hopper cars of coke

Getting full visibility of railcar shipments in Steelroads

If you are getting incomplete CLM (aka car location messages or sightings) data for some of your shipments and you use Steelroads*, here are some ideas that will help you increase your visibility.

1. All CLM data delivered out of Steelroads is now restricted to “Party to Waybill” (PTW) security. This means that your company must be listed on the waybill (shipper, consignee, care of, freight payer, etc.) in order for Steelroads to deliver the data. Otherwise, Steelroads returns “Not authorized to view shipment” for each railcar where your company is not listed on the waybill. It is common for company names to vary slightly on the bill of lading and thus the waybill, which is enough to not match the security filter or “parameters” in Steelroads. If you are receiving a “Not authorized to view shipment” notification for a railcar, check waybill. If the spelling of your company varies from other waybills for railcars where you are getting CLMs, send the spelling variation and your Steelroads user ID to csc@railinc.com. Request them to add the spelling variation to the “parameters” for your ID. Request your trading partners to use consistent spellings of your company as well.

Another common problem is when a shipper enters “ACME Corporation C/O ABC Reload” in the consignee field on the bill of lading: . The railroad systems attempt to identify the consignee as one company so that they may assign the proper CIF (Customer Identification File) number to include on the waybill, which is an industry mandate. Through this process, either ACME Corporation or ABC Reload is included on the waybill as the consignee. Your company name may be dropped entirely from the waybill. The solution is to request your trading partners to enter ACME Corporation as the consignee and ABC Reload as the Care Of party on the bill of lading.

Related: Check out this article for more information about CIF: What is a CIF and what does it have to do with tracking railcars?

2. This may sound obvious, but if you are using a Steelroads trace list for your “permanent” (leased or owned) railcars along with the New Event option, which I recommend, you need to be sure that when railcars are added to your permanent fleet they are also added to the Steelroads trace list. NOTE: a maximum of 1,000 railcars are allowed in the trace list.


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3. Make sure no one else is running the trace list that is using the New Event option. This will, in essence, empty the mailbox and you will not get complete history for your railcars. When you save the trace list, there is an option to set it to Private. This will make the trace list invisible to other user accounts within your company, if your company has multiple Steelroads accounts. Of course, if you share one user account, it will be visible even though it is marked private.


clip_image001The New Event option is a trace list setting that essentially turns the trace list into a mail box that accumulates up to 4 days of sighting events.


However, if you have an existing trace list and you add a railcar to it, you will not see any CLMs for this railcar until the next sighting event dated AFTER the date/time the trace list was last run. If you must get the last 4 days of history for the railcar, you can create a new trace list, add the railcar, select the New Event response option, save and run the trace list. By default, a new trace list returns the last 4 days of history when the New Event option is selected.

4. If a railcar has not moved in more than 6 months, Steelroads will return “No data”.

I hope that you have found this article useful. If you have any other helpful hints to add regarding Steelroads, please comment!

All the best,


*Steelroads is a product and trademark of Railinc Corporation and is not affiliated with this blog or Railcar Tracking Company.

Jim Dalrymple


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