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Western Railroad Discussion > FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?


Date: 05/15/19 16:15
FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: jackal

I know that UPS has been much more forward-thinking than FedEx with utilizing intermodal rail for as many long-distance movements as possible. I’ve always read that FedEx Ground relies almost solely on team-driven trucks to make their service commitments (which are often a day more aggressive than UPS’s). They’ve historically only used rail to reposition empty trailers and containers.

However, I read recently that FedEx has been looking at increasing their use of intermodal. So it’s with great interest that I tracked this latest shipment en route from California to Missouri and saw an obvious indication that it was taking the train (or the road _significantly_ less traveled).

Usually, FedEx Ground shipments from west to east report their position every 12 hours and follow I-40 closely—Kingman, Flagstaff, Winslow, Albuquerque, Amarillo, and the like are all places I’ve seen previous shipments show up. But this is the first time I’ve seen a city show up that is _not_ on I-40 (and is obviously on the Transcon routing).

So, has FedEx jumped on the intermodal bandwagon? Or is this a rare one-off, or perhaps just a single lane that makes sense to use intermodal on?

FWIW, the next sort hub for this package is almost certainly Kansas City (or suburbs), not Chicago, so this would be the ZSBDKCK or something, if the timing matches up.

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 19:42 by jackal.




Date: 05/15/19 17:49
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: gmojim

FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight both have been using rail intermodal for many years. FedEx has a large fleet of FedEx MultiModal containers which were purchased for use on railroad intermodal. They would not purchase containers for their fleet if they were not using a lot of rail intermodal.
If you can look at any of the rail cams on the internet where intermodal trains pass on BNSF or NS you will see many FedEx loads, both Ground and Freight divisions. It is a regular occurrence on BNSF to see 20-30 FedEx Ground and FedEX Freight trailers and containers on intermodal trains. Saw a BNSF westbound with 94 FedEx trailers, they were empty reposition move. 

gmojim



Date: 05/15/19 18:43
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: bbcc

See plenty of FedEx cans on the domestic IM trains to and from BNSF South Seattle as well (northern transcon.) seem more common in last couple years but that’s just an impression.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 18:45 by bbcc.



Date: 05/15/19 19:27
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: cinder

Westbound at Peach Springs, AZ on BNSF Transcon - 5/13/19.




Date: 05/15/19 19:43
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: jackal

cinder Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Westbound at Peach Springs, AZ on BNSF Transcon -
> 5/13/19.

Those westbound moves are typically empties, though, AFAIK, and FedEx has long used rail for repositioning empties. It's the eastbound trailers with time commitments for delivery that I'm intrigued by.



Date: 05/16/19 10:37
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: gmojim

On VR rail cam just saw hot eastbound BNSF Z train thru Barstow CA with 17 FedEx Ground trailers. Definitely loaded if eastbound.  This is an everyday occurence several times a day on BNSF. There were also 10 FedEx containers which could have been Ground loads, no way to know if they were Ground or Freight loads. Saw 4 FedEx Ground trailers on westbound UP Z train thru Kearney NE few minutes ago.

gmojim



Date: 05/16/19 10:48
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: mapboy

jackal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those westbound moves are typically empties,
> though, AFAIK, and FedEx has long used rail for
> repositioning empties. It's the eastbound trailers
> with time commitments for delivery that I'm
> intrigued by.

Take a look at some of the free youTube railcams.  Lots of hot westbound BNSF intermodals have FedEx loads.  The 3/13/19 Z ALTSBD9 had 34 FedEx containers and 1 trailer, the 3/12/19 Z WSPLAC9 had 16 FedEx containers, the 3/13/19 Z WSPSTO9 had 15 containers and 5 trailers, some of them picked up at Kansas City LPK.  Even the 3/14/19 Z WSPNBY8 had 11 FedEx containers and 4 trailers past the La Plata,MO, railcam.  Those came off at Stockton, if not sooner.  Plenty of FedEx on eastbounds, too.  They wouldn’t put empties on a Z8/9!  

FedEx has been on BNSF Z9s for quite awhile.  The 9/27/15 Z WSPSBD9 had 4 FedEx containers and 4 trailers and the Z WSPSTO9 had 7 containers and 4 trailers, the 8/25/15 Z WSPLAC9 had 3 Fedex containers.  The 7/31/15 Z LPKLAC9 had 7 Fedex containers and 4 trailers.  Similar counts for eastbounds.  2015 seemed to be the year when FedEx really got plentiful on BNSF.

mapboy



Date: 05/16/19 14:17
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: Txtrainman60

How about some PHOTOS of these new Fed-Ex containers?



Date: 05/16/19 14:22
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: jst3751

Txtrainman60 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about some PHOTOS of these new Fed-Ex
> containers?

Many many many pictures of FedEx containers can be found across the internet by going aGoogling.

https://www.google.com/search?q=fedex+intermodal+containers&tbm=isch&source=hp&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi33KbA_aDiAhWoHjQIHWhPDsQQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1045&bih=807



Date: 05/16/19 20:37
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: MSE

Nearly 24 hours from FLG to CVS? That seems slow for a Z. Comments?



Date: 05/17/19 12:59
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: Greyhounds

MSE Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nearly 24 hours from FLG to CVS? That seems slow
> for a Z. Comments?

Yes, comment.
11:56 PM to 12:49 PM is nowhere near 24 hours.  It's close to 13 hours.
 



Date: 05/17/19 17:04
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: kalthoff

FedEx had been using UP on the Lathrop-G2 trains for a good year or more. Ocasionly ,in the morning I would catch a FedEx truck with an EMP trailer on California HWY 84 going south from  I580 to I680. I suspect UP  is not handling the move anymore as l haven’t seen evidence to suport that it is.



Date: 05/17/19 18:49
Re: FedEx Ground now using BNSF Transcon for shipments?
Author: czephyr17

Greyhounds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> MSE Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Nearly 24 hours from FLG to CVS? That seems
> slow
> > for a Z. Comments?
>
> Yes, comment.
> 11:56 PM to 12:49 PM is nowhere near 24 hours. 
> It's close to 13 hours.
>  

Yes, it threw me at first also, but after looking at it closer I realized it was not 24 hours.  13 hours 3 minutes for 566 miles from Flagstaff to Clovis would be an average speed of 43.4 miles per hour.  However we have one further complication here - Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time, while New Mexico uses Mountain Daylight Time, so Clovis is one hour ahead of Flagstaff.  The times shown in the FedEx time stamps don't indicate the time zone, but if they are based on local times, the actual run time was only 12 hours 3 minutes, or 47.0 miles per hour.  That said, since BNSF operates in Arizona on Mountain Daylight time (same time as New Mexico), if the FedEx time stamp were based on BNSF time, it would be 13 hours 3 minutes. However I suspect they use the local times, which would be consistent with the OP's comments that they report about every 12 hours.  Crystal clear?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/19 18:52 by czephyr17.



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