New Miss.-based interchange paying off for Schneider’s cross-border shipping
November 25, 2013
Schneider National, the nation’s second-largest truckload carrier which traditionally has been a major player in long-haul intermodal traffic, recently announced it has established a new interchange for its Mexico Direct service, which it describes as a non-stop borderless intermodal service that was launched in 2006.
In October, Schneider said it began providing service in the form of Mexico cross-border intermodal loads through Jackson, Miss.-based steel wheel interchange, with its intermodal Mexico Direct loads moving between Chicago and Jackson on the Canadian National Railway and then between Jackson and Mexico on the Kansas City Southern Railway.
“Our customers needed faster cross-border service, particularly between Mexico and Chicago,” said Jim Filter, senior vice president, Intermodal Commercial Management, Schneider. “We have been working to find a better solution for some time. After modeling and testing alternatives, we began working with the CN.”
Filter said that this new interchange provides myriad benefits for shippers, including saving a day of transit time compared to other cross-border intermodal moves.
The reason for this, he said, is that the steel-wheel interchange keeps freight moving, and unlike over-the-road truck service, Schneider Intermodal loads do not stop on either side of the border.
“Another benefit of cross-border shipping via intermodal is the higher level of security that this mode provides,” said Filter. “Intermodal ramps are very secure locations and when containers are loaded into well cars the bottom container physically cannot be opened and the top container is riding more than 15 feet off the ground.”
Going forward, Filter said Schneider is tying the service into other points beyond Chicago, noting it has already tied this service into many destinations, such as in Canada, St. Paul, Seattle and Portland and potentially other points in the Northeast.
“Many shippers do not believe that intermodal is an option because of their Incoterms,” noted Filter. “Schneider’s home field advantage in Mexico has provided this expertise for over 20 years and eliminates these barriers.”
Intermodal continues to gain shipper traction as an effective mode, with many shippers willing to sacrifice longer transit times for strong service and fuel savings, among other benefits.
IANA President and CEO Joni Casey recently told LM intermodal continues to provide: more consistent, economical service; conversions from highway based on pricing differentials; shippers already using intermodal increasing their spend; transloading volumes; and small growth contribution of intermodal trailers.
Casey added that it is still too early to tell if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new hours-of-services regulations are driving more freight to intermodal. But that could change in the coming quarters, with industry estimates pegging the total loss of trucking capacity and production at 2-to-3 percent since July 1, when the new HOS rules took effect.
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