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The Relationship Between Technology & Intermodal Capacity

The Relationship Between Technology & Intermodal Capacity

In a world where operations don’t have an option to slow down, capacity concerns are issues that will always be a burden in the back of any operator’s mind. Whether you’re running a rail, port or even distribution center, capacity options are vital to keeping operations running–and efficiently. The last thing you want to see is a competitor taking the business you could’ve easily handled, but didn’t, all due to capacity restraints. Even worse, capacity restraints you didn’t anticipate, leaving your company seeming to look unprepared. Not only that, it ultimately tells prospective, lifelong customers that proactivity doesn’t exist in the company strategy and day-to-day operations. Proactivity is equally important as visibility.

These two features are complementing elements to operational success, but it’s nearly impossible to tap into their potential the old-fashioned way. The good news is there are options in the form of technology and innovation that stay one step ahead of you–meaning you have a system completely capable of updating you on what’s going on and what needs to be addressed, all at the click of a button while taking the stress off you. Insight given from leaders in transportation all share a common theme: visibility is key.

“There is not any difference in the requirements for [handling] truckload versus intermodal in today’s market,” InTek Freight and Logistics President Shelli Austin recently told Intermodal Insights. “It’s now falling into the need for visibility and on-time service. Before, it was the deferred ‘it will get there when it gets there’ type of freight. All successful 3PLs need to have the same real-time information for intermodal that they do for [over-the-road] freight.”

“3PLs are being asked to do more multi-leg management, particularly of drayage at both origin and destination,” says Tommy Barnes, president of project44, which bills itself as the world’s leading advanced visibility platform for 3PLs and shippers. “It is a little bit harder, but they are providing a lot more value to customers.”

Automation continues to make news headlines with its unmatched ability to seamlessly connect almost every aspect of each industry, including intermodal transportation. The main takeaway from automation integration is the level of visibility and connectivity provided among workers and companies that partner for the bigger picture. This shows customers the level of expertise and preparedness your company provides for their needs, ultimately creating competitive advantage and ensuring business keeps moving. The theme of the solution in demand is an increase in more accurate information.

“The key technology for the intermodal product is the ability to capture real-time drayage information at pickup and delivery,” Austin noted in the article. “It is easy to get the information once the container is in the possession of the rail lines. The challenge is grabbing the information from all the different truckers that can and will be used to create capacity for these moves.”

With that being said, blockchain technology continues to provide the solutions, information and visibility necessary for providers and terminal operators to ensure the measures needed are in place to avoid operational hiccups such as terminal overload and miscommunication.

More recently, Kalmar Global announced how it would provide its SmartPower rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) to Norfolk Southern in an effort to extend capacity efforts through its integrated system.

Norfolk serves as a transportation industry leader, boasting 19,500 route miles in 23 states. The company can also brag about an extensive network at every major container port in the eastern United States. Kalmar’s SmartPower RTGs were specifically chosen to improve capacity at Norfolk’s intermodal terminals in Chicago and Rossville in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We are very pleased to be able to continue our collaboration with Norfolk Southern and to support them with the optimization of their intermodal operations,” says Troy Thompson, vice president of Sales at Kalmar Americas. “The proven Kalmar SmartPower RTG provides the perfect balance between productivity and cost efficiency in a variety of container-handling applications.”

Whether it’s partnering with a company that knows what it takes to keep capacity issues minimal or implementing a technology platform—or both—the bottom line is to ensure visibility, ability and operations are not compromised. In a C.H. Robinson blog, author Phil Shook, the director of Intermodal, explains that intermodal shipping will play a role in driving business growth for American railroads, citing that “the 70 intermodal ramps continue to expand.” With this expansion will nonetheless come capacity concerns, providing even more of a reason to invest in automated technology that can keep up with rapid expansion and demand without falling behind.

