• Inland Distribution
  • September 30 - October 2, 2024 | The Westin Chicago River North

Ari Ashe

Journal of Commerce by S&P Global

Senior Editor-Intermodal Rail and Southeast Ports

Ari Ashe joined the JOC in 2018 and reports on the Southeast US ports, intermodal, and trucking, while co-chairing the programming committee for the JOC Inland Distribution Conference. He has nearly 15 years of journalism experience. He began his career with WTOP-FM in Washington, DC, a 24/7 all-news radio outlet, where he won an Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism in his role as the commuter transportation beat reporter. In 2016, Ashe moved to Transport Topics, a publication of the American Trucking Associations, covering trucking, railroads, and ocean carriers, including quarterly earnings reports and economic news affecting the industry. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from George Washington University and a master’s in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University.

Sessions With Ari Ashe

Monday, 30 September

Tuesday, 1 October

  • 08:15am - 08:30am (CST) / 01/oct/2024 01:15 pm - 01/oct/2024 01:30 pm
  • 11:30am - 12:00pm (CST) / 01/oct/2024 04:30 pm - 01/oct/2024 05:00 pm

    One-on-One: A Conversation with Knight-Swift CEO Adam Miller

    Few people have as broad a view of the US trucking industry as Adam Miller, who became CEO of the largest US truckload provider, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, in February. Miller took the helm of the company after 22 years as CFO. He played important roles in the Knight-Swift merger in 2017, and in several mergers and acquisitions since then. He now leads a more diversified Knight-Swift, with full truckload, less-than-truckload, logistics, and intermodal business lines. In some respects, Knight-Swift's transformation reflects changes in the US trucking industry and the changing needs of shipper customers. In this one-on-one discussion with Journal of Commerce senior editor Ari Ashe, Adam will discuss Knight-Swift's view the future, not just of the company but the trucking industry as a whole; what he's hearing from key customers about the business and freight demand; how Knight-Swift plans to complete its expansion into LTL; the expansion of its truckload business with U.S. Xpress; and more.   
  • 01:45pm - 02:30pm (CST) / 01/oct/2024 06:45 pm - 01/oct/2024 07:30 pm

    Intermodal I: The Intermodal Savings Index and Intermodal Service Scorecard

    No one else covers intermodal quite like the Journal of Commerce. The heartbeat of our intermodal coverage is two data products: The Intermodal Savings Index and the Intermodal Service Scorecard. The Intermodal Savings Index uses a proprietary analysis of contract and spot market rates in intermodal rail and truckload to answer a simple question: How much money should a shipper expect to save using intermodal instead of long-haul trucking in any given month, quarter, or year? Our Intermodal Service Scorecard is an alternative way to measure service beyond the metrics reported to the US government. The premise is that intermodal is a service, and when someone hires a service provider in their personal lives, they often talk to neighbors or go on services such as Angie’s List or Home Advisor to find the top-rated providers. The Intermodal Service Scorecard brings this concept to intermodal by empowering the public to anonymously grade their intermodal partners to answer the questions: Who is the best service provider? And what are the key differences between service providers? In this presentation, Journal of Commerce senior editor Ari Ashe will go under the hood to show how the data is collected, what it's telling us about domestic intermodal, and how you can participate and benefit from the products. 
  • 02:35pm - 03:20pm (CST) / 01/oct/2024 07:35 pm - 01/oct/2024 08:20 pm

    Intermodal II: Domestic Intermodal Service

    This panel will discuss what observations and conclusions can be made of the Intermodal Service Scorecard and weekly service metrics supplied to the US government. Service was reliable and consistent in 2023, but have the railroads been able to keep it up with a strong service product in 2024? Can shippers tender more freight to intermodal and be confident the network will not become congested and logjammed if demand surges? Can railroads maintain a service with a low standard of deviation in transit times? What expectations should shippers have of their intermodal partners in the next five years, and will they be capable of meeting those expectations? 

  • 03:50pm - 04:20pm (CST) / 01/oct/2024 08:50 pm - 01/oct/2024 09:20 pm

    Intermodal III: Domestic Intermodal Pricing

    Diving deeper into the Intermodal Savings Index, this session will cover whether intermodal prices are delivering adequate cost savings to shippers or whether truckload opportunities are too competitive to pass up. How has pricing impacted volume in 2024? How has pricing impacted the balance between shippers using asset-owning intermodal providers versus non-asset brokers? What is the pricing outlook for bids going live in the first quarter of 2025? After two years of rate reductions, will carriers have the upper hand to get a rate increase in 2025? 

Wednesday, 2 October

  • 08:35am - 09:05am (CST) / 02/oct/2024 01:35 pm - 02/oct/2024 02:05 pm

    One-on-One: A Conversation with Hub Group’s Phil Yeager

    Hub Group is the second largest domestic intermodal provider and one of the Top 25 freight brokers and contract logistics providers in the US, providing capacity not only for freight on the rails but also traveling on trucks. For many intermodal shippers, Hub Group is first or second in their routing guide and a critical piece of moving freight on Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. For trucking shippers, Hub Group provides several services, including truckload brokerage and dedicated truckload capacity with more than 5,500 company branded trailers. In this session, Journal of Commerce senior editor Ari Ashe will talk with Phil Yeager about the current state of the intermodal and trucking markets, including the pricing environment in both modes and demand for rail and truck services. Other subjects will include the importance of relationships; how Hub Group approaches the customer experience from ground-level interactions between the customer service representatives and the shippers; and what shippers need to know going into 2025 with their trucking and intermodal business. 

  • 09:50am - 10:20am (CST) / 02/oct/2024 02:50 pm - 02/oct/2024 03:20 pm

    Cargo Crime II: Rail

    Cargo security is also a concern for intermodal rail shippers. Exporters have complained about seal breaks between the Midwest or Mid-South and West Coast US ports. When the seal is broken, many exporters must pay to return the cargo back to origin, dispose of the materials, and pay for a new shipment to protect the health and safety of the recipient, even if nothing was taken. Seal breaks are also a problem in domestic intermodal. Sometimes cargo is stolen, other times the crooks open the door but take nothing, but either way unauthorized individuals are accessing trains. The domestic intermodal providers can provide some intelligence with devices on their containers that send an alert when the door is open while in transit. The data doesn’t tell who broke into the container, but it can disclose when and where it happened. Most ocean containers don’t have such technology. This session will assess what steps intermodal providers are taking to protect the cargo under their care and custody and deter or prevent break-ins, regardless of whether cargo is stolen or not. What are the pros and cons of the measures being implemented today? Are there other solutions shippers should consider to bolster cargo security? 
  • 01:50pm - 02:30pm (CST) / 02/oct/2024 06:50 pm - 02/oct/2024 07:30 pm

    Mexico Intermodal: One Year Later

    It’s been more than a year since the intermodal landscape in Mexico changed with the entrance of Canadian Pacific, now known as CPKC. Between CPKC, the Falcon Premium, and the BNSF-Ferromex partnership, there are several viable ways to route cargo between Mexico, Canada, and the US. Railroads aren’t only targeting freight to the US Midwest, but also the US Southeast and to Canada. This session will examine how progress has gone so far in growing Mexico intermodal freight, provide an update on services to the US Southeast and Canada, and discuss how to convince truckload shippers to consider using rail for some of their cross-border freight.