• Hey freight trains dont make money either...

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  • 103 posts
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  by HoggerKen
 
FormD wrote:No but publicy owned tracks means that if someone wants to push it in the courts could be open access has the goverment can not limited a public highway to one carrier. Can the NJ turnpike say only JB hunt can run on its road.

Huge difference. As was said before me, once a contract is written for an operator, one is required to re-negotiate it, and then apply to the STB. Look at the mess East Peoria had with evicting one operator for another in a adverse discontinuance case. That took almost two years, and a lot of money. And the customer had the final say in all of it, as it should be.

Open access, like it or not, is not guaranteed to do a darned thing other than complicate an already difficult situation. While we are not privy to rates actually charged in trackage rights now a days, it has been said the host carrier is not making enough to re-invest in the line. Especially a lightly trafficked line. In time, such lines, which many utilities are located on, will sink into the mud without that needed re-investment. Utility doesn't care, they want 1980's level rates and perfect service.
  by QB 52.32
 
HoggerKen wrote:Why would a railroad look for domestic biz in a box owned by a steamship line. Those guys are constantly looking for backhauls. And they are not leashed by a single carrier or terminal, i.e. flexibility. The ratio of company boxes to Steamship are probably 1:10 in the grand schemes of things. (I don't limit my view to NE U.S. either, but nationwide carriage as well as Canada.)
Not sure if I understand, HoggerKen, but what has been mentioned has to do with 2 types of intermodal traffic moving in two different kinds of containers....international and domestic. Domestic U.S. and Canadian dry freight truckload business has, to a large degree, been shifted from trailers to domestic doublestack containers. And, this is a growth area for the railroads with a good amount of the containers, similar to international, owned by non-rail companies like truckload carriers or traditional intermodal agents. Some domestic freight also moves as backhaul in international containers to get the international container back towards the port(s) of entry. In both cases, even though the equipment is owned privately by someone else, the railroad benefits when those containers are filled with backhaul loads (vs. empty) and they will try to encourage backhauls in the private equipment via rates and/or contractual agreements.
  by HoggerKen
 
QB 52.32 wrote: Not sure if I understand, HoggerKen, but what has been mentioned has to do with 2 types of intermodal traffic moving in two different kinds of containers....international and domestic. Domestic U.S. and Canadian dry freight truckload business has, to a large degree, been shifted from trailers to domestic doublestack containers. And, this is a growth area for the railroads with a good amount of the containers, similar to international, owned by non-rail companies like truckload carriers or traditional intermodal agents. Some domestic freight also moves as backhaul in international containers to get the international container back towards the port(s) of entry. In both cases, even though the equipment is owned privately by someone else, the railroad benefits when those containers are filled with backhaul loads (vs. empty) and they will try to encourage backhauls in the private equipment via rates and/or contractual agreements.

Everyone wants a backhaul to be sure. The Steamship lines I consider differnt than the RR's domestic boxes. Actually, EMP were used internationally, the old UPZ tanktainers were also international. Most such as the STAX were almost purely domestic. As I was told by a salesman for a Steamship, any load in the U.S. was fair game, even if it meant competing with UP or CSX and their boxes. And the Steamships and shipping groups have quite the marketing advantage over the RR's.
  by QB 52.32
 
That's true, the steamship lines have a big advantage for one really important reason in the Midwest to West Coast lanes (and Midwest to East Coast, too, for the same reason). The market for domestic dry freight is headhaul westbound so that a railroad or private domestic piece of equipment cost in that lane has to include re-positioning/backhauling eastbound, while the international box is moving backhaul. However, for the actual equipment, aren't most of the international boxes comprised of 48' containers, with a mix of low and high-cubes, while domestic containers at this point pretty much have shifted to 53' high-cubes? While I would think the backhaul rates for steamship lines still keep them more-competitive, I would imagine they've lost some competitiveness for the light-density traffic that cubes-out.

