RSI Blog

Railroad Cost Indexes Explained

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) calculate several indexes to measure inflation, cost increases, and productivity across rail lines. These indexes can be used to measure the health and status of the rail industry.  Some rail contract rates are subject to a railroad cost index, and many contracts state […]

Rail Industry Update

As the year 2020 was winding down, we were all quick to look ahead to 2021. Though 2020 had been a trying year, what can we now expect as we move forward?  2020 may have left us with more questions than answers. While we can begin to see the beginning of the end of the […]

Rail Rate Benchmarking – How Do Your Rates Compare?

How do your rail rates compare to your competitors? Or to the rest of your industry? How do you know? The best way to assess your rail rates is through rail rate benchmarking. Rail rate benchmarking gives you a comparative yardstick you can use to see where your rates rank compared to your competitors, the […]

railroad in forest

Winter Safety – Preparing Your Rail Served Facility

Inclement weather will likely challenge all rail customers at some point. With winter weather fast approaching, your rail-served facilities should take measures to prepare for freezing temperatures, sleet, snow, and ice that winter storms will bring. A winter preparedness plan including snow and ice removal will be required throughout the winter season, and is crucial […]

What’s New in OT-57? Everything You Need to Know

As you may know, the Railinc OT-5 application process has been dismantled and replaced with a new, simpler process, OT-57.  The main difference is that there is no longer an approval process. Railroads will not reject applications due to storage limitations or mechanical specification issues in UMLER.  As long as your railcar is on an […]

Rule 11 Railroad Rates Benefit Shippers

Are the railroads telling you they want Through Rates converted to Rule 11? If so, that’s a good thing. Rule 11 railroad rates can give you better pricing visibility and transparency across your routes. With the right information, preparation, and negotiating strategy, you may be able to reduce your rail spend overall. Here’s how. What […]

5 Tips for Effectively Negotiating Rail Freight Rates

Understanding how the railroads price your commodity is a starting point for determining your ability to negotiate rail freight rates. Railroad pricing has been cyclical over the years, fluctuating between public tariffs and private contracts. With the use of differential pricing, the railroads may provide different rates to different shippers in similar lanes. Regardless of […]

10 Rail Logistics Cost Reduction Strategies

Reducing logistics spending can be an uphill battle, especially in the railroad industry. Many areas are served by a small number of carriers, or even just a single carrier. Rail logistics cost reduction strategies become even more challenging with limited negotiating power. However, there are ways to negotiate and reduce rail transportation costs. As you […]

NEARS 2020 Conference Recap

The North East Association of Rail Shippers (NEARS) hosted its annual fall conference remotely September 21, 2020 – Sep 25, 2020. The NEARS 2020 conference consisted of several attendees that represented rail shippers, suppliers, and carriers. This was the first virtual event held by NEARS and proved to be very successful. It was a week-long […]

Rail Rates

Railroad Operating Ratio and How They Price

Railroads will tell you they “price to the market.” But whose market is it, yours or theirs? How many times have you questioned the reasonableness of a rate? How do you currently compare the rate for one lane to the rate in another? How Railroads Price Impacts Their Operating Ratio The railroads always strive to […]