NS Intermodal Provides failure-Free Service

Promises made, promises kept

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal group markets our rail network as a way for shippers to move goods more efficiently and cost-effectively than using trucks over the highway. In addition, the ability to reduce supply-chain greenhouse gas emissions is drawing more shippers to rail.

The real key to our premium business, however, is the railroad’s superior network and service reliability, said Randy Survant, our director of intermodal marketing.

“For years, our service was our contract — as long as we performed to where we said we would, we got the business,” Survant said. “In recent years, we’ve gone to a more formal contract, but performance is still what drives our focus.”

A prime example is our intermodal group’s premium service, geared toward customers who have highly time-sensitive freight, such as UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. In 2012, for the second consecutive year, we delivered failure-free premium service for UPS during “peak season,” the four-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Failure-free service means every Norfolk Southern train transporting UPS packages during the peak met service expectations. To appreciate the high level of performance our employees provided, consider the numbers: During the peak, our trains moved more than 16,000 UPS loads. With each load containing 1,500 to 2,000 packages, we met UPS expectations for delivering as many as 32 million packages. That made for a lot of satisfied UPS customers.

Achieving failure-free service requires planning, coordination, and hard work from a lot of employees in our operating, marketing, and network service departments.

“This is not just about intermodal,” said David Osborne, our group manager of intermodal service. “It’s the train and engine crews, it’s the transportation folks in the field, it’s the mechanical folks. Nobody wants to be the person who fails, and nobody wants to see our company fail. There’s a lot of pride put into this.”

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Description of key impacts, risks and opportunities, how these are prioritized, performance progress and processes, how sustainability impacts financial performance, a table outlining performance targets, and governance mechanisms in place to manage these risks and opportunities.

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