April 13, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

With truck capacity reaching critical levels in some parts of the country, BNSF Railway has been testing a "shuttle service" between its yard near the Port of Houston and it's Alliance intermodal facility north of Fort Worth. 

According to the Journal of Commerce online, the BNSF test trains have moved around 4,000 containers since last October from its facility near the Barbours Cut Container Terminal in Houston to the sprawling Alliance yards. A spokesperson from BNSF indicated that the railway is evaluating the potential and may create a regular service. One challenge is that containers have to be trucked seven miles from the port to the BNSF loading areas. 

Direct trucking on time-sensitive cargo will still generally move faster by truck from Houston to Dallas, but the BNSF test may find a niche in moving other commodities.  

In 2019 Union Pacific Railroad tried a similar service from the Port of Houston to its Dallas Intermodal Terminal (DIT) in Hutchins but discontinued the weekly run. However that was before current supply chain issues facing all modes of transportation. 

The Port of Houston has seen a dramatic growth in containers. In just the first two months of 2022, volumes jumped 31 percent over a year ago, according to the Port of Houston Authority. The port will start a project to widen the ship channel this year to accommodate larger vessels using the Panama canal. 

Photo credit: BNSF Railway