Freightliner UK intermodal yard and train

The rail industry has responded to current economic uncertainties by reducing operating costs and improving asset utilization, including carrier-owned wagons. Rolling stock is a major portion of railway’s capital assets and they should optimise their fleet to improve the movement and application of all rail wagons by the appropriate wagon type. Instead of using Excel spreadsheets for asset analysis, some carriers have turned to freight-rail specific software applications and rigorous quantitative analysis.

In an article in September’s Railway Gazette, Navis Rail’s Tom Forbes describes how Navis and the Freightliner subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc, used specialized tools and analysis to examine intermodal wagon requirements for future operations. Freightliner is the leading UK intermodal rail freight operator and this project was particularly important to Freightliner, as they were planning to acquire new wagons to support their expected demand for the next few years.

The project was successful, (see the details in the Railway Gazette article) allowing Freightliner’s wagon, train and yard options to be quickly examined and the suggested fleet sizes confirmed using the Navis Rail tools. The software tools gave Freightliner and Navis the ability to quantitatively measure the outcomes by costing various scenarios to understand trade-offs. They also had the flexibility to quickly test the outcome when inputs were changed.

The results showed that the wagon types could be modified to increase capacity, without affecting the overall fleet. The analysis also supported the project team in evaluating variations in terminal turnaround times. These scenarios confirmed that if the suggested turnaround times were operationally feasible, then wagon fleet size could be reduced. The project results also identified errors in the baseline assumptions that, in real terms, reduced the new wagon order by 10 wagons, improving Freightliner’s ROI for the wagon acquisition.

For more information on Navis Rail, please contact Tom Forbes.