Dive brief:

  • The average unloading dwell time of Schneider’s intermodal customers increased by 70% compared to the comparable period of 2019, Schneider CEO, Mark Rourke said during the company’s second quarter earnings call last week.
  • Schneider aims to add 1,500 to 3,000 containers by the end of the year, but that depends on delivery from manufacturers, Rourke said. The containers are being built, but the difficulty is getting them to the United States, he added.
  • Freight volumes associated with labor shortages have resulted in ramp congestion in “critical parts of the network, sometimes resulting in rail allocations limiting the volume,” Rourke said. And that of Schneider the billing fleet is not fully staffed in some high volume hubs, he said.

Dive overview:

Intermodal volumes are on the rise across the industry. Rourke said orders improved 5% sequentially from the first quarter and 16% year-over-year. But the networks are clogged and the fleets – including JB Hunt and Schneider – have taken extra fees and instituted other changes to ease the pressure.

Darren Field, Executive Vice President of Intermodal JB Hunt, said in the company’s latest earnings call that demand for intermodal services is strong but “significantly exceeds our available capacity which remains limited by rail performance and restrictions in addition to customer ownership of our towing equipment “.

Container fluidity is a big issue on the rail side, Rourke said. BNSF and Union Pacific Class I railways have made temporary service adjustments to deal with capacity constraints. The former measured traffic between the West Coast and Chicago last month, and the latter suspended service between the same two points.

Rourke called the flow of containers “frustrating”. If customers could turn boxes faster, Schneider would be able to capture more volume. Despite the scarcity of manpower in the factoring, Rourke said that Schneider controlled its factoring assets more than 90% of the time, which the company sees as an advantage.

When asked about the Union Pacific decision, Field said JB Hunt is not working with Union Pacific, but is working with BNSF to improve the speed and overall smoothness of the rail system.

“Certainly, if they can focus on removing some of the international congestion in order to free up capacity for the domestic market, we would certainly derive some benefit from it,” Field said during the call for tenders. results.

“Ancillary approaches” have allowed Schneider to be “smarter” with its strengths, Rourke said. “But it’s still a limiting factor if we can’t get the cooperation of our customer community there.”

Intermodal is a major growth axis for Schneider. Particularly with the growing importance of more environmentally friendly operations, the company is “very, very optimistic about the intermodal growth model,” Rourke said, adding that it intended to double its activity over the next eight or nine years.

Part of Schneider’s climate objectives include doubling its intermodal size by 2030, “reducing carbon emissions by an additional 700 million pounds per year,” the company said.

This story was first published in our sister publication, Transport Dive. register here.