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August 01, 2011

Source: Logistics Management, Peerless Media Research Group

Steady rise to the top
As group news editor Jeff Berman wrote in last month’s State of Logistics Report, rail and intermodal have been two of the most stable sectors in freight transportation over the past two years—although volumes have a way to go to get back to pre-recession levels witnessed in 2007.

And while those levels may not be back for a while, industry experts say that since the first half of 2010, the railroad industry appears to be maintaining its steady course, with solid earnings and strong pricing clearly intact. As for volumes, rail carloads and intermodal containers and trailers are up roughly 4 percent and 10 percent, respectively, year-over-year for the first half of 2011.

Couple that solid financial performance and demand with the fact that, according to our Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics), service levels on the rails have been on the rise for the past three years, and you can picture a pretty happy group of rail executives. And for 10 rail and intermodal service and marketing companies, the news is about to get a little sweeter.

Leading the pack in our Rail/Intermodal Service Provider category with the highest weighted average for the second year in a row is Triple Crown Services (46.85). Triple Crown took honors in On-time Performance (12.88), Customer Service (9.16), and Equipment & Operations (9.13).

Pulling in first in Value was Norfolk Southern (9.58), and CSX Transportation put up an impressive 6.89 in IT to for Quality gold last year as well—and in just about the exact order.

Our Intermodal Marketing category found three winners who didn’t make the cut last year along with two repeats from 2010. J.B. Hunt Intermodal tops the list again this year, putting up a 46.59 weighted average, but only scored highest in one attribute category, IT (7.02). In fact, attribute top scores were well dispersed in this category this year.

Alliance Shippers put up the second best weighted average (45.94) and lead the way in Customer Service (9.08). Dart International posted the third best overall average (45.93) but took top spot in On-time Performance (11.50) and Equipment & Operations (10.18). Pacer International, Inc. rang in fourth with a 44.53 and was top in Value with a 10.43.

2011 Quest for Quality Winners Categories


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Recent Entries

Logistics Management recently spoke with Abtin Hamidi, chief vice president and co-founder of Mountain View, Calif.-based CargoChief, a provider of transportation and logistics technology focused on providing shippers with securing over-the-road capacity and pricing, among other services.

Christopher L. Koch, who just retired from a 15-year tenure as president and CEO of the World Shipping Council (WSC), and continues to serve as its senior advisor, is still telling shippers to stay the course.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.


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