Due to inclement weather, delays may be realized. View the most recent service advisories here.

How Canada’s Rail System Benefits Shippers

Posted by Neil Roberts on June 15, 2021 - 8:11 AM
a train in the mountains and forests of rural canada

Canada’s rail landscape

Canada has a diverse freight system that gives shippers several ways of moving goods throughout the country. And while many shippers look to truckload or LTL as their first option, intermodal can offer alternative capacity whether you’re moving freight into or out of Canada. Already, Canada’s two Class I railroads carry about 70% of the country’s total domestic freight and about 50% of its exports. This well-established rail system running through many of its major cities is part of what makes intermodal a reliable and efficient service for diversifying freight moving between the U.S. and Canada.

What to expect from Canadian intermodal

Here’s what makes Canadian intermodal a standout option for certain imports and exports:

Added cost savings for long-haul shipments

Lower long-haul cost is typically one of the major advantages of intermodal no matter the destination, but the details make all the difference in Canada. Unlike the U.S., where major cities are often just a few hours away, Canada’s major shipping hubs are usually at least 8 hours apart. This widespread geography makes intermodal an ideal choice for shippers looking for cost-saving opportunities since anything shipping 2,000 miles or more is generally a good fit for rail.

Preferred shipping into Western Canada

Intermodal containers are sought after in Western Canada because the region hosts their grain production hub and major ocean shipping ports. Because both industries rely on intermodal containers to keep international and domestic supply chains moving, there can often be added cost savings to incentivize intermodal shipments into the area. This means that your westbound Canadian freight could see even greater savings over the rails.

Customs convenience

If your business has operations in both the U.S. and Canada, it’s likely you have shipments crossing the border frequently. And rail can make that process more efficient. With U.S.-Canada intermodal, freight gets pre-cleared through customs and documents are submitted electronically, meaning your freight doesn’t meet any unnecessary hang-ups and stays on schedule.

Choose ArcBest for a seamless approach to cross-border rail shipping

The key to successful cross-border shipping is a partnership with a licensed, experienced carrier who can handle everything from booking to customs. ArcBest intermodal offers decades of industry experience, relationships with all seven Class I railroads, and reach into six providences and 13 major Canadian cities. Our door-to-door service means once your shipment is booked, we handle the details so you can focus on other critical aspects of your business. Learn more about our Canadian coverage areas and how we can help you streamline your cross-border shipments.