In first quarter 2009, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) achieved a 12-hour reduction in average transit time for domestic and international intermodal traffic over first quarter 2008. BNSF also improved shipment availability in some lanes by as much as 20 hours. By working with our intermodal partners and leveraging available capacity, BNSF is also achieving as much as 99% in door-to-door, on-time deliveries.
“Intermodal performance improvements are a direct result of capital investments and productivity enhancements made over the last several years,” said Steve Branscum, group vice president, BNSF Consumer Products. “BNSF is the largest intermodal carrier in North America for the very reason that we invest time and capital in our people, our system and our future.”
Over the last 10 years, BNSF has spent approximately $30 billion to improve its infrastructure and expand its locomotive fleet. At the end of 2007, BNSF operated on about 32,000 miles of track. Of this amount, almost 5,000 miles is double tracked, including most of the Southern Transcon. Better rail with better engines played a large role in improving efficiency.
“We’ve seen first hand the benefit of BNSF’s investments on intermodal transport,” says Steve Palmer, vice president, Transportation, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. “Transit times have significantly improved, but even more important to us, we have seen less variance and more consistency in transit times over the last three years. In turn, that’s allowed us to better serve our DC, stores and our customers with fast and reliable service.”
To ensure future performance, BNSF is investing in the latest cutting-edge transportation technologies. Advanced automated gate systems were recently installed at BNSF intermodal facilities in Chicago, Ill.; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; San Bernardino, Calif.; and Memphis, Tenn. These new entry gates employ recorded remote inspection of trucks and biometric identification of drivers through the collection of fingerprints and other information. The new gates allow for a much faster turnaround and eliminate a significant portion of exhaust from idling diesel engines.
“BNSF’s investments in improving service has been unmatched in the industry,” said Zach England, director, Intermodal, CR England. “We’ve been able to add more volume into our product mix because of the speed and precision at which intermodal units are moving along BNSF’s state-of-the-art facilities.”