switching tank railcar

More Accurate ETA’s For Rail Shipments

Snoqualmie, Washington  –  In response to rail shipper demand for more accurate estimated time of arrivals (ETA), Railcar Tracking Co. LLC (RTC) recently added a new feature to their rail shipment tracking and fleet management software, Railcar Management System (RMS): Enhanced ETA.

Many ETAs provided by the rail industry are not accurate. Often, the ETA is created at the beginning of the trip, but then rarely updated to reflect delays and changes during the trip. If updated ETAs are provided by the railroads, these ETAs are based on the railroad’s goal not reality. Many rail shippers are looking for more reliable ETAs.

Fred Buchanan, Rail Logistics Manager for BOC, a division of The BOC Group (NYSE: BOX) a global industrial gases company, found that RMS is able to provide him with ETAs that better predict inventory levels at their plants and depots. BOC mainly ships carbon dioxide from their plants to their own depots; product is then trucked to the customer. “I find RMS’s ETAs more realistic, especially at the beginning of a trip. The railroads give me their target ETAs, which are often changed and rarely made. RMS gives me an ETA based on actual performance over the last 30 days; I like to use a recent historical period like the last 30 days so that current congestion levels are reflected in the ETAs given by RMS,” Buchanan said.

RMS’ Enhanced ETAs are generated by using historical average transit time from each event in the trip to the final destination, so a new ETA is calculated for each new event in the trip. The user can configure the historical time frame used to determine average transit time thus enabling the system to predict ETAs adjusted for certain seasonal fluctuations in rail carrier performance. The user may also manually set the transit time for any or all events, enabling adjustments for anticipated rail carrier performance issues.

RMS generates ETAs automatically; very little data entry is required. Using the customer’s historical CLM and waybill data, RMS generates a historical trip summary, which includes every event and location that a railcar experiences in its trip from origin to destination. RMS determines what historical trip summary should be used for each shipment based on information from the waybill associated with the current shipment.

Railcar Tracking Co. LLC (RTC), founded in 1997, provides a full-featured and cost-effective rail shipment tracking and fleet management solution – Railcar Management System (RMS). RTC specializes in accessing and consuming data that is available to rail shippers for no additional charge. The firm has customers from industries such as industrial gases, chemicals, minerals, agriculture, energy, forest products, short line railroads and transportation service companies.

Jim Dalrymple

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