Over the past several years, rail carriers have been making capital investments to upgrade and expand their networks, including their crossborder intermodal operations. Billions in capital expenditures have been and continue to be invested to improve infrastructure, speeds, and service offerings, resulting in steadily improving rail velocity. With increased performance in the areas of reliability and speed, shippers continue to find significant value in crossborder intermodal service offerings. (See main story link below)

Railroads make no secret of the fact that they are using multi-billion dollar investments to improve their service offerings across the board. Players such as BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern last year made capital expenditures in the billions: $4.3, $2.4, and $2.1, respectively.

When it comes to investments in crossborder intermodal infrastructure, the CSX Transportation-served Valleyfield terminal, 40 miles outside of Montreal, provides shippers additional capacity when shipping freight between the United States and Eastern Canada. Opened in late 2014, Valleyfield delivers intermodal access to Canadian distribution and consumption markets.

Valleyfield provides on-site border clearance capabilities, facilitated by a 10,000-square-foot, secure container processing facility and access to the Canadian government’s VACIS truck scanning system. This machine is brought on site as required and is capable of more than 25 scans per hour of an entire vehicle to clear freight into Canada.

“The Valleyfield intermodal terminal provides shippers an alternative capacity solution when shipping freight between the U.S. and Eastern Canada,” said Wesley Ann Barton, director of intermodal marketing at CSX Transportation Intermodal.

The Canadian National Railway, in partnership with Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM), provides transborder services that allow intermodal shipments to cross into Mexico prior to being inspected. The new inspection points are located in Mexico City at KCSM’s Puerta Mexico Intermodal Terminal and Terminal Ferroviaria de Valle de Mexico’s (TFVM) Pantaco Intermodal Terminal.

Mexico’s Ferromex opened a new terminal in Silao in the second half of 2016. Ferromex and its sister company Ferrosur have invested in intermodal terminals over the past year— including those in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Silao—to boost capacity and repair containers faster and more frequently.

Late in 2013, UP launched intermodal service between Chicago and Monterrey. UP’s new $400 million intermodal terminal in New Mexico allows the railroad to attract freight that otherwise would go by trucks across the nearby border.