October 7, 2023

Now is the time to add rail to your supply chain

Shippers faced some of the most difficult market conditions in history during and immediately following the coronavirus pandemic. Trucking capacity was tighter than ever, and rates skyrocketed as a result. At the same time, legislator and consumer demands surrounding sustainability hit an all-time high.

Those difficult conditions prompted shippers to look toward rail as an alternative to trucking. While rail was not entirely spared from pandemic-fueled volatility, the mode was able to recover more quickly than the trucking industry.

Rail providers used this time to increase and fine-tune their offerings, making rail an accessible option for worn-out shippers. For CSX, these efforts included expanding solutions that make it easier for companies that are not situated alongside a rail line to utilize a combination of long-haul rail and first-mile, last-mile trucking options.

“We accelerated our efforts to create innovative supply chain solutions and to expand our transloading, intermodal and warehousing services,” said Arthur Adams, CSX senior vice president of sales and marketing. “These efforts provided shippers with more opportunities to take advantage of the economies of rail, combined with first-mile, last-mile truck service.”

The market has since turned and trucking capacity is currently plentiful. The benefits of rail, however, continue to attract shippers regardless of trucking conditions. In addition to financial benefits, rail offers shippers a simple, well-established way to ramp up their focus on sustainability and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“By achieving the strongest service performance in our history and offering customers a much more sustainable alternative to trucking, CSX is presenting a powerful case for increasing the role of rail as a long-term solution to the nation’s supply chain challenges and growing desire to effectively address climate change,” Adams said.

In general, rail is about four times more fuel efficient than long-haul trucking, according to the Association of American Railroads. CSX, specifically, is committed to driving the number even higher by incorporating fuel-efficiency systems and introducing alternative fuel, hydrogen-cell and battery-powered locomotives. 

This dedication to sustainability — coupled with the high service levels CSX has long been known for — continues to provide an attractive option for shippers, even as trucking rates bottom out.

“We believe that by delivering reliable rail service performance, by helping customers meet their sustainability goals and by introducing innovative new service products, we will begin to see significant truck-to-rail conversion in the years ahead,” Adams said. “For customers seeking the competitive advantages of a more efficient supply chain, now is the time to look more closely at the reliability, safety and sustainability of rail.”

CSX has been serving customers for more than 40 years. It has proven itself to be a long-term solution for shippers making the journey to rail –– or back to rail –– in light of shifting supply chain priorities. 

Not only does CSX boast ample network capacity to handle customers’ truck-to-rail conversions, the company is also dedicated to helping its customers create more streamlined, cost-efficient supply chains. 

“We are providing customers with greater network transparency and improved shipment tracking, and we are continually upgrading our ShipCSX online portal with a wide range of tools for conducting business with us more efficiently and managing supply chains more effectively,” Adams explained. 

In that same vein, CSX has even built a searchable database of certified, rail-served development properties –– called CSX Select Site –– to assist expanding companies with efficient access to rail.

“CSX is more optimistic than ever about the future of rail,” according to Adams. “In addition to existing advantages and market factors that favor rail growth, we are continually implementing advanced technologies that enhance safety, reliability, sustainability and customer service.” 

Click here to learn more about CSX.

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