Trucking isn't the only mode taking its business to the Internet. Major railroads are also launching competing sites for freight business.

The first of the big rail sites will probably be FreightWise based in Ft. Worth, TX. Currently in testing, the site is backed by Mellon Global Cash Management of Pittsburgh, PA, and will provide an online market for trucking and other modes as well as rail. The venture is being developed by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. FreightWise is scheduled to debut this summer.
A competing railroad site,, is being developed by a San Mateo, CA, Internet company with the backing of Union Pacific Corp., CSX Corp., Norfolk Southern Corp. and Canadian Pacific Ltd. Arzoon will also offer transportation by truck and air as well as rail.
A third rail site based in Cary, NC, is called SteelRoads plans to offer shipping and tracking through all major rail carriers. SteelRoads makes no mention of competing modes, but offers a live look at what the other sites say they will be offering -- an on-line routing guide for shipments involving more than one rail carrier. Though SteelRoads is not yet operational, you can try the routing guide by entering shipment parameters. The site will return available routings with the railroads involved.