Intermodal shipping: Schneider National rolls out new Canada-based, cross-border intermodal service

Company officials say this service will leverage Schneider’s more than 20 years of intermodal service into and out of Canada

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Schneider National, a provider of transportation, logistics, and intermodal services, announced this week it has introduced a new intermodal, cross-border shipping service, entitled Canada Direct.

Company officials said that this service will leverage Schneider’s more than 20 years of intermodal service into and out of Canada, adding that Canada Direct will pre-clear shippers’ loads to move quickly across the border, save money for customers and reduce delays. Schneider will offer shippers its asset-based intermodal proposition through its own containers, drivers, trucks, and tractors.

They added that through its partnership with Class I rail carrier Canadian National, shippers shipments will arrive to their destinations on time by receiving priority placement on CN trains.

In an interview with LM, Steve Van Kirk, Schneider National senior vice president of intermodal commercial management, said that this service will provide a high value level for its customers in the Canadian market. And he pointed out that there has been a clear change in the Canadian currency dollar value compared to the U.S. dollar, which has led to less Canadian manufacturing and more of an imbalanced marketplace in Canada.

“Because of this it has been harder for shippers to be able to service the Canadian marketplace….and we developed this service for shippers looking to ship in and out of Canada, which, in our view, is an extremely large marketplace with a lot of potential for intermodal,” he said.

While Van Kirk declined to provide figures for how many shippers will be using Canada Direct, he did say that he has seen an increased number of U.S.-based companies looking to serve the Canadian marketplace and figure out how to best do so—which is what is driving the company’s growth strategy there.

Tying the Canadian market into its U.S.-based and Mexico-based market and rail lines is a major driver of this effort and makes this service unique in the marketplace, Van Kirk said.

Along with CN in Canada, Schneider is interlined for intermodal service with BNSF Railway in the western half of the U.S., CSX in the eastern half and Kansas City Southern into Mexico.

Schneider has been working with CN on this service for the last year and has also been working with a limited number of shippers prior to this week’s roll out.

“We are at the point where we are ready to tell more people about the service and grow it,” said Van Kirk.


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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Hub Group Resources
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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