Hot on the heels of a deal with RailAmerica Inc. rolled out this week, TMS (transportation management system) specialist Railinc expects next week to unveil about 20 more railway customers for its Web-based RailSync Command system.
Under this weeks deal, RailAmerica will implement RailSync Command at all of the 46 regional and short-line railroads it owns and operates in North America.
North Carolina & Virginia (NCVA) Railroad, one of RailAmericas properties, has already deployed the Web-based system, which is geared largely to increasing the efficiency of railway freight shipment.
Railinc Corp. plans on Oct. 26 to announce the use of RailSync Command at about 20 more railroads in North America, some of them individually owned, Dick Flynn, assistant vice president of marketing and sales at Railinc, said in an interview with eWEEK.com.
“Most people would probably be surprised to hear this, but about 40 percent of all freight today is shipped by rail,” Flynn told eWEEK.com.
Freight shipments can range from raw materials to chemicals to UPS ground shipments. Like overnight package delivery services, railway freight carriers are sensitive to customer satisfaction and time demands, he said.
“There are over 500 small railroads in North America, and Railinc already touches most of them,” Flynn said.
Railinc decided to refocus its strategy a few years ago, he said, in the direction of providing technology for linking together the many smaller regional and short-line railways set up during an earlier period of deregulation.
Typically, the smaller railways now must work with each other as well as with larger railways to move goods from one point to another.
“Its not the same thing at all as in the trucking industry, where a single company usually does both pickup and delivery,” he said. “So, smaller railway operators have been specializing. Theyve been paying close attention [around good service] to whats in their own backyards.”
At one time, railway customers needed to install special software in order to use Railincs transportation management system. RailSync Command, on the other hand, is entirely browser-enabled. “It also adds some new functionality that wasnt available before,” he told eWEEK.com.
Railinc recently released Control, a new module for RailSync that adds interline data exchange and interline revenue settlement capabilities, for example.
Through another new feature, car reporting, customers can pinpoint any railroad cars that are delayed, Flynn said.
RailSync Command also provides Web-based training tools and customer service. For securitys sake, end-users are required to enter a user ID and password to access the system.
The Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE), based in Stockton, Calif., is another early user of RailSync Command.