Schneider National, CSX reach agreement on expanded intermodal services in Northwest Ohio
June 11, 2012 - LM Editorial
Truckload carrier Schneider National and Class I railroad carrier CSX said they have reached an agreement in which they will expand services for shippers in Northwestern Ohio through the addition of new Ohio-based rail ramps in Marion and North Baltimore.
The relationship between Schneider and CSX goes back to 2008, when CSX became Schneider’s primary Eastern rail provider, and earlier this year they announced a multi-year agreement for CSX to continue to serve as one of Schneider’s primary rail providers.
In terms of today’s news, Schneider says it provides customers with capacity and operational interfaces to leverage the efficiency of rail moves, as well as improved transits that will improve service and capability throughout the U.S. and Mexico and offer additional multi-modal offerings for shippers, too.
“We have been in extensive conversations with CSX to really understand how we can best serve the Ohio marketplace,” said Steve Van Kirk, vice president, Intermodal commercial management for Schneider. “We have been in Marion for a while, and CSX had made a major investment in its Northwest Ohio facility. So from our perspective we wanted to find a way to be able to gain the benefits that came out of that CSX investment…to be able to serve more marketplaces and also improve our transit and our service level for our customers.”
Regarding improving transit, Van Kirk explained that this will result in the increased frequency of train service. As an example, for any shipper moving freight over a seven-day period, the more frequency in train service there is, average transit times will be lower.
Going forward, Van Kirk noted that Schneider and CSX will continue to work together to find opportunities on service for new lanes they are not currently servicing. And as Schneider gains visibility to CSX’ infrastructure plans—in terms of creating new ramps and services—and builds it into its own sales and marketing plan to determine what its customers need and want and has value to them, such as CSX’ new intermodal terminal in Louisville, Ky., it will continue to work with CSX on those efforts.
In May, Schneider and BNSF Railway BNSF Railway 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.
Despite the uneven nature of the economy, intermodal continues to see strong momentum, due in part to strong rail service, fluctuating diesel prices, and more “truck-like” quality. And through June 2, intermodal loadings—at 5,053,708 containers and trailers—are up 2.9 percent annually, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
“We are seeing domestic intermodal strengths,” said Van Kirk, “and think it is a continuation of the shipper community being willing to utilize it. There is more interest by the rails and intermodal providers like Schneider working create more solutions and lanes to service intermodal. The rails have invested in their infrastructure and service levels to do that. Those types of increased capabilities are really driving the intermodal growth we are seeing, and I don’t see it stopping.”
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