Rail official calls for linkups between carriers
Different carrier sectors have to work together to overcome infrastructure deficiencies that won’t be rectified anytime soon, a BNSF Railway representative told attendees Monday at the western regional conference of the American Association of Exporters and Importers in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
“Until we can build our infrastructure up, we’ve got to have cooperative strategies,” said Rickey Wilson, director of port development for BNSF.
He stressed building communication between railroads and ocean carriers, ports and shippers to better anticipate shipments and adjust equipment usage accordingly.
“We’re working with Wal-Mart and Target,” he said. “And you’re seeing cooperation between rail and other carriers. You have railroaders visiting steamship lines to learn about container storage.”
Wilson said railroads have spent unprecedented levels of money to upgrade its own infrastructure, including double tracking, massive switching yards and rail yards. He also said trains should be longer to better utilize shrinking rail capacity.
“It doesn’t take any more line capacity to run longer trains,” he said. “It may take another locomotive, but not capacity.”
BNSF is close to completing a West Coast ports strategy that Wilson said will let the railway more effectively build rail projects to improve efficiency out of overburdened rail lines. BNSF officials have met with representatives of the five major ports throughout the last year. He said there are roughly 20 rail projects needed in and around the Southern California ports alone.