In his post, Shook makes a fantastic consideration by adding that, “Knowing exactly where a shipment is in transit has quickly become the expectation rather than exception. Companies and consumers expect near real-time notifications about every step of a product’s journey—including facility and town names. And just like the truckload sector, intermodal providers are working hard to deliver.”

This snippet from his blog reiterates the need for an uncompromising level of knowledge from when and where the next load is going. Because the market and its ever-evolving nature continues more demand, it’s imperative to invest in an all-in-one transportation management system that goes beyond what an average TMS provides. Why? Your business simply cannot afford to not have a reliable TMS in place. If you’re lucky enough to find a provider that can not only provide a robust TMS but also integrate new levels of technology, even better, albeit difficult to come across.

Beyond your company’s terminal capacity management, technology integration is now the new standard to global operations. Customer demands will continue to rise, at times becoming more complex and challenging than before. Consider the missing elements in your operations strategy that ultimately hinder providing the very best to customers. Additionally, don’t forget to thoroughly educate and inform employees of changes to come, showing them how to work smarter and not harder. Through this level of anticipation, proactivity and integration, you will foster an environment that motivates instead of overwhelming.

auto purchases

Auto Purchases Reveal New Consumer Trends

Same-day shipping, orders at the click of a button, e-commerce, automation, are all elements that strive to meet the ever-demanding market of consumers with Amazon standards, speed, and accuracy. While many millennials learn to adapt to this consumer culture, Gen Z understands it as a common standard.

Global Trade Magazine had the opportunity to take an inside look at how Gen Z is transforming auto purchases in an exclusive Q&A with Grant Feek, co-founder and CEO of TRED.

Why are consumers, particularly Gen Z consumers, moving away from the traditional auto purchase approach?

“Firstly, our data suggests that gen z consumers are very interested in owning and driving vehicles. Many prognosticators conflate the pending adoption of automotive technologies, such as autonomous drive, with a pending decline in car ownership rates – we don’t see the latter trend in our data.”

“Secondly, our data suggests that gen z consumers are more likely to purchase and sell vehicles in non traditional ways – we suspect that this trend has less to do with gen z’s overt aversion to buying a car traditionally, and more to do with the facts that gen z is (1) more comfortable using computers / trusting online marketplace technology and (2) less engrained in the pre-existing traditional vehicle purchase / sale process. In the same way, gen z’ers are more likely to have groceries delivered, rent clothing, hold cryptocurrency, etc.”

What is it about a dealership consumers are trying to avoid?

“Our data suggests that the #1 complaint with the traditional dealership buying experience, for all consumers (not just gen z), is that it takes too long. We also hear a lot of complaints about pricing.”

What negative associations are seen with Gen Z consumers and new car purchases?

“I don’t think that gen z sees negative connotations associated with car buying so much as gen z has more progressive consumer expectations. It’s important to keep in mind that these kids grew up with iPads in their laps and Amazon Prime at their fingertips. They’re conditioned for internet research and purchase convenience from birth.”

In what ways will the industry have to change to capture the attention of Gen Z consumers?

“Today the technology exists to allow consumer counter parties to deal directly with one another, without the middleman, while still enjoying the vehicle assurances and payment conveniences that they would get at the dealership. We think that’s the future of used car buying and selling for gen z in the US, as well as for everyone everywhere.”

What are the unique needs Gen Z brings to the auto industry? Are they realistic? Will they eventually phase out? 

“In the used car space, gen z buyers expect price transparency, vehicle history information, vehicle inspection information, the option to test drive, payment options, vehicle service and GAP options, and transaction assurance. Gen z buyers and sellers expect the very best of value. We don’t think these trends will phase out. We think the next generation will be even more “demanding” than is gen z.”

In what ways are peer-to-peer car marketplaces changing the game?  

“Peer to peer car marketplaces change the game because they put thousands of dollars per transaction back in the pockets of consumers – you can see Tred’s real time savings data here. In this way, we believe that peer to peer marketplaces will change how many high ticket products are transacted in the coming years: cars, motorcycles, RVs, yachts, boats, bicycles, homes, etc.”

