Tag Archives: performance

Tracking the speed, dwell and cars of Class I railroads

This interactive page shows key information about Class I railroads in the US. It displays the average speed of trains while moving, average dwell time in a yard waiting to be switched or unloaded, and the number of cars in service. You can select the figures for each Class I rail, and the time shown on the graphs, start and end.

The data comes from the Surface Transportation Board compilation of data provided by the railroads themselves, and is probably a bit late due to the deadlines for submitting figures.

The graph of speed for BNSF is especially interesting. It shows a recent spectacular jump, from under 25 mph to over 26 mph. Clearly the message is getting through to rails that they’d better move cargo.

Dwell time, spent sitting in yards waiting to be switched on, has for BNSF been rising recently, pointing to a new bottleneck. It had better start working on these problems.

We also don’t see which particular sites or segments of the rail line are contributing to the changes in the figures. That’s for each rail to figure out and make corrections. But seeing an overview of what’s going on will provide motivation for rails to do their part to keep congestion down. And a rail does not want to be perceived as slow-moving, for sure.

I hope we can count on the authors to keep updating this page, so the visibility will provide an incentive for rails to improve.

By Matt Leonard and Nami Sumida Updated December 6, 2021



Cryptocurrency TEU token gone

Here was one of the use cases for blockchain that everyone thought was innovative, addressed a real problem, and made some sense.  Apparently the users don’t think so.

It was designed to provide a mechanism to make reservations for 3PLs and shippers for slots on container ships.  The issue addressed was overbooking and no-shows.  But apparently noi one was able to make use of it. Only 100 were traded recently, leading to the firm’s shutdown.

I suspect the problem is the ocean carriers’ propensity to cancel voyages if they don’t have enough cargo. that delays everyone’s cargo till the next ship goes. That could be a week or more on many routes.  Why would anyone book using the TEU if the voyage will be canceled?

A bit more design thinking, developing user personas and use cases, might have revealed this flaw early on and prevented the waste of venture capital and startup labor, or created more usable modifications.  But maybe it accomplished what the entrepreneurs wanted– they got funded for a year or so and put the money in their own pockets. So what about the users? The VCs have baked into their plans a 90% failure rate; they’ll just make it up on another better bet.


via Low take-up forces shipping cryptocurrency teu token out of circulation – The Loadstar


Online port community system ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry

, has written an interesting piece about a new port communication and collaboration system that is revolutionizing how Indian p[orts operate. It’s called PC51x, and it connects port users via secure messaging to exchange paperwork, financial info, and other messages.  In trials, it reduced cost and time for interaction drastically.

And it did NOT involve blockchain. In fact, it uses only technology developed years ago and tested severely by those years of practice.  It seems that for the user it operates like one of those doctor portals we have all become accustomed to in the US; annoying, but much faster and less annoying than waiting for her to call back (!@?^%$#!).  And capable of much faster integration if those communicating have a desire to make it better and faster.

They have announced a portal type interface.  This type of function is like what we used to call ‘middleware’, connecting systems with different data specifications and requirements, and letting them work out how to use the data.  It makes a lot of sense to me.

I think any port could copy this with a little hard nose bargaining with those it collaborates with.   Getting truckers on board might be more difficult without a good look at the systems they use every day.   But for many others it makes sense.

But should the port be the driver?  I think there is potential for 3PLs to usurp the role for their cargoes.  Then we’d have to link in their systems. Hard, but not impractical, and easier than forcing all their shippers to use the port’s message portal.  Everyone would benefit.  And more players such as banks and customs could participate as well.  Better that this should be driven by a lot of smaller players (if ports can be thought of as smaller) than by a national or global standards initiative, especially one from a single source.  Let it evolve, I say.

logo  via Online port community system a ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry – The Loadstar