Railroads continue to band together to offer intermodal services they say can compete head-on with trucking.Norfolk Southern
has teamed up with Union Pacific Railroad to provide service between Los Angeles and Atlanta, and with the Canadian Pacific Railway for service between the Port of New York/New Jersey and Eastern Canada. Both services will start Oct. 1.
The LA-to-Atlanta service, named Blue Streak, will have a guaranteed on-time delivery option and will start Oct. 1. It will offer customers a choice of three service levels: Standard, Premium and guaranteed SuperFlyer.
The SuperFlyer service will offer "on-time or free" service for each load that does not meet the scheduled availability time for customer pick-up. SuperFlyer service features include guaranteed train space, designated equipment from the EMP program of 22,000 48-foot and 53-foot containers, preferred cut-off and availability times and active shipment monitoring, including customer updates.
Premium service offers priority train space, freight monitoring and improved cut-off and availability times.
Standard service allows price-sensitive customers access to Blue Streak trains, subject to space availability.
This seamless, double-stack container service will be handled by Union Pacific between Los Angeles and Memphis and by Norfolk Southern between Memphis and Atlanta.
"Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have teamed up to offer an unprecedented service commitment that is price-competitive with trucks," said Michael R. McClellan, Norfolk Southern vice president Intermodal Marketing. "We are confident in our ability to provide on-time delivery that will meet the expectations of over-the-road shippers."
The New York/New Jersey to Eastern Canada run slices one-third off the standard rail transit time. Rail transit time between the Port of New York/New Jersey and Eastern Canada is typically three days. But the new CPR-NS package uses the Port Authority's fast-throughput on-dock ExpressRail intermodal terminal with priority passage through rail terminals along the route.
"For the first time, import-export shippers will have an expedited rail service option that is competitive with truck transit times between the Port and Montreal and Toronto," said Lawre Allen, Vice-President of Intermodal and Automotive, CPR.
"This service blurs the line between train and truck," Allen said. "In fact, truckers have already been asking to use it. With second-morning arrival, they're interested in putting their container loads on our trains, saving the cost of fuel and drivers, and avoiding the risk of highway congestion and border delays that can delay deliveries and drive up their costs."