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

Maersk halts Fort Worth import bookings amid inland backlog

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Sep 8, 2022, 11:29 AM EDT

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 | Sep 8, 2022, 9:40 AM EDT

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 | Sep 7, 2022, 3:38 PM EDT

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 | Sep 6, 2022, 12:48 PM EDT

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 | Sep 1, 2022, 11:44 AM EDT

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 | Aug 31, 2022, 4:59 PM EDT

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 | Aug 29, 2022, 4:33 PM EDT

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 | Aug 23, 2022, 2:41 PM EDT

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.

RoadOne adds to transload footprint in Oakland, Norfolk

Eric Johnson, Senior Technology Editor | Aug 22, 2022, 5:29 PM EDT

RoadOne sees demand for transload services as being sustainable enough to outlast any economic downturn as it invests in facilities in Norfolk and Oakland.

Presidential board recommends large pay hike for US rail workers

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Aug 18, 2022, 11:29 AM EDT

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 | Aug 15, 2022, 4:30 PM EDT

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 | Aug 15, 2022, 3:34 PM EDT

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 | Aug 12, 2022, 10:01 AM EDT

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.

UP giving partial rebates for Lathrop–Oakland shift

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Aug 9, 2022, 3:26 PM EDT

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 | Aug 8, 2022, 4:40 PM EDT

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.

Multiple pain points test forwarders on China–Europe rail route

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor | Aug 5, 2022, 11:24 AM EDT

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 | Aug 5, 2022, 10:39 AM EDT

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 | Aug 4, 2022, 12:24 PM EDT

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 | Aug 3, 2022, 4:06 PM EDT

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 | Aug 3, 2022, 11:53 AM EDT

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.

BNSF taps Tacoma for new Midwest intermodal freight gateway

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Jul 28, 2022, 1:16 PM EDT

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 | Jul 25, 2022, 3:36 PM EDT

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 | Jul 15, 2022, 5:08 PM EDT

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 | Jul 15, 2022, 4:22 PM EDT

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

Rail issues a priority for White House task force: port envoy

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Jul 13, 2022, 5:09 PM EDT

The new White House port envoy says because private sector transportation providers and cargo interests operate independently, the US supply chain is fragmented and a bottleneck that surfaces in one sector spreads quickly to others.
Intermodal providers

Federal intervention likely to head off US rail labor action

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor; Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jul 13, 2022, 4:49 PM EDT

President Joe Biden will most likely get the federal government involved in US railway labor talks this week if he hopes to avoid a nationwide strike that would further disrupt the country’s supply chains.
North-American rail

Slipping US intermodal performance linked to warehouse capacity crunch

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jul 12, 2022, 4:07 PM EDT

US warehouse woes are now showing in lower train speeds and on-time performance among Class I railroads, as stakeholders turn up the heat on retailers for not retrieving their cargo fast enough from depots and terminals.
North-American rail

New data reveals depth of US intermodal service woes

Lawrence Gross, president and founder, Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst | Jul 11, 2022, 4:14 PM EDT

Like a candle in an otherwise dark room, new reporting requirements from the US Surface Transportation Board are illuminating at least one the factors that has inhibited the growth of US intermodal rail volumes, writes intermodal analyst Lawrence Gross.
North-American rail

US retailers urge Biden to prevent potential rail disruption

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor | Jul 6, 2022, 4:52 PM EDT

Peak season import volumes amid ongoing supply chain woes are raising the stakes if labor unions and US Class I railroads can’t return to the bargaining table without disruption.
North-American rail

UP realigning intermodal network ahead of Northern California expansion

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 30, 2022, 12:02 PM EDT

Union Pacific Railroad will temporarily re-align its domestic intermodal network in Northern California to accommodate a construction project meant to expand container capacity in the region ahead of Schneider National bringing more volume in 2023.
North-American rail

Rising demand keeps China-Europe 'middle' rail route under pressure

Greg Knowler, Senior Europe Editor | Jun 30, 2022, 9:55 AM EDT

Elevated demand for rail cargo on the only viable China-Europe rail route continues to overwhelm the existing infrastructure, with congestion building at Central Asian intermodal points.
International rail

CN adds second Halifax daily service amid growth expectations

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Jun 28, 2022, 3:03 PM EDT

Despite an almost 10 percent drop in the Port of Halifax’s first quarter volumes, Canadian National Railway has added a second daily train service in anticipation of a cargo rebound.

No immediate relief seen for Canada’s rail problems

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Jun 27, 2022, 2:23 PM EDT

With bottlenecks at inland rail hubs in Toronto and Montreal building and rail container backups likewise mounting in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, Canada’s West Coast ports could experience congestion problems for some time.

Containers clog BNSF Dallas terminal amid lack of chassis

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 27, 2022, 12:30 PM EDT

BNSF Railway is stacking ocean containers outside Dallas as cargo owners struggle to unload inventory in a timely manner and chassis providers scramble to reposition equipment sent to Houston earlier this year.
North-American rail

FMC members urge STB rejection of CP-KCS merger

Teri Errico Griffis, Associate Editor | Jun 23, 2022, 3:26 PM EDT

Three FMC members ask the STB not to approve the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern, saying the deal would result in the loss of cargo to Canadian ports.
International rail

NS offers incentives to ocean carriers to balance container flows

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 21, 2022, 3:30 PM EDT

A new Norfolk Southern incentive program for ocean carriers in New York-New Jersey and Virginia should help grow volume while encouraging a balanced flow of rail cars between inland terminals and the two ports.
North-American rail

Spot intermodal shippers turn to trucking amid rate declines

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 15, 2022, 3:17 PM EDT

Some US intermodal shippers are forgoing trains to put their spot freight on trucks because the cost savings associated with rail have narrowed significantly since January.
North-American rail

Don’t let ocean carriers off the hook for inland woes: analyst

Larry Gross, president and founder Gross Transportation Consulting, and JOC analyst | Jun 14, 2022, 11:09 AM EDT

Recent IPI activity shows that despite the focus shifting to railroads ahead of the next West Coast bottleneck, the decisions made by ocean carriers are the root cause of the problem, writes JOC analyst Larry Gross.

NS metering volumes in five markets amid chassis shortage

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 9, 2022, 3:36 PM EDT

A chassis shortage is forcing Norfolk Southern Railway to meter international intermodal loads through five inland markets as the railroad moves to keep its network fluid.
North-American rail

Delays rise at Ontario rail ramps amid surge in Vancouver volumes

Michael Angell, Associate Editor | Jun 7, 2022, 3:14 PM EDT

Canada’s Class I railroads have been dealing with a surge of freight from Vancouver that has taxed a shrinking pool of available truckers across the country in Ontario.
North-American railDrayage