Schneider National, Inc. has announced a new, multiyear agreement with CSX Transportation under which the railroad will serve as one of Schneider’s primary rail providers. According to Schneider, the deal “sets the stage for sustained, long-term service within the Eastern United States as Schneider’s intermodal freight volumes continue to increase.”

“The expansion of our relationship with CSX will create a strong foundation for Schneider Intermodal’s continued growth and our customer’s success,” said Bill Matheson, president of Intermodal Services for Schneider National.

“We’re recommitting the expertise of one of the nation’s major railroads and one of the largest intermodal providers at a time when truckload capacity is getting tighter and shippers need creative new solutions to move freight,” he continued. “The combined value of Schneider’s asset-based intermodal service and CSX’s reliable performance provides solutions our customers expect.”

CSX became Schneider’s primary Eastern rail provider in 2008. Since then, noted Schneider, the firms have continued to enhance their performance to deliver “truck-like” service to shippers.

The new agreement provides Schneider customers with capacity, operational interfaces and access to preferential loading in some circumstances that will increase accessibility and efficiency of rail moves. Additionally, capital investments that CSX has made in projects such as the northwest Ohio intermodal terminal will continue to improve infrastructure while expanding its service offerings to fuel Schneider’s growth, according to the carrier.

“The current economic conditions and business environment tell us there will be more interest than ever in finding cost-effective, reliable modes for moving freight,” said Bill Clement, vice president-Intermodal of CSX Transportation. “Increased use of intermodal service is certain to be a part of that conversation, and few do it as well as Schneider National. We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with them.”

According to Matheson, the Eastern U.S. and Midwest will “feel the majority of the pain” resulting from the tight driver market in 2012. “Eastern intermodal service will provide significant relief to shippers who convert truckload freight, and Schneider will be significantly adding additional containers, tractors and drivers to its fleet to prepare for the increased demand.”

In addition to service coverage in the East with CSX, it moves loads in the West with BNSF, as well as Canadian and Mexican border-crossings with the CN and Kansas City Southern railroads.