How Amazon Leads as a Supply Chain Provider

It’s no surprise Amazon made our list of the most successful companies in the supply-chain arena. Amazon is known for implementing game-changing processes that keep competitors on their toes. An example of this is seen through the recently announced Supply Chain Connect FBA program for sellers to utilize. This new shipping platform combines the elements of a centralized portal and increased communication efficiencies. Supply Chain Connect is another way Amazon provides increased visibility from start to finish for both shippers and suppliers.

Another example of supply-chain innovations Amazon offers is the company’s managed blockchain service. This platform allows its customers to seamlessly select a framework, add members and configure member nodes while Amazon Managed Blockchain handles creating a robust blockchain network in a matter of clicks versus the dragged-out process of setting up each step. Additionally, the Amazon Managed Blockchain provides secure blockchain network certificates through the AWS Key Management Service. This service also contains an integrated voting API, giving members immediate access to add or remove other members.

“Many of our customers want to build applications where multiple parties can execute transactions without a central, trusted authority, and they also need to create a blockchain network,” says Rahul Pathak, general manager, Amazon Blockchain at AWS. “Building a scalable blockchain network with existing technologies is just too hard today, and that’s why customers pay expensive consultants to help them.”

“Amazon Managed Blockchain eliminates the muck involved in setting up a network, adding and removing members, and scaling to meet application demands. Customers can use either Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric, the two most popular blockchain frameworks, and get a functioning blockchain network set up with just a few clicks.”

Successful implementation of a reliable blockchain network creates new advantages for companies while reducing errors that sometimes go unnoticed and lost. With this new technology opportunity for customers, Amazon again sets a new standard for all companies in the supply-chain arena. Customers rely on what works, bottom-line upfront. Even more so, customers are looking to save time to invest in maximizing their own operations.

“AWS has been a great partner in our journey to innovate in the field of blockchain, and with Amazon Managed Blockchain, we are able to more efficiently create a blockchain network and configure our member nodes in minutes,” says Jon Ruggiero, senior vice president, Workday. “AWS’ use of enhanced Hyperledger Fabric enables the blockchain network to be even more robust, scalable and easier to manage. We’re excited for what we’ll be able to accomplish with this service as the number of members and transaction volumes grow.”

Automated Farming Solution Increases Stock Production by 20 Percent

Manual methods are becoming a thing of the past for poultry farmers implementing the CapTemp Farming Solution which provides farmers asset analytics that support impressive stock production increases.

CapTemp Farming Solution, a Portuguese company, provided one farmer with a quick, reliable solution after a recorded 20 percent loss on stock production due to lack of automated and analytics tools providing the insight he needed on farm equipment and livestock.

Once implemented, the farmer was successfully able to improve daily weight gains for improved animal growth, reduce stock mortality rate to zero, as well as reduce energy and feed costs due to better environmental conditions.

Through its partnership with market leaders in pig and poultry equipment, Equiporave Iberica, CapTemp provides farmers a sensor control system solution that collects and reports data on temperature, humidity, and gas parameters within the poultry house. Through this level of visibility, farmers are given the advantage and real-time controls.

Additionally, data logging and redundancy functions provide even more of an advantage through features such as scheduled machine usage. The automated solution also boasts features such as sensors networked to a central alarm system, operators that alert unusual conditions in real-time, and remote monitor operations.

For more information, visit: CapTemp

Source: EIN Presswire 

Takeoff Technologies Puts Robotics in Grocery Orders

Retail grocers including Albertsons, Stop and Shop, and Sedano’s are a few of the brands that have partnered with Takeoff Technologies, tapping into its innovative technology and robotics-focused strategies to more efficiently fulfill online customer orders.

Through the partnership, Takeoff’s Automated Micro Fulfillment Centers put AI-enabled robots to work to quickly gather and assemble large customer grocery orders, ultimately reducing time and cost compared to manual assembly. It’s reported that these robots can prepare as much as 60 items in a matter of minutes.

