Kansas City Southern launches faster, more frequent cross-border intermodal service from Mexico

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Southern has launched faster and, in most cases, more frequent intermodal service from Mexico to destinations on Norfolk Southern and Canadian National.

The service changes, effective today, are part of the railroad’s shift to Precision Scheduled Railroading.

“The goal is to consolidate traffic, create more density and, in some markets, increase frequency in order to provide a better, more reliable, on-time service,” KCS said in a March 6 service advisory. “The changes will impact the origins of Toluca (Puerta Mexico), San Luis Potosi (Interpuerto) and Monterrey (Salinas Victoria) for traffic to the CN and NS.”

The new schedules improve transit time anywhere from 1 to 11 percent, shaving up to a day off of previous schedules. While service will go from six days per week to five from Toluca, service will increase to five days per week from San Luis Potosi and Monterrey, up from four and three days per week, respectively.

Intermodal analyst Larry Gross says the schedule changes will enable KCS to better compete with trucks.

“No question that five days a week is better than three. Three days per week creates wide variability in transit time depending on when the container rolls through the gate at the terminal. This is greatly reduced with five days a week schedules,” Gross tells Trains. “It’s not a magic bullet but there is certainly a segment of the intermodal marketplace for which it will be meaningful. Remember, the truck doesn’t have to wait for the next departure, it runs direct from the loading dock. So the closer intermodal can get to that standard, the better.”

KCS began making PSR-based operational changes late last year and has largely focused its initial efforts on Mexico. It has already eliminated nearly 90 crew starts per week by combining trains south of the border, including blending merchandise and intermodal traffic.

The schedule changes also bring better directional balance to KCS’s fast-growing cross-border intermodal service, which saw volume gains of 22 percent in the fourth quarter.

Balancing traffic flows, by running the same number of trains in both directions, is one of the key tenets of PSR. The practice eliminates unproductive deadhead moves by keeping crews and locomotives in the right places at the right times.

The trains affected by the schedule changes include those with symbols: I-TLSL in Mexico, cross-border trains I-SLDA, I-SLBN, and I-MYDA, and Meridian Speedway train I-DAAT2 that links Dallas and Atlanta via NS.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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