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JB Hunt, BNSF and GMXT to launch Mexico-to-Midwest intermodal service

New offering the latest effort to bolster intermodal service between the Midwest and Mexico

A BNSF train in Laredo, Texas. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

BNSF, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Grupo Mexico’s Ferromex (GMXT) are launching an intermodal service that they say will slash a day off transit time between Monterrey in Mexico and Chicago and offer opportunities for customers to grow into expanding markets in Mexico.

The service will begin Jan. 1, 2024. Service will be offered between the Monterrey, Silao-Bajio and Pantaco-Mexico City regions and Chicago and the U.S. Midwest via the border gateway at Eagle Pass, Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas is also a potential interchange point with BNSF’s broader U.S. network, according to the map below.

Utilizing Eagle Pass will also serve as an alternative option to the gateway at El Paso, Texas. The El Paso gateway is also serviced by BNSF, as well as Union Pacific.

Here is how the three describe the service: Trains carrying intermodal containers from the U.S. will interchange at Eagle Pass with trains operated by GMXT. At the border, GMXT’s trains will take those containers to Monterrey, Silao-Bajio and Pantaco-Mexico City six days a week.

The new service comes just after BNSF (NYSE: BRK-B) and J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) announced last week at FreightWaves’ F3 event that they have launched Quantum, a premium intermodal offering designed to ensure improved delivery times with consistent service. Quantum will be run by employees from both companies at a new intermodal center at BNSF’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The customized offering will cut delivery times by one day from normal intermodal service. The shipments will be given priority drayage and rail positions to meet the time thresholds. The companies are informing customers to expect 95% on-time delivery.

Meanwhile, GMXT also has a partnership with BNSF rival Union Pacific and Canadian railway CN that seeks to bolster intermodal service between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. And Canadian Pacific Kansas City said earlier this year that it is offering daily intermodal service between Chicago and San Luis Potosi and Monterrey in Mexico.

“Our organizations are committed to growth in Mexico and this joint service offering is a direct reflection of that commitment,” BNSF President and CEO Katie Farmer said in a Tuesday 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.”

The green-highlighted arrows show the origins and destinations of intermodal service that J.B. Hunt, BNSF and GMXT will offer starting Jan. 1. (Image: BNSF and J.B. Hunt)

“This new service offering will provide resilient, cross-border solutions that give our customers optionality to support their growing supply chain needs in Mexico,” J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts said.

“GMXT is ready to support the freight demand growth that nearshoring presents with North America by providing flexible and top-notch rail services to our customers. Eagle Pass is a strategic gateway, and we are committed to connecting México and the U.S. through smart and secure borders while helping our countries facilitate the trade,” said the railway’s president, Fernando López.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.