- J.B. Hunt Transport Services and BNSF Railway jointly launched a new time-sensitive service called "Quantum" on Tuesday, which promises up to 95% on-time delivery.
- The service targets “customers who have been historically hesitant to put their freight on rail,” a spokesperson for J.B. Hunt said in an email to Supply Chain Dive. The carrier said an analysis of its own transaction data suggests between 7 million and 11 million loads of freight support intermodal conversion.
- “Quantum allows customers with service-sensitive freight to benefit from the cost savings of intermodal, while reducing their carbon footprint and maintaining the level of service and consistency needed in their supply chains,” Darren Field, president of intermodal at J.B. Hunt, said in a statement.
The Quantum service promises delivery times up to a day faster than traditional intermodal services, according to the press release.
Improved service will be achieved through aligning forecasts for dray, container and rail capacity with customer needs, the release said. Shippers using Quantum will receive priority drayage and rail movement with the promise of more consistent transits.
As a premium service, pricing will vary based on need, though shippers can expect costs to range between traditional intermodal and over-the-road service.
Five employees from J.B. Hunt and five from BNSF have been assigned and will oversee Quantum, according to the spokesperson. The joint team will be based at an Intermodal Innovation Center in Fort Worth, Texas, which will allow for 24/7 oversight and enable staff to quickly resolve issues.
Quantum is not targeting a specific business segment or industry, as the goal is to win new intermodal business by convincing shippers new to the service about its cost savings and sustainability benefits.
"Recent efforts by J.B. Hunt and BNSF to improve intermodal service efficiency helped lay the groundwork for Quantum," the spokesperson said. "Both companies have made significant investments in service, technology and capacity to bring back the consistency and reliability customers expect with intermodal after the recent years of disruption."
The new service is unrelated to J.B. Hunt’s acquisition of BNSF’s brokerage in September, the J.B. Hunt spokesperson said. Quantum complements traditional intermodal services from J.B. Hunt and BNSF, and revenues will be reported separately by each company, according to the spokesperson.
J.B. Hunt has a goal to grow its intermodal fleet to 150,000 containers over the next three to five years. As of Q3, its intermodal fleet stood at 117,387, up more than 4,000 from a year ago.
Tom Williams, group vice president of consumer products as BNSF, described Quantum as an "innovative vision" built on top of a decades-long partnership between the two carriers.
J.B. Hunt and BNSF first launched a joint service in 1989: the industry's first modern intermodal transport solution. This week's launch is a nod to that service, which was also named Quantum.