Shipper | Case study

Auto parts manufacturer revitalizes its supply chain with cross-border shipping

Schneider Intermodal helped retool an automotive manufacturer’s cross-border transportation process to increase efficiency and cut costs of heavy haul shipments.


From brakes and headlights to mirrors and mufflers, an auto parts manufacturer provides millions of people worldwide with the equipment they need to stay safe on the road. The sheer number of people relying on the company to power their automobiles makes for a razor-thin margin for error. Combined with a model that typically runs lean on production scheduling and inventory, cohesion and communication are critical—especially when shipping across borders. 

Auto wheel, auto battery and gas can

After frequently experiencing inefficiency and frustration with its carrier running freight on a popular route from Canada to Mexico, the manufacturer was left looking for a way to retool its cross-border transportation process. 

Longing for a carrier to elevate the entire operation, the manufacturer reached out to Schneider for an international rail freight transportation solution that would minimize delays and keep freight running smoothly across North America.

Unique intermodal equipment allows for better heavy-haul transportation

From the outset, Schneider aimed to help the automotive manufacturer implement an intermodal solution tailored to address its unique pain points. One key way Schneider immediately offered an upgrade from the previous carrier was in the amount of weight hauled in each load. When it comes to hauling heavy automotive parts, weight capacity is of utmost importance—and inefficient hauls mean dollars wasted. While its previous carrier was limited to a maximum of 43,400 lbs., Schneider’s steel wheel solution for shipping allowed the manufacturer to haul up to 53,400 lbs. per load on the rail from Canada to Mexico.

By avoiding putting freight on a chassis and moving it across town on the road, the manufacturer was able to add the extra weight, adding efficiency and making every fifth load essentially free. This equated to big savings on the manufacturer’s bottom line.

Schneider’s heavy-haul transportation capabilities also provided a lift at another point on Canada-to-Mexico shipments. Some routes require transportation from one yard to another along the rail route, which can be tough to navigate when it comes to heavy freight. Since this type of maneuver requires a costly special permit to be completed, the specter of delays loom large on each trip. However, Schneider’s unique heavy-haul equipment rendered these concerns nonexistent. With a steel wheel solution, freight moves across the railyard without ever leaving the yard, bypassing the hassles of permitting, increasing supply chain efficiency and ultimately cutting costs.

Superior cross-border communication slashes freight delays, rejuvenates automotive supply chain

While specialized equipment enhanced the manufacturer’s heavy-haul transportation process, a supply chain is ultimately only as strong as the people behind it. Lackluster communication between the manufacturer’s contacts in Canada and Mexico consistently led to costly freight delays, leading them to call on Schneider for a solve. Schneider was able to leverage its strong connections in both countries, establishing an airtight communication flow and eliminating uncertainty.

With associates located in both Canada and Mexico for more than 25 years, Schneider’s team utilizes an intimate knowledge of the nuances of customs procedures on each side of the border. By harnessing insight that can only be gained through extensive experience, Schneider helped the manufacturer illuminate potential efficiencies in the international shipping process and eliminate unnecessary delays.

truck drivers

For example, Schneider helped expedite the receipt of Canada’s B13a export declaration requirement, cutting wasted time and allowing Canada side drivers to go directly from pickup to rail.

Manufacturer cuts costs, streamlines cross-border transportation operation

By calling upon Schneider Intermodal, the manufacturer’s newfound heavy-haul transportation capabilities maximized efficiency and cut down on costs. With the help of Schneider, the company:

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Increased load capacity by 10,000 lbs.

two trucks

Reduced number of total loads by over 2 loads per week


Achieved annual cost savings of over 18.5%

Perhaps most importantly, the added accountability and coordination between contacts in Canada and Mexico helped the manufacturer establish a consistent process and an invaluable sense of cohesion throughout the supply chain. After experiencing success in its Canada to-Mexico shipping route, the manufacturer has now also developed a reciprocal Mexico-to-Canada intermodal operation.

Schneider continues to work with the manufacturer to provide a seamless, efficient cross-border transportation experience—keeping freight moving smoothly from Canada to Mexico and everywhere in between.

Contact us

For more ways on how Schneider’s expertise can help optimize your automotive business, visit our automotive transportation and logistics services page. Interested in a customized solution like this for your business? Get the conversation around your unique shipping solution started today.

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