Class I rail carriers team up for cross-border intermodal service

Class I railroad carriers Norfolk Southern and KCS recently rolled out a new joint intermodal service between central Mexico and the southeastern region of the United States entitled TMX.

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Class I railroad carriers Norfolk Southern and KCS recently rolled out a new joint intermodal service between central Mexico and the southeastern region of the United States entitled TMX.

Officials from both carriers described TMX as a 53-foot, rail-controlled container program in a dedicated route between KCS’ intermodal facilities at Puerta Mexico (Toluca), San Luis Potos and Salinas Victoria (Monterrey) in Mexico and NS’ intermodal facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Among the various shipper benefits of TMX for shippers cited by NS and KCS are:
-a newly-built 54-foot container fleet;
-attractive transit schedules;
-truck-competitive, unbundled ramp-to-ramp through rates published by the originating rail carrier;
-a cost-effective and transit-competitive option, particularly for non-asset based intermodal shippers; and
-efficient North- and South-bound Customs-clearance

TMX per diem and other program charges are administered by REZ-1, and door-to-door service options are available via Thoroughbred Direct Intermodal Services.

“The TMX fleet was created to provide a cross-border capacity option for non-asset service providers,” said C. Doniele Carlson, AVP Corporate Communications & Community Affairs at KCS, in an interview. “Non-asset providers have traditionally served smaller shippers and receivers so this fleet broadens the potential market.”

And the TMX service offers a flexible, cross-border intermodal option for small to mid-sized truckload shippers and provides single carrier service that avoids the cost and service delays encountered when moving across the U.S.-Mexico border via truck, noted Carlson.

Carlson added that KCS and NS continue to gain significant market-share working with key asset partners in this same corridor.  Despite this growth, the opportunity is significant for all channel partners as KCS’s share of the potential market is still small.

Regarding the next steps for the TMX service, Carlson said that this fleet will grow and expand to meet cross-border market demand.

An NS spokesperson told LM that the TMX service will benefit those shippers who do not own equipment and need a dependable supply of containers so they can distribute goods to the growing Mexican market.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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