As Group News Editor Jeff Berman reported last month in our extensive coverage of the recently released State of Logistics Report, there are several factors that have kept the railroads in excellent shape amid the chaos that was prevalent in freight transportation over the past four years.
According to our shipper respondents, chief among these factors are strong service and reliability, which the rails have successfully leveraged as current volumes remain below pre-recession levels.
But the rail operators will be quick to tell you that improved service and reliability are not incidental or happening by accident. As Berman reported, Class I carriers are leveraging their strong service reliability into excellent returns, even with the dramatic decline in coal loadings which represents 40 percent or more of total rail volumes.
The rail operators are also doing a good job preparing for future growth, whether it’s for straight carload or intermodal movements. In fact, projected 2012 capital expenditure plans by Class I railroads represents a cumulative investment of a record $13 billion by the seven North America-based Class I freight railroads.
According to LM readers, the hard work and investment is indeed paying off for the 11 companies stepping up to the podium to receive Quest for Quality gold in the category. In the Rail/Intermodal Service Provider sector we find BNSF Railway (46.88) and Norfolk Southern (46.88) locked in a statistical tie for top weighted average. This marks the first time in several years that Triple Crown Service (46.13) did not post the highest score.
It’s interesting to note that top scores across the attributes were fairly dispersed this year. Norfolk Southern posted highest marks in On-time Performance (11.13) and Information Technology (8.21); BNSF put up the best score in Value (10.03); while Triple Crown edged out the rest of our winners with high scores in Customer Service (8.99) and Equipment & Operations (9.39).
In this year’s Intermodal Marketing Companies category, Alliance Shippers put up an impressive 52.19 weighted average, one of the highest scores reported in this year’s survey. Alliance topped the category with a 12.35 in On-time Performance, 10.58 in Customer Service, and 10.12 in Equipment & Operations. The Hub Group took top marks this year in Value (10.77) and Information Technology (8.48).
2012 Quest for Quality Winners Categories
2012 Quest for Quality Rail/Intermodal Sponsor