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 IPI needs fresh approach to recovering market share: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting; and JOC analyst | Dec 12, 2022, 3:11 PM EST

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 | Dec 9, 2022, 10:24 AM EST

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 | Dec 7, 2022, 2:27 PM EST

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 | Dec 5, 2022, 12:40 PM EST

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 | Dec 1, 2022, 5:17 PM EST

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 | Nov 30, 2022, 3:15 PM EST

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 | Nov 29, 2022, 2:40 PM EST

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 | Nov 21, 2022, 2:38 PM EST

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 | Nov 21, 2022, 1:07 PM EST

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 | Nov 16, 2022, 4:04 PM EST

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 | Nov 14, 2022, 5:19 PM EST

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 | Nov 9, 2022, 3:22 PM EST

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 | Nov 7, 2022, 3:11 PM EST

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 | Nov 7, 2022, 10:52 AM EST

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 | Nov 4, 2022, 12:50 PM EDT

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 | Oct 31, 2022, 4:10 PM EDT

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 | Oct 31, 2022, 5:00 AM EDT

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 | Oct 28, 2022, 4:42 PM EDT

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 | Oct 27, 2022, 4:23 PM EDT

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 | Oct 26, 2022, 10:58 AM EDT

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 | Oct 21, 2022, 1:05 PM EDT

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 | Oct 14, 2022, 3:04 PM EDT

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 | Oct 11, 2022, 3:09 PM EDT

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 | Oct 11, 2022, 8:00 AM EDT

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.

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

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Oct 6, 2022, 11:20 AM EDT

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 | Oct 4, 2022, 4:18 PM EDT

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 | Oct 3, 2022, 5:43 PM EDT

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 | Sep 30, 2022, 1:58 PM EDT

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 | Sep 28, 2022, 3:25 PM EDT

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 | Sep 22, 2022, 3:22 PM EDT

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 | Sep 21, 2022, 2:58 PM EDT

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 | Sep 21, 2022, 10:44 AM EDT

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.

UP ousts CP from shared container pool in favor of CN

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Sep 16, 2022, 1:49 PM EDT

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 | Sep 15, 2022, 2:27 PM EDT

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 | Sep 15, 2022, 5:55 AM EDT

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.

Confidence waning as ports, rails prepare for strike

JOC Staff | Sep 14, 2022, 4:23 PM EDT

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 | Sep 13, 2022, 4:37 PM EDT

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 | Sep 12, 2022, 5:06 PM EDT

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 | Sep 9, 2022, 7:23 PM EDT

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 | Sep 9, 2022, 4:31 PM EDT

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