Posts Tagged ‘J.B. Hunt Transport Services’

J.B. Hunt Expects Intermodal Traffic to Grow

January 21, 2021

A cut of JB Hunt containers bring up the rear of NS train 27R in North East, Pennsylvania.

A trucking company that makes extensive use of intermodal transportation believe is optimistic that intermodal volume will grow faster than truck transportation.

Officials at J.B. Hunt Transport Services acknowledged this week that capacity constraints in Southern California are hindering intermodal traffic.

But in the long term Hunt expects its intermodal volume to grow to 10 million loads annually, up from about 2 million currently.

Hunt has a fleet of 98,700 domestic intermodal containers with orders pending for 6,000 new boxes to be delivered this year.

During a quarterly earnings call Hunt said its intermodal volume in the fourth quarter grew by 1 percent with much of it coming from traffic originating on BNSF.

However, fourth quarter volume in the East was flat. Norfolk Southern is Hunt’s largest intermodal partner in that region.

Congestion at western terminals in the fourth quarter kept Hunt from growing intermodal volume further.

That congestion was triggered by a sharp increase in imports and labor issues.

Truck Executives Calls for Railroads to Change Price Philosophies if They Want to Grow Intermodal Traffic

December 4, 2019

A trucking company executive told an investment conference this week that railroads need to change their prices if they hope to win more of if its business.

Speaking to the Stephens Nashville Investment Conference, the executive vice president of intermodal operations for J.B.Hunt Transport Services, Darren Field, said his company faces conflicts in selling transportation services.

Field said that J.B. Hunt has increasing moved away from being a trucking company to being a third-party logistics company.

“If we’re working with a customer, and intermodal is a good solution for the route or the origin-destination that the customer is asking about, but our truckload brokerage model says that that’s the best economic value for that customer, then we’re going to leave with that [truckload] service first and maybe intermodal is a secondary option to that customer,” Field said.

He said that if railroads want to see growth in their intermodal traffic they need to change their philosophy toward pricing.

“We’ve never held back in terms of communicating with the railroads that their underlying costs certainly influence our ability to help grow volumes on the railroad,” Field said.

Field said competition from trucks will continue to pressure the ability of railroads to raise their prices, particularly in the East.

“And we understand that we’ve got to work together to drive out costs so that we can both be more competitive against the truck,” he said.

J.B. Hunt May Move More Loads From Highway to Rail

October 19, 2019

Trucker J. B. Hunt Transport Services has indicated it may seek to move more highway freight to trains.

In a recent third quarter earnings call, Hunt officials noted they have come to accept that most Class 1 railroads have adopted the precision scheduled railroading operating model and they are learning to work with it.

Hunt said transcontinental loads, most of which moved on BNSF, increased by 7 percent during the third quarter, but loads in the East were off by 11 percent.

The trucking company has made substantial investment in information technology and sees that as an avenue for converting more truckload freight to intermodal.

It said fuel costs, truck rates, truck capacity, effective rail service, and the economy and prompting Hunt to move more loads to the rails.
Hunt officials have noted that CSX and Norfolk Southern have said they’d like to grow 10 percent in the East Coast.

Other potential growth areas include transloading and refrigeration containers, of which Hunt has a thousand units.

Hunt CEO John Roberts described PSR as “a little bit of a cleansing activity” and sees it as an indication of railroads meshing with Hunt’s goals of having more transloading activity, reefer traffic, and truckload conversions to intermodal.

A year ago Robert was a critic of PSR and railroad unreliability which required his company to turn away business yet also saw PSR as a an eventual positive for intermodal.

“Service has picked up from where it was last year,” Roberts said. “It’s not where the railroads have targeted to be, but they have definitely improved and it’s helped our velocity and their on-time service through the customer.”
Roberts said the implementation of PSR cost Hunt as many as 70,000 loads.