mor e trans parent and efficient.

Building out intermodal

infrastructure is another obvious way to meet the growing demand for these transportation services. Distribution centers are being collocated at ports and with inland intermodal facilities to facilitate the integration of the intermodal option into supply chains. Seaports see the availability of intermodal infrastructure— and particularly on-dock rail—as an increasingly important aspect of their competitiveness as it promotes the


supply chains that shippers quest for with the expeditious transfer of containers from vessels to intermodal trains and removal from the port. “Recent demand trends

for intermodal have been strong,” says Tom G. Williams, group vice president for consumer products at the BNSF Railway Company. “Consumer demand -- led by

demand rises, driver shortages and


regulations on the trucking industry will disrupt supply chains. Intermodal is seen by many as a very effective supply chain solution in this environment. “Improved processes and

technological innovations go a long way toward improving efficiency,” notes Williams. One of the enhancements he sees that can be gained from technological advancements is increased transparency between carriers when it comes to tracking shipments. BNSF is working to leverage big data to improve ETA accuracy.

Technology investments

Technology investments have also been important to the Canadian Pacific Railway’s enhancement of its intermodal product. Improved gate and terminal fluidity have come about thanks to the introduction of a FastPass auto gate system.

“We believe [our] portal will provide end-to-end visibility and put

different supply-chain partners in a position to optimize operations and enable more efficient rail moves.” -- Noel Hacegaba, POLB

“The new auto gates are

supported by our FastPass app that truckers download onto their smartphone and use to access the terminal,” says Jordan Kajfasz, managing director for intermodal and auto sales and marketing at the Canadian Pacific Railway. “It’s leveraging the technology that’s available today and gives us the ability to scale it up as technology advances.” CP also recently upgraded

growth in e-commerce and combined with tight capacity for truckload transportation, have led to strong growth in the domestic segment of our intermodal network.” BNSF moved 5.4 million

intermodal units in 2017. As the

population continues to grow and

assets supporting its temperature controlled business, with the purchase of new generators to support the movement of ocean reefers on its network. “These are equipped with the latest telematics that allow us to remotely monitor the health of the generator and whether the containers connected to it are running,” says Kajfasz. “We then support the product with processes that ensure cold chain integrity from start to finish.” BNSF has also made gate

Issue 6 2018 - FBJNA


innovations, completing the installation of Automated Gate Systems (AGS) at three additional


facilities last year. That has meant that over 85% of the intermodal freight moved by the railway passes through an automated gate. “When used in conjunction

The Port of Long Beach plans to invest $1 billion to build out additional rail and storage capacities. (POLB photo)

with the mobile app, drivers can pass through the AGS in as little as 30 seconds,” says Williams. “That makes it easier and faster for them to move freight in and out of

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