FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Less-than-carload service
DETAILS: A Class I railroad’s perspective: Alan Shaw, Norfolk Southern’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, discusses the current intermodal operational challenges and outlook amid the boom in U.S. imports, constrained ocean capacity and congestion at many points in the North American intermodal network.
SPEAKERS: Alan Shaw, Norfolk Southern’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and Mike Baudendistel, FreightWaves market expert in rail, intermodal and equipment
BIO: Shaw has held various positions during his 27 years at Norfolk Southern. He has served as vice president-intermodal operations (2013-2015), group vice president-chemicals (2009-2013), group vice president-coal transportation services (2008-2009) and director-coal transportation services (2002-2008), and held positions in the coal and finance departments (1994-2002). In Shaw’s current position, he has responsibility for marketing and sales, industrial development, shortline, real estate, and customer operations and service activities across the NS network, including international business activity.
KEY QUOTES FROM SHAW:
“The [intermodal] demand environment is incredibly strong, and it will remain there this year and well into 2022 as we move through this prolonged inventory replenishment cycle. The question for intermodal as a whole is, how do we apply capacity to the environment in which we’re operating?”
“I think what the [reopening of the Greencastle intermodal facility in Pennsylvania] does is show our mindset. We’re part of the supply chain ecosystem, and we’re working on everything we can do to improve the ecosystem and improve the capacity.”
“Intermodal has a role to play [in midsize cities] as well. Think about the folks moving into suburbs or further out. They might not have the retail alternatives that they’re used to in the larger cities. And so, you could see their buying patterns shift more towards e-commerce. As we’ve discussed, e-commerce is heavily intermodal-intensive, and so that creates more opportunities [for] our footprint of terminals. I think we are uniquely positioned to serve those markets, and Greencastle is a good example of that.”