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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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As was the case a month ago, the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates is calling for annual import cargo volume gains at United States ports, as retailers gear up for the holiday season.

More than nine months after saying it was not for sale, Long Beach Calif.-based non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services provider UTi Worldwide has apparently changed its tune, with the company saying it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Denmark-based global 3PL DSV for $1.35 billion and $7.10 per share.

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The NRF is calling for 2015 holiday sales to see a 3.7 percent annual gain to $630.5 billion, which comfortably outpaces the ten-year average of 2.5 percent.


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