FedEx Freight going intermodal

February 2, 2011

FedEx Freight, which is the nation’s largest stand-alone less-than-truckload carrier of freight, is going intermodal.

Less-than-truckload, or LTL, is commonly defined as freight weighing more than 151 pounds and less than 20,000 pounds.

LTL carriers collect these small to medium-size fright shipments from customers in a defined region, then consolidate them into single trailer or container loads for line-haul transportation to a distant destination, where the shipments are broken down for final local delivery to customers.

FedEx Freight is distinct from FedEx Express, which is an express carrier that primarily moves letters and packages via aircraft for the line-haul.

Instead of line-haul movement entirely by truck, FedEx Freight is choosing rail intermodal (trailers and containers atop flat cars) for some of its line-haul business.

Norfolk Southern says it was selected by FedEx Freight as a “preferred eastern rail carrier” for intermodal shipments.

FedEx Freight operates a 350-terminal network nationwide, with annual freight revenue of $4.4 billion. This compares with annual freight revenue of almost $8 billion for Norfolk Southern, and more than $14 billion each for BNSF and Union Pacific, which are North America’s two largest railroads.