Interesting...never would have imagined that EMP containers would have moved internationally given that they're not built to ISO container design standards. I think that those UP tank containers, while designed for international movement, were used only domestically offering a type of equipment that could carve out a domestic niche (otherwise, domestic over-the-road tank trailers can't be lifted with mechanized cranes or packers and have to be, disruptively, handled uniquely as circus-style within today's world of large, high-productivity intermodal terminals).
  by Cowford
 
QB is correct. EMPUs are non-ISO domestic-only boxes, as are the UP's ISO-tanks. A lot of what the steamship companies are after is export movements. (Contrary to those that moan about the loss of manufacturing, we still export a lot of stuff.) TO QB's point, there is a cube/weight disadvantage when using ISO boxes (which are primarily 20s and 40s). An example of this: a substantial amount of import traffic moving over LA actually gets transload into domestic boxes. Part of this reason is to take advantage of the larger capacity of the 53' box.
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  by QB 52.32
 
Interesting, Cowford. Just to follow-up with that LA transloading from international boxes to the hgher-cube domestic boxes, would be that those domestic boxes, besides the higher cube, are also moving backhaul within the domestic flow. Kind of the "mirror-image" of the scenario I described with the backhaul international equipment providing advantage in the headhaul domestic lane.

Is this a (primary) reason that MLB traffic to the east coast has been dropping off (above/beyond and before the recession's drop in imports) with the traffic moving though via a different LOB? I had also wondered if, logistically, for the imported retail merchandise traffic, if distribution had shifted back into the Midwest with the international flow into IL, IN, and OH to then be converted into a domestic distribution movement (via highway or intermodal) beyond into the population centers of the east.
  by Cowford
 
QB, the migration from MLB to East/Gulf Coast port calls has a bunch of causes: inland freight rates/change in comparative ship economics (like trucks, many are running for gas money right now), changes of ship rotations to a Suez route, avoidance of the port of LA-LB, larger TEU-cap'y vessels, development of eastern intermodal corridors. The big question:how long/to what extent will the migration continue? Pretty hard to predict, as these factors are always in flux...
  by QB 52.32
 
Thanks, Cowford. Makes good sense that sailing and port logistics changes (etc.) would be driving down west coast port MLB to east coast consumer markets even without the recession, as opposed to west coast transloading since the domestic box would move beyond the Midwest backhaul lane and into an East Coast headhaul lane (blowing the economic advantage away).
  by Cowford
 
So what you're saying is what drives the decision MLB vs all-water vs WC transloading to East Coast vs. Midwest. Hmmm. I'd say that's pretty accurate.
  by QB 52.32
 
Mini Land Bridge.

Originally defined Asian-U.S. international containerized traffic moving via a west coast port and rail to the east coast instead of an all-water route (via the Panama Canal). "Mini" comes from the variation of the original "land bridge" concept of an Asian-European shipment travelling via water to a west coast U.S. port, rail to an east coast U.S. port, then water (again) to Europe, again, instead of an all-water route.

Since the 1990's as Asian production has shifted westwardly and geo-politics have brought stability to the Suez Canal, steamship line transportation from Asia to N America has converted some of the Asian containerized trade from west coast ports to a Suez Canal-east/Gulf coast port routing. I am not sure if "reverse" MLB now occurs (I suspect there must be some) with traffic coming via east/gulf U.S. ports then moving via rail to west coast population (consumption) metropolitan areas instead of via an all-water routing.
  by Trainman101
 
How much does it cost to ship a freight car (approx)? Lets say a car comes from florida via csx the whole way to Somewere in New york and its interchanged with a short line and the shortline travels a short 5 miles to deliver the car, how much moeny if any moeny can a shortline make out of that?

I'm completly guessing here but lets say it costs $2000 total to ship a car 2000 miles. csx takes it 1995 miles and the short line takes it 5 miles, does csx get $1995.00 and the shortline gets only 5.00? How the heck can you make moeny Mr. shortline? Anyone have any real numbers out there that they could share?
  by QB 52.32
 
That's a complicated question with lots of variables that would affect the answer. It depends upon the commodity, the origin/destination, competition and logistics within the marketplace, the ownership and type of equipment being used, etc. etc. As far as the shortline's cut of revenue, that is dependant upon the contractual relationship with its rail partner(s). Depending upon the agreement/relationship, the simple answer is that the shortline can receive a fixed amount of revenue to/from each of its origin/destinations (stations) no matter the business, or, they can receive a negotiated portion of the overall revenue for each unique business. In a nutshell, as has always been the case for those rail carriers performing the short-haul "terminal" work, their revenue is disproportianately higher for their mileage than the linehaul carrier, reflecting their costs (higher cost/mile) of providing that "terminal" work ie., switching, overhead business costs, equipment costs, etc.
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