Network Update for Friday, March 31, 2017
The operation experienced greater productivity this week with improved velocity and good fluidity reported across the network. Average car, train and locomotive velocity were each higher versus the prior week. While we continue to address service challenges in the Pacific Northwest resulting from extreme weather and congestion, the average number of trains holding was reduced by nearly 30 percent from the previous weekly levels this month.
As we have reported, BNSF crews have frequently responded to multiple washout and landslide incidents that have caused significant service disruptions during the past several weeks. According to the National Weather Service, the amount of rainfall in Seattle in February and March combined, set a new record for the two-month period, exceeding the total from more than 120 years of weather records. For this month, the Seattle-Tacoma area has received more than double the normal level of precipitation, while the Spokane area has experienced its second wettest March in history. The risk for additional landslides remains elevated across the region, and we continue to conduct additional inspections in susceptible areas as necessary.
Our “capital gangs” have also been active on multiple subdivisions across the network, particularly across the South Region. This year’s capital plan, with its largest component directed to maintaining our 32,500 route mile network, includes many rail replacement, new rail tie installation, track undercutting as well as bridge construction projects. Maintenance work is critical to ensuring the safety and fluidity of our rail network. As we move into April and the start of our peak maintenance season, we will continue to implement procedures, such as the re-routing of some traffic, to minimize any train delays.
Reminder: BNSF Demurrage Policy Changes – Transition Period Ends April 30
As we notified customers in January, BNSF has revised the demurrage policy related to coal unit train cars. On February 1, demurrage became applicable to trains that are held in Constructive Placement (CP) status outside of the unloading facility and visible in the BNSF Customer Dwell Management Tool (CDMT).
BNSF has provided a transition period for customers to adjust to these demurrage policy changes. This 90-day period will end on April 30, and actual billing for CP time is scheduled to begin on May 1. With all CP charges visible in the CDMT, customers are encouraged to discuss any future exposure they might have with the demurrage team. This transition period also provides customers with the opportunity to modify unloading practices, if necessary.
CP may occur at any point in transit when a unit train(s) is held due to any cause attributable to the shipper or its agent, or the shipper or its agent is unable to accept a unit train(s) for unloading upon arrival. Below is a summary of the 2017 tariff rules applying to CP:
- Demurrage for CP will be computed from the time of constructive placement status and will remain on demurrage until the train departs its hold location. Shipper will be assessed $600 per hour (or for any fraction of an hour).
- Time accrued under CP from the point when the Shipper (or its agent) notifies BNSF that Actual Placement has become possible and BNSF determines a Constructively Placed unit train is ready for movement to origin or destination shall not exceed 24 hours.
In addition to driving efficiency improvements, billing for CP is consistent with current BNSF equipment policies governing all other commodity groups. Please refer to this list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding these changes. As always, please contact your BNSF marketing representative if you have any additional questions.
Service Expectations for the Week Ahead
We are monitoring the threat for multiple rounds of severe storms this weekend across portions of the central and southern Plains, which may cause some train delays in any affected areas. As a relatively quiet weather pattern takes hold over the western U.S. during the upcoming week, much of the network should experience favorable operating conditions for early April with no significant service interruptions due to weather expected.
Below is a look at the key operational performance categories for the week ending March 30:
Total trains held for the week decreased by more than 27 percent with an average 78.6 trains held versus 108.1 trains held during the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: up by 135.2%
Total trains on the system was essentially unchanged versus the prior week with an average of 1,455 trains on the system.
Locomotive velocity, measured in miles per day (MPD), was 280.1, which is up by nearly one percent from the 278.5 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 4.6%
Car velocity increased by nearly two percent at 211.7 MPD versus 208.2 MPD recorded the prior week.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 5.8%
Train velocity, measured in miles per hour (MPH), was up by more than three percent versus the prior week at 18.5 MPH.
Versus the March 2016 average: down by 16.1%
Total volume was up by nearly five percent from the prior week with 196,597 units moved in Week 12 (ending March 25) versus 188,023 units in Week 11 (ending March 18).
Terminal dwell was down by more than one percent from the prior week at 26.7 hours.
Versus the March 2016 average: up by 9.5%
As always, we thank you for your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve as your transportation service provider. We welcome your feedback and questions.