“The time is ripe for eGroceries,” said Jose Vicente Aguerrevere, co-founder and CEO of Takeoff. “Grocers have been dipping their toes in eGroceries for years. Now it’s time to jump in with both feet. Our automated, hyperlocal fulfillment centers enable grocers to do so with minimal operational costs.”

The company is encouraging grocers in urban and suburban regions to consider their Micro Fulfillment Centers once launched. These Micro Fulfillment Centers can be made out of existing space and extend market reach through a hub-and-spoke model.

“Takeoff is a win-win for grocers and consumers across the board,” said Max Pedro, co-founder and president of Takeoff. “Our eGrocery automation is a turn-key solution that uses robotics to unlock ultimate convenience for shoppers without need of charging fees or a price premium.”

About Takeoff:

Takeoff is an eGrocery solution that empowers retailers to attain profitable online growth by leveraging automation at a hyper-local scale. Orders are placed online through established retailers (whether using their existing eCommerce platform or Takeoff’s customized UI solution) and Takeoff’s automated technology fulfills the order using robots in Micro Fulfilment Centers.

The company’s robotics technology is proven and ready to deploy thanks to Takeoff’s exclusivity agreement with Knapp, a leading global provider of automated warehouse solutions. By leveraging automated Micro Fulfillment Centers, Takeoff’s innovative model operates at a much lower cost-to-serve than other eCommerce platforms, solving for both the cost of assembling the order and cost of the last mile. This results in savings for both shoppers and retail partners. For more information visit www.takeoff.com.

Logistics Strategies Imperative for Global Growth

Global Economics Prospects predicts a two-year plateau in overall global growth starting this year. That doesn’t mean development opportunities are not still very much alive and can be leveraged through a realistic, holistically charged strategy. E-commerce alone is shifting big businesses and their customer relationships, increasing product demand and reaching consumers beyond company regions. Alibaba Group announced its initiatives with the government of Rwanda in November and claimed they will utilize the digital economy to support exporters and local producers and their relationship with Chinese consumers.

Global agreements spur economic development and e-commerce success.

“We have already seen tremendous attention from Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in high-quality Rwandan products such as our top-tier single estate coffee, and we are confident that local products and travel experiences will continue to receive interest and support from the more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms,” states RDB Chief Executive Officer Clare Akamanzi.

“Alibaba’s travel services platform, Fliggy, and the RDB will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion where Chinese consumers can learn about visiting the country.”

With Amazon-standard expectations, it’s imperative that during the development and planning periods companies incorporate logistics solutions that tie together all modes of the supply chain, eliminating the possibility of leaving out a vital piece to the supply-chain puzzle.

Report Highlights Top States for Importing & Exporting

America will always be a financial powerhouse, but how much of their financial strength is due to being one of the top exporting countries of the world? What is the U.S. exporting? And which states are the big spenders and which are big trying to make the money?

PlayUSA launched a study to find out the answer to those questions. Using data from the U.S. Census and elsewhere, the legal online gambling company named the following “The Biggest Exporters: Money Tycoons of The U.S.”

Texas: Out of all 50 states, the Lone Star State brings in the most legal tender, making $99 million in total or 18 percent of the U.S export profit. Their top export is petroleum ($42 million).

California: Although the Golden State is one of the biggest importers, they are also one of the top money makers, with $59 million from exports. (That’s 11 percent of the U.S export profit.) Their top exported category is aircraft parts.

New York: The Empire State may not be the biggest, but it doesn’t stop it from being one of the largest exporters, making $27 million in 2017. Of this, 12 percent was made from exporting Earth minerals like diamonds and coal.

PlayUSA also found that more states spent more money on importing motor vehicle parts and crude oil as opposed to such consumable products as meat and fish, which can be sourced within or close to the United States.

