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INDUSTRY FOCUSRAILFREIGHT


Improving communications keep


rail on track


Recognising that communication and co-operation are the keys to efficient movement of heavy or over-dimensional cargo, North America’s rail industry is reaching out to a wider group of stakeholders, reports Yvonne Mulder.


receivers, ports and railroads convene to implement and effect common solutions for problems in transportation and related problems through a cooperative effort”. Dan Labyak, president of RICA and


T


director fleet operations – military/clearance for CSX Transportation, explained: “We have expanded to include the shippers and ports and other players. If we have everyone singing from the same song sheet, it will improve efficiencies. RICA is both the conduit and glue between all the players.” He admits that for the railways, heavy lift


cargo makes up less than 1 percent of their total revenue, and “moving heavy lift across the network disrupts the cycle, so you could argue that it would be easier not to do it”. However, the pieces that are moved –


turbines and transformers – are essential for a wider range of rail customers.


www.heavyliftpfi.com


he Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA) has opened its membership beyond rail companies, with part of its mission now being “to have shippers,


“We recognise that the components we


are moving affect massive sectors of our business model. A lot of other industries producing regular, long-term car loads on rail – such as coal power generation – would not happen without the movement of the heavy lift components,” he explained.


Removing silos RICA aims to make the journey as smooth as possible. “It used to be very siloed between shippers, railroads, ports and others in the process, so we are opening RICA up to bring them into the discussion.” He said that ports do not want cargo


dwelling and shippers certainly do not, so it works better if everyone understands the operating rules throughout the journey. “For instance, you can deliver to a port on a Monday, but cannot get on the rail until the weekend because of commuter traffic. Would it make more sense to arrive at the port on a Friday? That might make shipping more expensive. “But then at least the customer has all the


information and can make an informed business decision and can plan for costs and delays,” said Labyak. “It is all about transparency.” RICA is also keen to work with the wider


community. “We are looking at bringing agenda items to various government agencies – local, state and federal. “We want to understand what they need,


for them to understand what we need, and find the least disruptive solution. We need to help them see the larger picture – that the lights will go out if they do not have power


We have expanded to include the shippers and ports and other players. If we have everyone singing from the same song sheet, it will improve efficiencies. – Dan Labyak, RICA


May/June 2019 65


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