J.B. Hunt and BNSF Railway continue to expand their intermodal collaboration, teaming up with Mexican rail provider GMXT (GrupoMexico Transportes, perhaps better known by subsidiary name Ferromex) to provide fast service between Mexico and the U.S.
The three companies on Nov. 14 announced a new intermodal service between Monterrey, Silao-Bajio and Pantaco-Mexico City regions — key markets in Northern and Central Mexico — through the Eagle Pass, Texas, border gateway.
According to published reports, this means J.B. Hunt is dropping Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) as its partner on Mexican intermodal freight going to the Midwest and West Coast.
This new intermodal service, scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2024, will be one day faster than the existing service from Monterrey to Chicago, according to the announcement. The companies said it will offer customers a reliable and more sustainable transportation option to move goods seamlessly across the border to and from Mexico with coast-to-coast access in the U.S.
Trains carrying intermodal containers will interchange at Eagle Pass, Texas, to and from GMXT, which will operate the trains between the border crossing and Monterrey, Silao-Bajio and Pantaco-Mexico City six days a week.
There will also be an alternative option over the El Paso, Texas, border gateway.
This announcement follows last week’s news that J.B. Hunt and BNSF were launching Quantum premium intermodal service to offer customers up to 95% on-time delivery service approximately a day faster than traditional intermodal service.
Helping Shippers Expand in Mexico Markets
This new intermodal service offers new opportunities for customers to grow in the expanding Mexico markets.
J.B. Hunt owns and operates the largest intermodal fleet in North America, with more than 117,000 containers and nearly 7,000 trucks, according to the company. BNSF, GMXT, and J.B. Hunt have made significant investments to ensure the competitiveness, reliability and operating success of their intermodal networks.
- Market Reach: Coast-to-coast market access through J.B. Hunt’s North American reach
- Support: A dedicated BNSF customer support team will track shipments from in-gate to out-gate to and from Mexico and the U.S. 24/7
- Ease: Southbound shipments are moved in-bond (shipment documentation is handled at the final destination) to minimize Mexico Customs clearance delays. Once the shipments arrive at the destination ramp, customers can clear their cargo with the customs broker of their choice through Mexico Customs. Northbound shipments are pre-cleared with U.S. Customs by a customs broker of the customer’s choice.
“This new service offering will provide resilient, cross-border solutions that give our customers optionality to support their growing supply chain needs in Mexico," said John Roberts, CEO of J.B. Hunt, in a news release.
“Our organizations are committed to growth in Mexico and this joint service offering is a direct reflection of that commitment,” said Katie Farmer, BNSF president and CEO, in the release. “By utilizing the capacity and expertise of the largest intermodal railroad in the U.S., the largest railroad in Mexico, and the largest domestic intermodal carrier, this product will seamlessly connect the North American intermodal network.”
Fast-Growing Intermodal Market
The announcement is the latest in intermodal collaborations. Schneider, another big truckload intermodal provider, earlier this year announced it would offer “truck-competitive” intermodal service on the newly merged Canadian Pacific Kansas City railroad, which connects the upper Midwest with Mexico.
CPKC also added 1,000 new, 53-foot, refrigerated intermodal containers to its network, doubling its existing fleet for customers using the expanding Mexico Midwest Express (MMX) series intermodal service.
Also this year, CN (Canadian National Railway Company), Union Pacific Railroad, and GMXT announced Falcon Premium intermodal service, “a best-in-class Mexico-U.S.-Canada service with a seamless rail connection in Chicago, Illinois.”