Scan the graphic-heavy report at www.playusa.com

 

Strategies for Success in an Unpredictable Trade Environment

In terms of global trade, industry players tend to default to expressing concerns over the unpredictable trade tariffs under the Donald Trump administration. It goes without saying 2018 saw its ups and downs, sparking controversial Twitter wars and leaving business operations between a rock and a hard place, particularly in regards to China’s involvement and what the future holds. Global trade has to keep moving, but the question of how to proceed in an evergreen market continues to be the intricate question. What many don’t realize is the longevity of the issues with China, affirming the issues are not going to be solved with an all-in-one solution.

“Obviously, the U.S. has some concerns about Chinese policy and practice. The world has to deal with that and the U.S. in particular has decided – and not just in the Trump administration, it goes back to Obama administration – that we have to be more aggressive in responding to and even in deterring some of the practices in China that are affecting the rest of the world and affecting the U.S.,” explains Hughes Hubbard’s International Trade partner Dean A. Pinkert. “It’s a long-term trend and I think that the problems aren’t going to be solved overnight.”

Pinkert’s perspective thus highlights the importance of staying the course regardless of the uncertainty, through strategic approaches and utilizing the tools at hand. A successful business won’t allow the current issues in global trade to distract from their vision. Instead, smart companies will use them to their advantage and leverage the opportunity to prevent potential issues through a holistic evaluation of current operations and compliance within the supply chain. Management strategies and technology integration solutions, such as the use of blockchain technology, are recommended by Pinkert to help successfully navigate supply chain management while avoiding issues in compliance and visibility.

“I encourage people to look at blockchain as a possible way of increasing their ability to manage the supply chain and to have the knowledge and information about the various links within the supply chain. Blockchain is a tool they can use to get more control over the supply chain, it doesn’t solve all the problems, but it certainly has a very positive impact on the flow of information and that could be useful to companies trying to figure out, for example, whether there’s a vulnerability to government action,” Pinkert comments.

Additionally, industry players need to understand that government controls with imports are not the only area needing attention, but export controls hold equal importance. Without a thorough understanding of what governments are looking for, supply chain management can become easily complex and create more issues than solutions.

“When governments are looking at controlling the activities along the supply chain, it’s important for companies to know exactly what they’re dealing with – and that’s what blockchain can do,” Pinkert said. “Look into blockchain as a source of information flow and see whether it can be used to increase flexibility for dealing with a rapidly evolving policy environment. And the policy environment we are talking about is not just import controls, it’s also export controls. There are lots of things going on in the supply chain, and if companies know what they’re dealing with and take action to increase their flexibility, depending on circumstances within the industry, it can be very positive for them.”

The implications are far-reaching. When implementing new strategies, companies should focus on the fine details as well as the big picture, considering each product’s needs, and the best way to maximize positive impacts on the supply chain.  Additionally, the theme of flexibility cannot be stressed enough. In an ever-changing industry, all parties involved with global trade – from manufacturers and shippers, to logistics companies and ocean ports – need to consider flexibility as a key factor that may make the difference between progression and stagnation. Consider regional opportunities as well and don’t restrict suppliers to a specific region just because it’s worked in the past. And if your company does decide to outsource to a new supplier, take plenty of time to consider how the switch will impact operations and customers on a short-term and long-term scale.

“When it comes to supply chain management, it’s going to vary from product to product. In some cases, there will be an ability to source more from U.S. suppliers, and in some cases there will be an ability to source from alternative foreign suppliers,” Pinkert said. “In many industries you can’t make a quick switch to the extent that the trade policy is moving more quickly than the ability to switch suppliers, which makes it very difficult for companies to manage their supply chains. We don’t know from week to week or month to month what’s going to happen, particularly when we talk about this China issue. For companies that are trying to make decisions based on how policy is going to evolve, I think my best advice is to try to maximize their flexibility.”

