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Corporate cost-control pressures have helped the intermodal industry convert a growing percentage of truck freight to rail, but Clement believes at least nine million additional loads are up for grabs - a number that will grow as overall freight volumes pick up.
"We estimate that about 14 percent of freight moving over the highway today may be moving in the wrong mode," says Clement. Freight moving 550 miles or more generally can be hauled more cost effectively and with a lower carbon footprint via rail intermodal, he says.
Concerns about the reliability of intermodal service are a thing of the past, Clement adds. "In the railroad industry overall, and at CSX in particular, there is significant capital spending on intermodal," he says. "This includes new terminals with new technology that make freight throughput much more reliable than in the past." As an example, Clement notes that CSX recently opened a new facility in Northwest Ohio that supports a hub-and-spoke network with more origin/destination pairs. "Shippers say they want two things from us - reliable service and service to more markets, and that's where we are focusing our efforts," says Clements.
CSX is taking this message directly to shippers through its Highway to Rail (H2R) Initiative, he says. Since CSX wholesales its freight service, it will continue to depend on channel partners to provide front-line sales efforts, but the company felt that additional measures were needed, he says. "We wanted to take the CSX message and brand directly to shippers to make sure that they understand the sustainability and other advantages of rail and to bring them insights about their supply chain and modal choices to help them be more effective in the marketplace."
Intermodal has been around for 40-plus years and has been on a sustained growth path for the last 30 years, but there still are a lot of misperceptions about intermodal among large shippers and many smaller shippers aren't aware of how intermodal could benefit their operations, he says. "We just want to get directly in front of all different kinds of shippers to make sure they are hearing our message and to help us understand their business needs."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, 3pl, global logistics, transportation management, third party logistics, logistics management, logistics s& supply chain, logistics services, supply chain solutions, supply chain planning, transportation management systems, retail supply chain
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