QB 52.32 wrote:Reviewing past suggestions of PAR traffic opportunities neglected we have had light-loading paper, fiber for either domestic consumption or export, french fries, potatos, eastern Canada/US intermodal, bottled or bulk water, crude oil, particular propane moves beyond what is already being pursued, and international container traffic via a Maine port. None possible, practical or without challenges given rail's competitive (dis)advantages, PAR's position or leverage within the rail network, truck or rail competition, limited size, low financial contribution, existing industry or individual company logistics, or limited market opportunities and large capital investment requirements joined hand-in-hand. The notion that PAR is neglecting opportunities and failing to diversify is overly critical of PAR and overly optimistic about PAR traffic opportunities. The notion that they failed to make capital infrastructure investments that would have had to be justified over 25/30 years, especially now evidenced by what is going on with their paper market, is also overly critical, though the past lack of attracting public investment for certain needs, common practice amongst New England's regional and shortline railroads, might be debated.
So to your point, why is it that railroads even exist at all is they are at a disadvantage competitively? Or that intermodal keeps growing even though truckload is at a huge advantage right now?
My point is specifically about Maine, as I wrote because that's what's being discussed, not in general for North America. Though certainly paying attention to the industry surely tells you that even in the best of places for railroads, which Maine is not one of, there are challenges. Railroads exist overwhelmingly for the for-profit movement of freight with the attributes of higher cubic density/moving longer distances/in large volumes in some combination at this particular point in time, driven by economics and with network characteristics affecting each particular individual carrier: this is the prism through which I judge Pan Am's opportunities and challenges.