J.B. Hunt, BNSF Announce Joint Initiative to Improve Intermodal Capacity Challenges

Mar 16, 2022

Carrier on path to grow intermodal fleet to 150,000 containers  as the largest intermodal railroad expands capacity and access

Carrier on path to grow intermodal fleet to 150,000 containers as the largest intermodal railroad expands capacity and access

Lowell, Ark. And Fort Worth, Texas, March 16, 2022 – J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) are launching a joint effort to substantially improve capacity in the intermodal marketplace while also meeting the expanding needs of current customers.

Demand for intermodal services has grown significantly in recent years as companies look to secure capacity, while reducing costs and their carbon footprint. Based on current and projected trends, J.B. Hunt plans to grow its intermodal fleet to as many as 150,000 containers in the next three to five years, a 40+% increase from its count at the end of 2021. The company has completed more than four million intermodal loads since 2020.

“Over the past few years, intermodal has been disrupted by increased demand and tight capacity, resulting in poor container velocity and long dwell times,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt. “Together, J.B. Hunt and BNSF will enhance their work to bring back the consistency and reliability customers expect with intermodal services and further embrace intermodal conversion and transloading services. This priority falls directly in line with J.B. Hunt’s mission statement to create the most efficient transportation network in North America.”

Looking forward and as part of the initiative, BNSF will increase capability at multiple intermodal facilities. To further integrate its joint service product with J.B. Hunt, BNSF is providing several property locations around key intermodal hubs in Southern California, Chicago, and other key markets to increase efficiency at terminals. Additionally, BNSF will bolster its railcar equipment to accommodate the anticipated increase in container capacity, which will support efficient throughput and strong service performance.

In addition to growing its container count, J.B. Hunt will add supporting chassis based on market need. Over the years, both companies have invested billions of dollars to ensure intermodal’s ability to grow with customers and meet the increasing demand for intermodal services.

“More than 30 years ago, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and BNSF predecessor The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company loaded a Hunt trailer onto a railcar to help usher in the modern age of intermodal freight transport,” said Katie Farmer, BNSF president and CEO.

“BNSF’s industry-leading service combined with J.B. Hunt’s unparalleled intermodal product has set the standard for seamless door-to-door service. We will raise the bar on service to the next level through technology and innovation as we further integrate our platforms with real-time data exchanges. We want our customers to enjoy the best of both worlds: economical and environmentally friendly service delivered by transportation’s premium providers.”

The companies will leverage technology, including the industry leading J.B. Hunt 360°®, to improve efficiencies in rail transport. J.B. Hunt 360’s digital freight matching platform is one of the few in the industry to support intermodal services. Based on analysis of J.B. Hunt 360 transactions and annual bid activity, the company estimates that an additional 7 to 11 million shipments could be converted to intermodal, supporting long-term growth opportunities while avoiding carbon emissions.  

J.B. Hunt and BNSF disrupted the transportation industry in 1989 by developing a double-stack shipping solution that would complement both rail and trucking services, a first for modern transportation. Today, J.B. Hunt operates the largest company-owned intermodal fleet in North America with more than 109,000 53’ containers supported by company-owned chassis and tractors.  BNSF operates the largest intermodal rail network handling roughly 1 million more intermodal units each year than any other railroad and through their investments offer the fastest intermodal route between Southern California and the Midwest.

About J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., an S&P 500 company, provides innovative supply chain solutions for a variety of customers throughout North America. Utilizing an integrated, multimodal approach, the company applies technology-driven methods to create the best solution for each customer, adding efficiency, flexibility, and value to their operations. J.B. Hunt services include intermodal, dedicated, refrigerated, truckload, less-than-truckload, flatbed, single source, final mile, and more. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. stock trades on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol JBHT and is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. For more information, visit www.jbhunt.com.

About BNSF

BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies. BNSF operates approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also operates in three Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal, and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages. BNSF’s shipments help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. We work continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at www.BNSF.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains statements by J.B. Hunt regarding its plans, expectations, goals and outlook for the future that may be considered forward-looking statements. When J.B. Hunt uses words like “may,” “will,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “could,” “should,” “would,” and similar expressions, you should consider them as identifying forward-looking statements, although other phrasing may be used. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or operations and are inherently uncertain, subject to risks, and should be viewed with caution. These statements are based on J.B. Hunt’s belief or interpretation of information currently available. Stockholders and prospective investors are cautioned that actual results and future events may differ materially from these forward-looking statements as a result of many factors, including, but not limited to, increased costs for or disruptions in the procurement of new revenue equipment; decreases in the value of used equipment; the ability of revenue equipment manufacturers to perform in accordance with agreements for guaranteed equipment trade-in values; the completion and success of the initiatives announced by BNSF in this release; the accuracy of J.B. Hunt’s assumptions regarding current and future trends in customer demand for intermodal services; and those risk factors discussed in Item 1A of J.B. Hunt’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 25, 2022. J.B. Hunt assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to the extent the company becomes aware they will not be achieved for any reason.