Schneider National, BNSF Railway extend intermodal services agreement

Schneider National and BNSF Railway have inked a new, multi-year agreement in which BNSF will continue to serve as one of Schneider’s primary rail providers for intermodal service.

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One of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, Schneider National, and one of the largest railroad carriers, BNSF Railway, have inked a new, multi-year agreement in which BNSF will continue to serve as one of Schneider’s primary rail providers for intermodal service, according to Schneider officials.

The relationship between Schneider and BNSF goes back to 2008, when BNSF first became Schneider’s primary Western rail provider. The company said that since that time the companies have worked in tandem to deliver “truck-like” reliability and low-cost service.

What’s more, Schneider said this agreement provides shippers with ongoing access to the largest intermodal network in the world, with two service levels and daily service in all major lanes.

“[This agreement] aligns BNSF Railway and Schneider National to continue to work together to create premium service intermodal solutions for the shipping community,” said Bill Matheson, president of Intermodal Services for Schneider National. “The BNSF Railway and Schneider are both committed to growing Schneider’s intermodal business and the new contract creates the structure which will allow Schneider to invest in containers, tractors and drivers necessary to deliver above market growth rates.”

And Matheson added that the establishment of the new BNSF contract, in addition to the previously announced new contract with CSX, completes the long term foundation which will allow Schneider National to accelerate the growth of its intermodal business. As a result of this agreement, an additional order of new containers has been purchased and will deliver in mid-2012, which enables Schneider National to continue to provide additional capacity and premium door-to-door intermodal service options for customers, he explained. 
While he was unable to disclose a specific figure, Matheson said that intermodal represents approximately one third of Schneider National’s business.

With BNSF Railway in the West and CSX in the East, Matheson said the CN provides rail service to support Schneider’s Canada Direct cross border service offering, and the KCS provides rail service supporting its Mexico Direct border service offering.

“More and more shippers are realizing the benefits of converting their over-the-road freight to intermodal,” said Steve Branscum, BNSF Railway, group vice president Consumer Products Marketing, in a statement. “As they do so, our two companies are poised to provide these shippers with exceptional intermodal service throughout the U.S. We look forward to working closely with Schneider to continue to bring next-generation intermodal solutions to the marketplace.”

Even though there have been many ebbs and flows in the ongoing economic recovery, intermodal continues to chug along with healthy growth levels.

Earlier this week, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) IANA reported that first quarter intermodal loadings—at 3,476,500—were up 5.8 percent annually and represent the best first quarter output for loadings ever recorded by IANA, topping the first quarter of 2007, which hit 3,408,500.

And three of the four major intermodal equipment categories tracked by IANA also showed growth. Domestic containers led the way at 1,290,139 for a 14.9 percent gain, and trailers fell 6.9 percent to 383,034. All domestic equipment was up a healthy 9.1 percent at 1,673,173, and international containers were up 2.9 percent at 1,803,327.


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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Article Topics

BNSF · Intermodal · Schneider National · All Topics
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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