Railroads, Customers Meet to Discuss Freight Transportation Needs, Challenges

WASHINGTON — The nation’s major freight railroads and their customers met this week to discuss the many challenges ahead in freight transportation, working together to make sure America’s freight rail network continues to be the best in the world.

“Freight traffic is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade,” said CSX Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward, who gave the keynote address at the recent 2008 North American Rail Shippers Association (NARS) meeting. “If we want to see more of that traffic on rail and less on our overcrowded highways, railroads and shippers need to be ready to meet that challenge.”

According to a recent Morgan Stanley survey of shippers, customer satisfaction with the railroad industry is at an all-time high.

“But we need to make sure we continue to grow and provide our customers with good, reliable service,” said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads. “That’s why we believe it’s important to continue to meet with our customers on a regular basis to discuss the nation’s freight transportation network.”

AAR sponsored the 2008 North American Railroads Customer Forum as part of the NARS annual meeting, which attracted more than 300 people. The railroads hosted a panel discussion with their top executives, and offered their customers breakout sessions with individual railroads.

“Continuing dialogue between railroads and their customers means a healthy freight rail network,” said Hamberger, “and that’s important not only to railroads and their customers, but to the consumers and businesses who rely on the goods and products delivered by freight rail.”

— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire