ILMA Compoundings - May 2020 - 23

NYC Looks to Expand Rail Freight Capacity
T
he New York City Economic
Development Corp. (NYCEDC) has
recommended that the city invest in
maritime and rail solutions to help
mitigate traffic issues on the area's
roadways. The NYCEDC issued a report
estimating that truck congestions and
delays could cost the city $1.1 billion
annually by 2045 if nothing is done to
address the issue. Congestion resulted
in $862 million in lost economic activity for New York City in 2017.

A report from the New York City
Department of Transportation found
that the average travel speeds are the
slowest they have been in decades
due to population growth, e-commerce sales increases and a rise in
home deliveries. Dan Murray, vice
president of the American Transportation Research Institute, said New York
is one of the top three areas of the
country facing bottlenecks.
Currently, New York City has more
than 90 miles of rail freight track and
nine rail yards, connecting the city to
the national rail network and serving

local businesses, according to the
NYCEDC report. Railcars carry about
2% of the city's overall freight, and
businesses' top three imports and
exports via rail are construction materials, food products and recyclables.

Turnbridge Equities plans to increase
rail capacity with its development of
a four-story warehouse in the South
Bronx that includes a freight-rail
connection. The rail spur will link the
facility to a CSX Corp. rail network, allowing freight to enter the warehouse
grounds by train. Most New York
City warehouses rely solely on truck
deliveries. Turnbridge Equities said
the property, which is fully leased, is
well-located within minutes of I-95,
I-278, I-895 and the RFK Bridge to
Manhattan and Queens.
However, Murray said much of the
traffic congestion in New York is due
to regional and local activity, which
railroads can't fulfill. "Their sweet
spot is around 750 miles," he said.
"Anything under that isn't going to
be conducive to rail," adding that he

One solution to the driver shortage is enabling 18- to
20-year-olds to obtain their commercial driver's licenses
for interstate commerce, and the Drive Safe Act has been
introduced the past two years, Reymer said. "It has a lot of
bipartisan support, but it isn't going to move this year," he
explained. "I'm guessing that is five to six years away, and
that will be delayed if there is a recession."
However, Hillard said he doesn't think lowering the
driving age is the best move for the industry. "There are
not many 18-year-olds I want to trust with equipment," he
said, adding that drivers must be 23 to join BTR. "That was
dictated to us by our insurance company."
Reymer said insurance could start out being high, but he
noted that insurance underwriters were at the table when
discussing the requirements for the Drive Safe Act. "I think
it is more about the training," he said. "If you're trained
properly, you could be really good."
Costello said ATA members are making a concerted effort
to get more female drivers in the industry. Women are only
about 6% of drivers today but make up 47% of the workforce, he said. "Some of my fleets are up to 20%, and they're
changing the way they do business. One fleet hired a female
as head of human resources and head of safety," he said.
Shippers play a vital role in keeping drivers happy and in the
industry by not delaying drivers or by paying detention fees
when they do hold up a driver, Hillard said. "When they get
there, treat them as one of your team members and not just

doesn't see rail cannibalizing truck
freight because of other trends going
on in the transportation industry.
E-commerce has dramatically shortened the distance trucks travel, which
erodes rail's ability to capture freight
share, Murray said. "We're doing
a lot more drop and hook in order
to get the drivers home, and we're
doing more switching out of trailers at regional facilities," he added.
"All of these trends in the trucking
facility will make it harder and harder
to make the switch to rails. I think
the trucking share will increase as
customer service demands, such as
same-day and next-day, increase."
Murray said there could be some shifts
in the ports shippers choose, and he
has seen more port traffic flowing to
the Southeast, particularly after the
dredging of some ports there to enable larger ships. "Before I engage in
modal shifts, I'm going to look for new
geographic networks that are lower
cost," he said. "That is a shift within a
mode rather than across modes."

someone who is interrupting your day," he said. "At the end of
the day, the driver is a valued member of your supply chain."
Reymer said shippers should consider the pickup and
delivery experience from a driver's point of view. "Give them
a good experience. Treat them as a human," he said. "Start
with empathy, and so much will change from there."
Carriers and drivers value predictability, and Hart recommends shippers provide as much information as they can on
every load, such as the commodity and the expected wait
times at pickup and delivery. "Offer flexible time windows
for pickup and delivery. If you have control over the dock
locations, see to it that drivers have access to a break room
and clean bathrooms, and offer parking, even overnight,
if possible," she said. "Anything you can do to streamline
operations at the docks will be appreciated by truck drivers,
and it goes a long way toward a shipper earning a great
reputation among trucking companies."
Hillard added that his ELD provider is beta-testing a
program where carriers can input data on shippers to alert
others in the industry about likely delays. "At some point,
they'll have enough information so that if I'm going to a
shipper I've never been to before, I can look up the data to
see how long the average person spends there. The second
things get tight, they're going to be the last place I go,"
he said.
Hart said new labor laws could create higher costs for
carriers and freight brokerages. California has passed a rule

23



ILMA Compoundings - May 2020

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