As Pinkert emphasizes, solutions vary from industry to industry. What works for one company isn’t guaranteed to work for another. Consequently, instead of looking for a fixed algorithm, identify how your company can improve visibility while increasing operational flexibility, and the rest will follow. The reality is, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. Unpredictable changes with global trade tariffs are inevitable. Consider the fact that competitors are in the same position and analyze how you can leverage your company strategies to gain competitive advantage. Beyond strategic solutions, companies should consider integrating predictive planning into the mix as well as vetting opportunities with partners that can add value to operations and customer relations. Stay focused on both the customer and the changing policy environment. In doing so, companies protect valuable relationships and maintain a reliable, positive reputation.

Pinkert concludes:

“Is there a possibility or probability that there is going to be a reduction of some of the tensions? I think so. The process of actually getting China to look into intellectual property issues differently and look at the role of the state in the economy differently, that is a long process and it’s not going to be resolved this or next week.”

Dean A. Pinkert is a partner in Hughes Hubbard’s International Trade practice. He is a former Commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission. Dean was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2007, and was designated Vice Chairman by President Obama in 2014. Before his appointment, Dean was a senior attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel for Import Administration at the Commerce Department.

How Global Shippers Optimize Deep-water Strategies

Deep-water ports continue to make leaps and bounds within the trade sector, increasing overall twenty-foot equivalent units while breaking new ground and records, as seen this year with the Georgia Ports Authority’s recent confirmation of an impressive 4.36 million TEUs for 2018 and projecting a continuation of success for 2019. The port recorded 8 percent growth compared to the 2017 numbers.

Executive Director Griff Lynch cites the combination of cargo expansion and increased U.S. demand with shifting the global logistics arena toward the deep-water terminals in Savannah. The port implemented a strategy focusing on trade in December that was projected to set them up for continued success.

The Connecticut Port Authority claims that efforts toward integrating solutions that fit individual maritime needs are the driving factors behind its growth and successes.

In a detailed report highlighting deep-water port trends, the environment was the first on the list of increased industry concern and priority, which can prove problematic for trucking companies and beneficial for global shippers that anticipate regulation changes before industry competitors do. In 2020, the IMO fuel sulfur regulation will officially change how emissions are handled, ultimately restricting options for those who want to maintain uninterrupted operations. With this regulation change, there will be a 0.5 percent global sulfur limit on fuel emissions.

Proactivity is the driving force behind the success and stability of shippers looking for solutions for sustainability. Seatrade Maritime News presents three options that shippers should take into consideration sooner rather than later: install exhaust gas cleaning systems; purchase fuels within compliance (which are at a higher cost); or run ships on liquid natural gas. Whatever the choice might be, the demand for each of these tangible solutions is bound to increase drastically and change the pace for the global refineries.

“Global refiners will be put under enormous strain by the shifting product slate,” explains the International Energy Agency. “If refiners ran at similar utilization rates to today, they would be unlikely to be able to produce the required volumes of gas oil. If they increased throughputs to produce the required gas oil volumes, margins would be adversely affected by the law of diminishing returns. In order to increase gas oil output, less valuable products at the top and bottom of the barrel would be produced in tandem, which would likely see cracks for these products weaken and weigh margins down.”

Beyond proactivity and preparation, global deep-water ports focus on redefining infrastructure while evaluating opportunities for significant increases in cargo intake. But what about the ports that aren’t seeing the results they want? Let’s take a look at the European ports and the challenges and proposed solutions featured in an article from Port Strategy. Of all the solutions presented and discussed, the first was the need for infrastructure evaluation.

“The challenge ports everywhere face now,” details a report shared by the ESPO, “is to implement projects which often are financially unattractive to the port authority and even less attractive to external investors, but which are essential for wider societal and economic reasons. Some ports are financially strong enough to finance such projects and accept the low financial returns. Other ports are challenged to implement projects which are essential but are entirely beyond their means.”

Another challenge is the demand for increased cargo but a limit in capacity, as many ports claim they are close to reaching max capacity but can’t provide an opportunity for competitors to swoop up that for which they can’t make room. Gauging these issues requires a carefully thought out and strategic approach to ensure shippers evaluate the next steps for 2019.

