An interview with Jim Filter, SVP Intermodal Services, Schneider Logistics

AJOT: What are your key priorities with respect to Schneider’s intermodal services?

JIM FILTER: It’s now obvious that the continuing driver shortage and implementation of ELD is not a phenomenon, but the new normal in the industry – we will be living with a tight labor market and high demand for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, we are focusing our efforts on creating a better and more efficient experience for the drivers, which results in greater efficiencies that Schneider can bring to its customers. There are 3 key areas of focus that all impact each other:

  • How the drivers are being treated: not just by our customers, but at the locations where loads are being picked up and delivered, whether at port terminals, railheads, or warehouses. We have implemented a “Yelp-Like” app that tracks and reports on driver experiences whether positive or negative, so that Schneider can take action as needed to prioritize and if necessary, discontinue pickup and delivery locations that cause problems or delays and therefore increase cost.
  • Driver quality of life: By continuous improvement of terminal operations and the pickup/drop off experience, we increase the ability of our intermodal drivers to get home to their families at the end of the day, and therefore to be in a position to return refreshed on the following day. Technology is also a factor in enhancing the driver experience- we are moving more tablets into the tractor cabs, and the drivers, especially the younger ones appreciate this enhanced technology
  • Pay and Benefits: By ensuring that our drivers can work efficiently, we are better able to provide a competitive pay and benefits package so as to attract and retain good drivers in a tight market.

AJOT: Can you shed more perspective on Schneider’s recent decision to expand your chassis fleet by 15,000 units?

JIM FILTER: This is a natural progression; as we add container volume to our network, we make concurrent chassis investments to ensure operating efficiencies, which also ties back to our strategy of improving both the customer and driver experience. A sufficient number of better and new chassis mean less down driver down time and enhanced customer service. Starting in 2013 Schneider made its first chassis investments as a pilot project- our experience was successful and it is now part of our business model as our intermodal volumes have grown network-wide.

AJOT: How has Schneider’s cross-border business to Mexico and Canada been developing?

JIM FILTER: Very strong- I was based in Mexico for 2 years as CEO of Schneider Mexico, and oversaw the rapid development of Schneider’s truckload, intermodal and logistics businesses. Similarly, the Canadian cross-border market is developing well. Some Canadian truckers have pulled back a bit from cross border business due to the slower implementation of ELD in Canada, but this situation is expected to equalize as ELD is phased into the Canadian market over the next two years.

Brendan Dugan

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