Rail/Intermodal: Going above and beyond on the rails

Through record-high investments and a sharp focus on service, rail and intermodal providers are still delivering on their service promise to shippers—and doing it with improved efficiency, say LM readers.

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Through record-high investments and a sharp focus on service, rail and intermodal providers are still delivering on their service promise to shippers—and doing it with improved efficiency, say LM readers.

As Group News Editor Jeff Berman reported in his 2014 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable that appeared in our June issue, perhaps the most impressive fact revolving around the rail/intermodal success story is the flexibility that the sector has illustrated, as it’s been able to roll with the economic changes and demand trends since the depths of the Great Recession.

And since that time, the modes have made steady annual gains and are on track to meet or exceed pre-recession volumes on the intermodal side—with carload volumes not that far behind.

“Amid a flurry of concerns over the regulatory framework of the industry as well as safety concerns, the railroads continue to do their part, making annual record-level capital investments in their infrastructure and network to meet shipper objectives for things like improved transit time gains and increased network efficiency,” says Berman.

However, in the midst of this storied progress, rail carriers still face an array of mounting challenges, including recovering from weather-related service issues caused from this past winter; the possibility of re-regulation; and increasing pushback from shippers that are less than pleased with rates as underlying demand for service remains strong.

How rail and intermodal service providers manage through these unfolding challenges is yet to be seen, but what we can report this month is that the 12 service providers listed below have gone above and beyond to deliver world-class service for the readers of LM.

Leading the way in the 2014 Rail/Intermodal category this year we find Swift Transportation (47.07) putting up the highest weighted score. Swift posted top marks in Value (10.10), Customer Service (9.18), and Equipment & Operations (9.42). Pulling in just behind is Norfolk Southern (NS) with a weighted score of 45.91. NS took the lead in two attributes this year, posting a category-high 10.85 in On-time Performance and 7.91 in Information Technology.

In this year’s Intermodal Marketing category we find CSX Intermodal posting an impressive 50.02 weighted score. CSX leads the way in Value (10.73), Information Technology (8.46), and Customer Service (10.24). Pulling in first in terms of On-time Performance is Dart Intermodal (12.09), and taking the top spot in Equipment & Operations is J.B. Hunt Intermodal (9.54).

2014 Quest for Quality Winners Categories


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