In the theme of modernization, Port of Oakland shared insight into its 2018-2022 strategic plan, which is inclusive of growing net revenue, modernizing and maintaining infrastructure, care for the environment and improving customer service. The use of technology to streamline operations was one of the highlighted objectives and strategies (impacting almost every area of the business) that the report emphasized on. In the age of information technology, automation and technology solutions, this goal would provide more than just a seamless flow of information, but it would supply owners, customers and employees improved efficiencies and reduced room for error. There seems to be a trend among these ports.

“Each of our businesses has specific modernization and maintenance objectives to meet, notably development of long-term asset management plans,” states the Port of Oakland report. “Moreover, those objectives require careful attention to environmental, social responsibility and human resources issues.”

The key to implementing strong logistics solutions can be found in an all-in-one approach that is inclusive of your company goals and vision, the well being and safety of your employees, customer satisfaction, competitive advantage as well as cost-effectiveness and proactivity. The common denominator is found in digitization through advanced technology solutions, fully integrated within the service platforms, touching on all bases of the operations and supply chain.

For 2019, more of these solutions will become the wining differentiator with competitors, and the demand for digital integration will continue to rise. Take advantage of the opportunities to research and learn the primary areas of improvement, addressing those first. The primary issues will ultimately impact the remaining areas of your business–start at the root and go from there. Implement proactive measures to ensure your company is well prepared for changes in regulations, considering long-term solutions over short term. Consider analyzing what competitors are doing; this is just as important as knowing what they are not doing to stay ahead in the markets.

Vincent Campfens, author of IBM’s THINK blog, put success initiatives into perspective: “Being a smart port is much more than merely introducing awesome new technology into a port to make it safer, more efficient and more sustainable. It is also about looking further ahead in time, making strategic choices to ensure that the port still exists in the future, whilst responding to changes in climate, politics, technology, industries and cargo flows. One of our recent strategic choices is a targeted commitment to digital innovation.”

How Union Pacific Improves Rail Connections

Rail connections that provide transport alternatives will ultimately be the first choice for customers seeking reliable options as well as opportunity. Customers value flexibility and more importantly, trust. The more integrated, the better.

Take the Union Pacific Railroad’s Tacoma South Intermodal Terminal, for example. It covers more than 40 acres of land, is equipped to handle 150,000 annual lifts, and has a location next to western Washington’s warehousing, transloading and distribution centers, and local highways.
The TacSim service runs between the Pacific Northwest and the major markets of Chicago, the Midwest and the eastern United States, creating a major competitive advantage in the region. The location and commodities provided create more opportunities for innovative efficiencies and options.
Prior to the October 2018 launch of Union Pacific Railroad’s Unified Plan 2020, customer needs were identified as a major contributor to the implementation of Precision Scheduled Railroading principles. At the time, expectations were simply not being met and the 2020 Plan was the solution to resolve the lack of customer satisfaction and get back to a place where customer needs were more than just met.

Union Pacific announced a shift in leadership early this year to provide additional leadership and expertise for Unified Plan 2020. Jim Vena, the former executive vice president and chief operating officer for Canadian National, stepped into the position of chief operating officer as of Jan. 14.
“Unified Plan 2020 combines precision scheduled railroading principles with our own UP Way tools and best practices,” says Union Pacific’s CEO Lance Fritz. “We have been making excellent strides rolling out Unified Plan 2020, and Jim’s vast knowledge of the precision scheduled railroading model brings significant experience and expertise that will enhance the work already underway.”

From leadership to automation, on-dock rail connections continue to make strides in competitive regions by raising the bar for customers and creating a fresh approach through higher standards. Customer demands will only continue to rise and challenge the industry to not only meet but exceed expectations, and it’s ultimately up to the experts and leaders to ensure operations from the ground up are set up for success.