US freight and logistics provider Con-way has launched a new intermodal service between the US and Mexico that could benefit the automotive industry.

The company said it would be offering services to the automotive industry where it sees “the potential for a long-term value-added relationship” and that these would be limited to containerised shipments of parts in the initial stages.

The new service will make use of the operations of Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal divisions. 

Mexico is set to add around 1.5m more units of vehicle production in the next four years and already accounts for around 20% of North American light vehicle production.

“With changing global trade patterns and the rise in near-sourcing, Mexico is increasingly a location of choice for manufacturing and distribution,” said Saul Gonzalez, president of Con-way Truckload. “This new collaborative service with Con-way Multimodal allows us to immediately expand our portfolio for customers, adding an intermodal option to complement our well-established long-haul and regional over-the-road services.”

The new service will work with all of the major railroads operating between the countries. These include CSX and Norfolk Southern in the East of the US and Union Pacific in the West. Union Pacific is also providing services to Mexico, as is Kansas City Southern and Con-way will be working with both, and with Canada National and Canadian Pacific in that country.

Con-way Truckload’s CFI Logistica subsidiary in Mexico will also play a part in the service, as well as Con-way Multimodal, which arranges third-party carrier services for over-the-road, intermodal, flatbed, heavy haul and other specialised freight shipments.

“This formalises a true intermodal service product and dramatically expands our capability to arrange and manage transportation for US-Mexico traffic,” said Tommy Barnes, president of Con-way Multimodal.

Barnes told Automotive Logistics News that it only saw “minimal barriers” to operating the service. “The key is to evaluate each customer and control the growth with the focus being on long-term value for the shippers,” he said.

Con-way Truckload said that 35% of its revenue comes from shipments destined for or originating in Mexico. The company has a fleet of 2,700 tractors and 8,800 trailers, with more than 2,300 trailers operating in the country.

The new services also offers Con-way Truckload drivers the chance to pick up more loads and secure more miles, said the company. “We will be able to match our drivers up with drayage opportunities such that they can earn additional income when they have availability between regional and long-haul over-the-road moves,” said Gonzalez. “We recognise that our professional drivers are the most important part of our service offering and we will continue to focus our efforts on getting good freight for them.”