PAS Intermodal Prospects

Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby CN9634 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:39 pm

The Ayer terminal is really a very obsolete terminal as compared to modern intermodal facilities across the map... in much need of an overhaul at the least much less an 'expansion'.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby johnpbarlow » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:24 am

I missed this NS intermodal shipping alert from 10 days ago, 10/23/16:

http://www.nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en/shipping-tools/shipping-news-and-alerts/ayer-ma-paving-projectdatescorrected.html

Looks like the Athol bridge and track work is wrapped up based on this excerpt?

As noted in our October 7, 2016 Customer Advisory, transit delays of up to 24 hours are expected to trains 22K (Chicago to Ayer) and 23K (Ayer/Albany to Chicago) through Friday, October 28th. These delays are due to congestion resulting from the Pan Am bridge and track work near Athol, MA that was completed earlier this month.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:11 am

Last week, NS posted this alert on their Shipping News and Alerts website:

http://www.nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en/shipping-tools/shipping-news-and-alerts/ayer-ma-emp-announcement.html

Net: drayers return empty 53' EMP containers to the Sanvel auto unload facility off Willow Rd to improve Hill Yard "terminal fluidity" (a clinical name has finally been given describing Pan Am's chronic challenges to moving freight!).
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby newpylong » Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:56 am

Lack of parking at GMX... their biggest problem.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby jaymac » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:02 am

johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:11 am

Last week, NS posted this alert on their Shipping News and Alerts website:
Net: drayers return empty 53' EMP containers to the Sanvel auto unload facility off Willow Rd to improve Hill Yard "terminal fluidity" (a clinical name has finally been given describing Pan Am's chronic challenges to moving freight!).

Not "acute" fluidity, not "chronic" fluidity, but "clinical" "terminal" fluidity? Is there a Heimlich Maneuver to relieve the Ayer choke-point? The inability to handle even a modicum of traffic up-tick would seem to mean that Fink 1.0 has won.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:45 pm

Not sure I'm following how this is a "Pan Am can't get it over the road" problem. Inbound loads are outweighing outbound loads, during a holiday crunch, and there was barely enough room to store unloaded trailers as it was.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:24 pm

You have too many containers and little to no outbound freight avaible to fill them.
Storing the Emptys at different lot is SOP untill PAR or NS can run a train of Emptys to the storage yard or send them to an area
that needs empty containers.
At this point in time,trailer/containers can pile up behind stores that are out of space for inbound Merch,
and used as temp storage untill unloaded by the store.
That's why most "Big Box" stores create trailer/container Farms during the Holidays,lack of storage space.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby CN9634 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:26 pm

You never store boxes unless you have to, you always reposition them (usually to Chicago, which is where most containers go to sit, be repaired, or scrapped) to reduce the dwell. The only time you ground a box (if you're storing it long-term, you usually ground it to free the chassis, which will have flat tires if it sits too long anyways) is during a downswing on freight. Look at the intermodal numbers from this year and you'll see things are a bit down across the board for domestic freight, but until you see containers on the ground they aren't being stored. More likely they are slowing the flow of MTs cycling back to the midwest. This sounds like an EMP specific problem too (which is NS owned), they might just be leveraging other RR assets to use as a trailer yard to ease capacity in the terminal.

The holiday freight was delivered in October, a little bit in early Nov. For the most part its already done with, but yes it does create a freight bubble.

There is plenty of outbound freight but not as much as inbound like you suggested. However, to say little to no outbound is far from reality (NS wouldn't run on train on just inbound loads, thats not how intermodal makes money, you gotta move about 50-60 loads over 600 miles each way to make money). Don't worry, with attractive spot rates they keep the train more than 50% loaded outbound... besides the EMP equipment is all leased or brokered freight, doesn't sound like the IMCs are participating in this scheme. You don't want to run a train of all empties for intermodal when you have plenty of outbound freight, just tack some onto the existing outbound service here and there, they'll trickle out eventually and you'll keep everything in the black.

The problem at Ayer is a simple geometry one -- not enough space to handle the freight... could be an RR induced problem too... if trains stack up in bunches and all show up at once, the pathetically small Ayer yard will be choked. Similarly, could be a driver problem... Always had issues getting drivers to move empties around, they only want to move loads and be done with it. It's an ongoing battle to keep things fluid. Good thing they are doing work at Ayer in the spring to release some pressure. Maybe all of EMPs contract guys decided to take extended vacations...

Never let your containers pile up at RDCs or warehouse (they typically don't go directly to stores) for more than a few days because they'll get 'lost'. Had some before that consignees decided to use as storage units and were moving to an off site yard... A container is a more valuable asset than a trailer in this day and age, but also keep in the mind the chassis it sits on is usually much more valued as that is what keeps the boxes actually moving besides just the train, and they are always in some kind of shortage.

Have a great holiday.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:55 am

'' Never let your containers pile up at RDCs or warehouse (they typically don't go directly to stores) for more than a few days because they'll get 'lost'. Had some before that consignees decided to use as storage units and were moving to an off site yard ''

Is there not demurrage charges anymore ? If the consignee is paying, and there is a surplus of boxes , the more the merrier. It's still revenue as opposed to nada if the boxes are gathering dust hard parked.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby jaymac » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:36 pm

Teamdriver-
Thanks for the Local 25 expertise and perspective. Thanks also for the avatar that makes at least my eyes feel younger.
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Re: PAS Intermodal Prospects

Postby CN9634 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:17 pm

Teamdriver wrote:'' Never let your containers pile up at RDCs or warehouse (they typically don't go directly to stores) for more than a few days because they'll get 'lost'. Had some before that consignees decided to use as storage units and were moving to an off site yard ''

Is there not demurrage charges anymore ? If the consignee is paying, and there is a surplus of boxes , the more the merrier. It's still revenue as opposed to nada if the boxes are gathering dust hard parked.


Containers not moving aren't earning revenue... we would have several issues with customers who you drop a load at not releasing an empty because they haven't unloaded another box yet.... or so they would say. Sure, there is demurrage still but its hard to keep track of how long individual boxes have sat somewhere when you cycle through 40 or 50 boxes in a day (1 comes in and 1 goes out should be how it works everytime, no bobtailling unless you're doing box work). Also hard to keep track of boxes when a place has more than one drop yard and continually changes up their practices... that is in a perfect world this stuff never happens. But we live in a far from perfect world... Back to my point, I don't think these EMP boxes are hard parked unless they are being grounded as the chassis is often times much more valuable an asset than the box itself (often times had too many empty boxes, not enough chassis which are easy to damage)

In other news, saw at one ramp recently (not Ayer) they are grounded loaded boxes due to chassis shortages... what a crazy world intermodal is. NS chassis are some of the best ones around (sturdier and wider base than most) so I imagine they'll be trying to keep those moving rather quickly...
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