New York City, United States – January, 2019 – Biarri Rail was thrilled to be a first-time sponsor for the annual RailTrends Conference at the Marriott Marquis on November 29-30 in New York City. RailTrends is considered by many to be the premier industry event, where most of the Class Is are represented by one or more members of their senior management team. Speakers this year included Lance Fritz, CEO of the Union Pacific, James Foote, CEO of CSX, and Brian Hancock, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer for Kansas City Southern. The conference also honored Ed Hamburger, the retiring President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Biarri opted to be a sponsor for RailTrends 2018, as we recognize that the North American freight rail industry is at the cusp of a new period of intense technological development. We believe that the industry is currently inclined to reduce capital costs, but simultaneously having to deal with the approaching challenges of precision scheduled railroading (PSR) and the introduction of autonomous vehicles on roadways and rails. There is really only one way to bridge this funding gap, and that is through smart technology investment and efficient industry adoption. The presentations, and buzz among the conference attendees, supported this belief.
Presentations were given by all of the Class Is (except BNSF) as well as by shorts lines, Amtrak, Oliver Wyman, and Ann D. Begeman, Chairman, Surface Transportation Board. Tony Hatch, one of the co-founders of RailTrends and CEO of ABH consulting, also gave a presentation on Rail versus truck and wrote an excellent re-cap and analysis of the conference on December 19th in Progressive Railroading. In his piece he summarized the stated challenges of precision scheduled railroading (PSR) implementation, technology adoption by the railroads, and the evolving regulatory climate’s impact on rail planning and operations.
One of the five takeaways Tony highlighted in the article was the presentation by Brian Hancock of KCS and the leadership being taken by them on the technology front. “Kansas City Southern may have jumped to the top of the leader board in terms of technology and innovation, and officials promised that their railway will be fully automated in six to 10 years!”
As a technology partner for KCS, and as a part of the development of their technology roadmap, Biarri Rail could not agree more.