail infrastructure

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Feb 14, 2023, 3:26 PM EST

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 shippingNorth-American rail

Intermodal contract savings fell in Q4 ahead of 2023 bids

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Feb 1, 2023, 7:59 AM EST

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.
RailIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Norfolk Southern adds to Southeast intermodal capacity with new cranes

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Jan 31, 2023, 4:02 PM EST

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 shippingNorth American portsIntermodal providers

US railroads looking to mend fences with labor after trying 2022

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jan 30, 2023, 4:53 PM EST

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 | Jan 26, 2023, 1:37 PM EST

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 | Jan 24, 2023, 4:49 PM EST

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 portsRailIntermodal providers

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jan 24, 2023, 3:51 PM EST

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

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jan 24, 2023, 2:19 PM EST

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 | Jan 20, 2023, 12:16 PM EST

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 | Jan 19, 2023, 3:52 PM EST

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 | Jan 18, 2023, 1:25 PM EST

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 | Jan 12, 2023, 2:49 PM EST

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 | Jan 11, 2023, 12:48 PM EST

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 | Jan 10, 2023, 11:47 AM EST

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 | Jan 6, 2023, 2:28 PM EST

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 | Jan 4, 2023, 1:41 PM EST

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 | Jan 3, 2023, 3:23 PM EST

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

Norfolk Southern to shut container spillover lot near Memphis

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Dec 29, 2022, 3:48 PM EST

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 | Dec 29, 2022, 2:29 PM EST

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 regulationContainer shippingContainer linesDrayageRailIntermodal providersNorth-American rail

Forwarding tech providers push into US trucking market

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Dec 21, 2022, 1:53 PM EST

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.
TruckingForwardingTruckloadLTLIntermodal providersAir cargo forwardingLogistics technology

Calmer supply chain waters beckon in 2023

Bill Cassidy, Senior Editor | Dec 19, 2022, 3:55 PM EST

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 shippingForwardingTruckingNorth-American rail

Intermodal volumes falling fast, rates to follow in 2023

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Dec 19, 2022, 3:28 PM EST

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 | Dec 13, 2022, 1:56 PM EST

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