How does BNSF use intermodal technologies?
Branscum: We use a number of technologies to speed the flow of traffic through its intermodal facilities, where trailers and containers move from road to rail and vice versa. Intermodal gives shippers the flexibility of truck transportation and the long-haul efficiency of rail, while helping trucking companies’ address issues such as rising fuel prices and driver shortages. Hub technologies provide advance notification of shipments arriving at hub centers, allowing us to plan train loadings. Trailers and containers are checked into hub centers using handheld devices that are similar to those used at rental-car return facilities. Drivers know exactly where to pick up or drop off their trailer or container. In some hub centers, container and trailer locations are tracked by GPS. Hub technologies help to make the interchange more efficient for BNSF customers and allow us to maximize the capacity of our intermodal hub centers. Processes that used to take minutes or hours now take seconds.