Cards are changing in the Canada/Chicago – Mexico intermodal services

Cards are changing in the Canada/Chicago – Mexico intermodal services
© GrupoMéxico Transportes

CN, Union Pacific and Ferromex have announced the launch of a new intermodal service, which will create a seamless rail connection between Canada and Detroit with Mexico. At the same time, CPKC has gained Schneider's Mexico – Chicago intermodal traffic.

This new CN/UP/Ferromex Falcon service will connect a dozen CN terminals directly with the Ferromex terminals in Monterrey and Silao through the Eagle Pass gateway.

The Falcon service will be six to eight days faster than current CN routing options to Mexico. The potential traffic includes automotive parts, food, freight of all kinds, home appliances, and temperature-controlled products. Falcon Premium intermodal service will also contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and its transit times from Monterrey to Toronto will be eight days from cut-off to availability. The CEOs of all three railroads expressed excitement about their new service, emphasising how the partnership maximises speed, reliability, and customer satisfaction and how collaboration and cooperation can improve customer supply chains.

© Union Pacific
© Union Pacific

CN has evaluated the potential for this traffic when trying to acquire Kansas City Southern, which Canadian Pacific eventually did. The trucking traffic was estimated to be two trains per day. CN and UP strengthen their relationship following the CPKC formation. CP, the former partner of UP in its EMP container pool program, was replaced by CN.

On the other hand, the current partner of Schneider Intermodal in Mexico – Chicago traffic, UP, will be replaced by CPKC, as announced by the newly formed company.

CPKC is now the new partner for Chicago – Mexico traffic for Schneider and Knight-Swift 

From mid-May 2023, Schneider's intermodal traffic between Mexico and the Midwest will be hauled by Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern (CPKC). For UP, this is the second loss of the Schneider business this year, when starting in January 2023, the company shifted its western traffic to BNSF.

Joint network of CP (red) and KCS (black) © CPKC
Joint network of CP (red) and KCS (black) © CPKC

This change is major due to the usual players in this market being BNSF and UP. CPKC offers seamless container transport via one network thanks to the recent merger and according to company representatives, it aims at taking almost 140,000 containers off the road network.

Following the announcement of the Schneider deal, CPKC added information about another major deal, signed with the intermodal operator Knight-Swift on 25 April 2023. This also involves the Mexico - Chicago route, where CPKC is confident to provide competitive transit times despite a longer route. 

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