Since CSX began implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR) in March, it’s been dealing with a slow and clogged network.
PSR is a departure from the common practice of holding trains until they’re completely full. Instead, deliveries are prioritized from origin to destination as quickly as possible, and each asset is used and monitored constantly so customers can better plan their shipments.
Although PSR is rooted in the philosophy that a customer who pays for timely service should receive timely service, many shippers claim what they’ve been receiving of late is anything but. Shipments have been arriving much later than expected, not enough rail cars have been provided in some cases, and a number of cars have been stalled in a yard or misplaced in some other instances. So, many shippers have diverted their CSX traffic to trucks or to the Class I’s competitors.
CSX senior execs — including PSR guru E. Hunter Harrison, the Class I's president and CEO — are saying the railroad’s service is improving these days, and recent performance metrics appear to back that claim. They’re taking measures to get past the short-term service pains to register the long-term benefits that PSR promises, including a fast and more fluid network, lower costs and a reduced operating ratio.
To learn more about shippers’ gripes and what CSX is doing to improve customer satisfaction, read my cover story in our October issue. And if you have an opinion or thought to share on this topic, please do so in the comment section.